The beginning of the new year is a great opportunity to revamp your startup. It’s a time to look back at the previous year and reflect upon what you could have done better, and how you can fix any issues in the future. It’s also a time to think about your goals for the next 12 months and how you’re going to accomplish them.
If you want to improve in 2017, but don’t know where to start, follow these five steps. They just may help you take your business to the next level and beyond.
- Update your mission statement
As a startup owner, you make mistakes, overcome obstacles and learn as you go. You survived all the trials and tribulations of 2016, however you may be going down a different path than you initially started on.
The beginning of the new year is when you should take a thorough look at your business and rework your mission statement to communicate what you hope to accomplish now and in the future.
According to Larry Kim, CTO and founder of WordStream, your mission statement should show your startup’s value and inspire customers. Instead of talking about your company, you need to hone in on what the customer will get out of a relationship with you. It should demonstrate both your long-term and short-term goals.
Kim pointed to SpaceX’s mission statement as an ideal example: “SpaceX was founded under the belief that a future where humanity is out exploring the stars is fundamentally more exciting than one where we are not. Today, SpaceX is actively developing the technologies to make this possible, with the ultimate goal of enabling human life on Mars.”
- Amp up your content marketing efforts
According to statistics from Forbes and the Content Marketing Institute, 76 percent of business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers said they are using content marketing. In 2015, 37 percent of B2C marketers reported that they had a documented content marketing strategy, which was an increase of 27 percent from 2014.
This space will continue to grow, which means it may be harder to get ranked high in Google or capture your audience’s attention. By making your content better, you will stand out from your competitors.
You should focus on both visual and text-based content marketing. You’ll rank higher on Google if your content is completely original; if you copy content, you may get penalized for it. Make your content relevant for your audience, and focus on providing value rather than selling products. If you consistently release high-quality content, your audience will notice and eventually want to purchase from you.
Related: 4 Key Small Business Trends for 2017
- Be mobile-minded
Whether you’re a B2C or B2B startup, your web presence must be mobile-friendly. Your customers will expect a smooth mobile experience on your website, emails, e-commerce store and social media pages.
According to statistics from IMPACT Branding & Design and Wolfgang Jaegal, 83 percent of mobile users report that a seamless experience on all their mobile devices is very important. Additionally, 57 percent of people won’t recommend a company that has a poorly designed mobile website, according to CMS Report.
Every piece of content you publish and platform you use should be easily viewable on any mobile device. If it isn’t, you’re going to risk losing customers in the new year.
- Look at your current insurance policy
When you first jump into owning a business, you may overlook important priorities like protecting yourself from calamity. Even if you run a low-risk business, you need to invest in insurance policies that will cover you in case anything happens.
According to Paul Martin, VP of Agency Sales at Trusted Choice, although entrepreneurs are natural risk takers, they shouldn’t take the chance that comes along with being uninsured. “A good commercial agent can help a startup business without spending too much money,” he said.
Martin recommends general liability insurance for a business, which will cover you if a person claims he or she got hurt on your property. You’ll also need workers’ compensation, which will protect you if an employee gets injured on the job. Business income insurance could come in handy, too. If a disaster occurs and you experience loss, this insurance will pay your income as well as expenses you may have, like paying your employees.
- Hire help for administrative work
At the beginning of establishing your startup, you were a one- or two-person operation. Then, as you grew, you found that you needed time to achieve the bigger goals instead of just completing the day-to-day administrative work.
You’ve realized that you can’t dedicate all your energy to emails, accounting, keeping inventory and other time-consuming responsibilities. You have to lead.
In the new year, you may consider hiring a part-time or full-time administrative assistant who can take care of all those tasks for you. If you’re not at that point yet, there are sites like Upwork.com and Zirtual.com where you can find a virtual assistant to help you out on an as-needed basis. Before you employ a worker from any of these sites, make sure he or she has good reviews.
This is the new year and it’s your year to shine. By starting off 2017 with a bang, you’ll give your startup the best chance for success.