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Get your SMB off to the right start for 2019
Tue, 18th Dec 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

As the year winds to a close, it's time for small businesses to look ahead to 2019.

A new year is a brand new opportunity, a chance to start with a blank slate, and the best way to ensure the highest chance of success is to plan for it.

Business owners need to remember that while it's easy to become absorbed by the day-to-day running of the business, their success depends on their ability to step back from that and objectively work on the business.

The University of Pennsylvania's George Day recommends several key areas business owners can look at to make meaningful changes to their business.

Invest in talent

Leading companies put talent at the top of their list and invest time and money into scouting and attracting expertise to lead transformative initiatives.

Continued success will foster more success which is how companies like Apple and Samsung have stayed on top for so long.

On a smaller scale, businesses will confirm that exceptional talent can exponentially enhance a company and attract new clientele.

Look outwards for ideas

The most successful companies look outside for ideas – turning to customers, data, industry and experts.

Top businesses invest heavily in customer experience maps, a map of every touchpoint a consumer will experience from lead to customer.

Consider investment into analysis and research to continually adjust, adapt and reshape your business.

Collect the customer data you already have and analyse it to make strategic business decisions.

If you don't yet have data, start collecting – targeting social media campaigns, competitions and newsletters are places you can start.

Take risks

You can't get ahead without taking calculated risks.

Research suggests that many companies are following the lead of startups and venture capitalists – encouraging risk-taking in their businesses through rapid prototyping and implementation of lean startup methodologies.

Companies like General Electric in the US encourage employees to think up concepts and develop the most standout ideas.

It's a catalyst to encourage creativity, freethinking and innovation, develop talent and enhance employee engagement.

Growth and innovation don't just happen in an organisation.

They have to be nurtured, encouraged and sustained through calculated risk-taking.

Bartercard's eBook outlines how business owners can use the trade exchange platform to increase their market share, gain a competitive advantage and achieve financial success, by incorporating Bartercard into the day-to-day running of their business.

Automate where you can

Automation is a critical aspect of a successful business in 2018.

Automate as many tasks as you can so you don't have to do them manually, opening up time and space to focus on taking your business to new levels.

Tools like MailChimp for automated newsletters, Buffer for scheduling social media posts and Quickbooks for keeping track of your expenses, can make your processes cheaper, more efficient and effective. Marketing is at the core of every successful business and the marketing automation space is full of tools.

There are platforms which can manage your leads and build campaigns in a few simple steps, triggering when they are sent at every step of the customer journey from the first point of contact.

They can also track activity from the first visit to the latest purchase and capture and calculate user metrics so you can refine and adjust based on what works and what doesn't.