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When it comes to improving your business, it’s a frequent lament made by managers that they can’t do this or they can’t afford that. This article is designed to awaken you to the simple things around you that you can change without facing a huge expense. It’s all about awareness and seeing the big picture. So let’s look at a few things one by one:

1. Your Business plan

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Ask yourself what went well last year, and what didn’t. How could things have been done differently? Could these changes be implemented for this coming year? Write down your key objectives. Then list at least ten realistic action steps to reach them. One example could be to get increased traffic to your website.

2. Relationship

These are so important. How is staff morale? Is there a high sense of connection with your company – if not, what can you do? You should all feel like you’re sharing the same journey. How do you reward your company members? What rewards would THEY like? Interestingly, offering extra training courses as a reward increases staff morale and productivity. They feel valued and developed.

When dealing with internal staff and external contacts – be human. They all have personal lives as do you. It’s amazing how having a fuller connection can result in higher business success.

Keep in contact with previous customers – you never know when they’ll need you again. Ongoing customers need to know you haven’t forgotten them, and that you’re still working hard on their behalf.

Who are your business mentors and connections in the wider industry? They are key players in your company’s success. When you leave a university or institution, stay involved in the alumni as there are vital free gains to be made here too.

Make it a daily practice for you to make contact with at least one of the above each day.

The new year is a great opportunity to send a greeting card to all your customers, past or present. Offer to touch base to see if your company can help in any way. There could be dividends.

3. Holidays

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The amount of annual holiday you’re expected to have varies from country to country. Make sure you take yours. Land that has a fallow year is more productive for the others! If you overwork, your body may claim back the time you owed it! Holidays are also important for staff morale, so encourage them and take an interest in what your staff does and where they go.

4. Linkedin

Keep your bio up to date regarding your work, capabilities, skills, and achievements. Change is here to stay, and you must keep your records updated so you can stand out in a busy market. When people search for you on Google, it’s often the LinkedIn page they see first. Premium members have extra facilities and access regarding contacts, so this is well worth the investment.

5. Social Media

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This is an exciting arm of your company’s marketing and can be inexpensive. These days, it’s all about engagement, and pictures and videos. Square pictures are best suited for the latter. If you want to create your graphics, there are free sites like where you produce quality documents.

If your company does fun stuff with employees, and things to help the local community, post this online. It all raises company awareness.

6. Networking

It can feel like a grind having to attend external business functions, but there are great networking opportunities to be had here. Remember to give out your business cards and collect them from the people you meet. They’ll help you proceed to LinkedIn and make further contact.

7. Your website

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Keep an up to date website. Include blog posts and articles that external parties will access. Have ‘how to’ videos regarding your products. How about online e-books that people can download for free?

And how about sharing your site with people who speak other languages, by using website translation services? You can read more here about what’s involved in the process. It can actually be surprisingly quick and easy to do, with the right blend of technology and human expertise. What a great way to enhance your business’ international credentials.

8. Customer Websites

It’s not going to cost you anything to look at these. You can stay abreast of what’s going on in their world. Current customers will like it if you’re aware of their issues and progress. There could be hidden opportunities for your company as you see the areas your customers are seeking to improve. Why not offer workshops externally on any areas you specialize in. It may whet peoples’ appetite for them to come to you for business. Have you ever considered becoming a conference speaker? You only have to be one step ahead of someone else to be a teacher! What are your areas of expertise and what have you achieved? There will always be others who are keen to learn. If you sow, you will reap!

9. Automate Your Contract

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Contracts can be quite a messy ordeal if you don’t have a dedicated tool for it. To make your life easier, partner with GatekeeperHQ. Contract management software will not only make your contract management process much more efficient but also identify any risks that your company might be exposed to. A full visual of your contracts is just what you need to make fully-informed decisions that will help your company skyrocket to the top.

10. Social Trends

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This is all part of the big picture. It’s not just your company and what you provide, but how the industry is doing nationally and globally – what’s more important now? What’s less popular? You can learn a lot here for your future planning and strategy.

11. Best Practice

What’s the value of having everything documented? Well, it’ll be great for auditors to see. If all your staff can access process notes, there won’t be conflicting practices or misunderstandings.

12. Finance

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Be aware of financial trends. What capital does your company have? What about cash flow? Do you have an efficient system for taking money from your customers and paying your employees? This is a surefire area to make people happy or walk away. Have you considered having payroll software for your company? One benefit you will learn from Zenefits is that you can get software that automatically calculates how much tax you need to pay, and it files it for you. If you don’t have the expertise and resource within your company to manage your accounts, get an accountant. But don’t just leave the ball in their court. Be aware of every level of your company’s finance be it for daily, monthly, or annual statistics.

What are your company limits

It’s best to start with a small niche and then broaden it. If you’re aiming for massive growth, could you serve it if it arrived? It’s not just the sales, but the servicing departments that need to be on point. Do you have the budget to achieve your business goals for this year? Do your employees have the required expertise? These are crucial questions.

As you can see, many of these options don’t cost you much more than your time. There are some things you can’t afford NOT to do. This is going to be a swiftly changing economy as it strives to adapt to changing circumstances. It’s important you ride the wave proactively, rather than drifting without purpose. Good luck!