The balmy summer months are often referred to as ‘quiet’ months in the business world. But for small business owners there is hardly ever a ‘quiet’ moment, with long working hours and few breaks, no matter the weather.
We believe that everyone should be able to enjoy a stress free summer. So we’ve developed a series of guides to help small business owners work smarter and make the most of the coming months.
The fourth part of the series highlights tips for making the most of ‘measurement’ and having a smart summer:
Staying smart: Making sense of measurement (evaluate and tweak)
Improve financial reporting systems
Small business owners often waste valuable time (that could be used on building the business) on inefficient accounting systems that are incapable of sufficiently updating information. Correct data that is reported properly will offer an accurate indi-cation of who owes what, meaning you can make much better business decisions. Using a system which allows owners, staff and accountants to all look at the same (and correct) financial infor-mation in real time, will keep your company secure by informing important business and invest-ment decisions.
Use social media to boost your business
As a small business you will have a million and one other things to do and it is highly likely that social media will be towards the bottom of the pile. But investing time in social media is worthwhile, as long as you have the right strategy for your business. To do this you need to understand what social networks your audience is using and how you should be communicating with them online. Many people waste a lot of time (and therefore money) on social media so it is essential that you work to a sensible and dynamic strate-gy that can be tweaked along the way.
Make analytics work for you
Make sure you harness and turn your online data into use-ful insights to ensure you are making the most of your website. Google Analytics are free and will give you a fair amount of detail and what is working and what isn’t. However, there are applications such as Geckoboard, which allows you to compare web traffic and sales figures, and Crazy Egg, which displays a heat map so you can see where your users are clicking on your site. After all, knowledge is power!
Set measurable targets
Your targets should be measurable and achievable within a spe-cific time. If you can’t identify the important steps and achievements that need to happen within a specific period of your business, you will struggle to get the right things done as a business. There are are several business performance measurement tools you can use to analyse all aspects of your business:
• Financial Statements – profit and loss, cash on hand, balance sheets and inventory are all valuable indicators of the health of a business.
• Customer Surveys – ask your regular customers and clients to complete anonymous cus-tomer satisfaction surveys to help point you in the direction of what they really need from you to be happy.
• Sales – sales are a separate entity from the balance sheets and they show how your prod-ucts are being perceived, whether they are fairly priced, and how your sales team presents them to customers.
• Market Share – determining this is a valuable business performance measurement tool – fluctuations one way or the other will let you know how the company is faring where it counts the most.