5 Best Practices Every Small Business Should Follow in 2019
The new year is a time to reflect on the recent past as well as plan. It is a time of resolutions and adjustments, a chance to make minor tweaks (or major overhauls) to the habits and routines we've developed. That's not only true of individuals but also of businesses. As we enter this new year, these five best practices for small businesses are important to keep in mind. If your business already has them covered, it never hurts to do a check-up.
1. Update software and secure networks.
Outdated software is one of the most common reasons a business's network remains vulnerable to a cyberattack. It's a simple fix to make sure you're running the latest version of all your software and, if you aren't, bringing it up to date. Doing so could prevent your business from suffering a devastating cyberattack.
2. Unify your branding and marketing efforts.
In the modern digital environment, there are many channels through which businesses reach their audience. It's critical to ensure your brand and marketing efforts are unified and coherent across these channels while remaining optimized to each specific platform. Disjointed marketing efforts, or those that focus heavily on one channel while neglecting others, are destined to fail in a hyperconnected world.
Your social media strategy should feed into your website, and your advertising should echo the messages you're promoting with your content marketing. Identify the emotions you want your brand to evoke and then capture those in your marketing efforts, tweaking them only to better suit the channel through which your messages are distributed.
3. Increase your legal and regulatory awareness.
Regulation is often the bane of a small business's existence, but that doesn't make staying on top of all the changes in the legal landscape any less important. Although it can be a pain to navigate the byzantine world of legalese and red tape, few aspects of running a business are as important as ensuring compliance with the law.
"It's good to consult with a business attorney more than once a year rather than wait until a big issue arises. It's better to pay a little upfront than a lot down the road, especially when dealing with federal regulations."
4. Organize your record-keeping.
A well-run business must maintain a lot of documentation, but that info doesn't do you much good if it is disorganized and difficult to access. The new year is as good an opportunity as any to reorganize your record-keeping.
"Use the start of the new year to hold an annual corporate meeting where you can get your records organized," said Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com. "File your annual report so your business remains in good standing, and make sure your business information is accurate and up to date, including your present address and any changes made with your registered agent. If you have a business license, make sure you know when it's time to renew the license and pay its fee to stay in compliance."
5. Reaffirm your mission statement.
Your mission statement should be the guiding foundation of your business. It should cut to the heart of your goals and ambition, and serve as a pathfinder for your team when considering how to operate. Often, however, businesses allow their mission statement to languish unchanged, even as the company is transforming and growing.
There's no time like the start of the year to reaffirm your company's overarching mission and examine your goals of how to continuously serve your target customers. Make sure you and your staff both know why this company exists in the first place; knowing the mission will give your team a clear objective, and then the rest just comes down to planning and execution.