Four ways for small business owners to end off their year

small business

Whether you’re in an industry that took a knock during the pandemic or one that was busier than ever, 2020 has been a trying year for most small business owners.

As we approach the final stretch of the year, it’s an opportune time to reflect on your accomplishments, set new goals and bond with your customers.

Here are a few things to consider doing before the holidays begin:

Let customers know about holiday hours and arrangements

If you have not already taken care of this, depending on your industry, you might be planning to shut down for much of the rest of December.

If so, you have probably arranged for someone to answer the phones, deal with urgent customer requests and look after the business. It’s a good idea to share these arrangements with your customers ahead of time, for example:

  • Your operating hours – which might be longer than usual in retail and shorter than normal in other industries.
  • Which days you’ll be closed and when you’ll reopen;
  • Who customers can contact in an emergency.

You could publish this information on your social media channels, splash it on your website home page, and let customers know via email. You could combine this information with a festive season’s greetings card if you wish.

Conduct a website audit

During this unusual year, your website has probably done a lot of heavy lifting for you, with customers spending more time online under lockdown. One good way to use some of your time during the holidays is to conduct an annual SEO audit and review of the content.

You can evaluate how well your site performed in attracting traffic and customers, and if you’re happy with the content and design.

Now can be a good time to consider doing updates to show any changes to your business and products and services.

You can also run some technical checks to help ensure you’re not being penalised for basic technical issues. You can use a tool like Screaming Frog or SEOCrawler to ‘crawl’ your website for issues like slow page speeds, duplicate tags, duplicate content, keyword optimisation and broken links.

If you have not installed an  SSL Certificate for your website, you’ll want to consider doing this to help further protect the transmission of data from your website, and build trust with your customers. 

Getting an SSL Certificate is simple. GoDaddy provides them as a yearly subscription, with many types of SSL Certificates available to meet your needs. Once you have a Certificate, you’ll need to link it to your site.

And finally, check to see that your website is optimized for mobile.  With many people using their mobile phones to search for products and services and to make purchases, you’ll want to be sure that you that your website looks good and works well on a variety of devices, including mobile phones.

You can use a modern website builder tool or a  CMS tool like WordPress to revamp your website with a contemporary theme that works as well on a phone as on a computer browser.

Review your business plan

You probably started 2020 with a business plan that needed to change fast when the pandemic kicked in. The end of the year is an ideal time to review how your business has evolved in the aftermath of COVID-19.

This is not about panicking, but rather about taking a realistic view of how the market and your customers have changed.

A few things to consider:

  • How did the pandemic influence demand for your product and service offerings? Will any changes be permanent?
  • How have your costs changed?
  • How has customer behaviour changed?
  • Were you able to transition towards home delivery or virtual services? How did that work out for you? What do you want to continue or stop doing?
  • Did your customer base change – did you gain or lose customers, and why?
  • How does your digital customer experience compare to others in the market?

Stay social

It might seem tempting to step away from social media and take a break over December. However, many people are even more active on social media during the holidays than usual. It’s wise to stock up some content to post throughout the season to keep your brand top of mind.

It’s also important to monitor your social media accounts, in case an urgent query or complaint comes in.

Celebrate your achievements

While you’ve no doubt encountered many hurdles during this difficult year, you have most likely experienced some victories, too.

Take the time to reflect on your achievements, share them with your team, and savour them. And get a jump start on your plans for recovery and growth for your business into the new year.

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