With 2013 behind us, it’s time to reflect upon the past year and look to the future of our businesses. With economists predicting further growth in 2014, now is definitely the time to implement new and innovative business strategies. Here are some essential tips for business owners going into 2014:

1.  Audit

The start of a new business year is a time to consider the successes and failures of the previous year. A thorough auditing of employees’ work will help you reward good decisions and identify areas for improvement.

2. Go mobile

With an ever increasing number of people using smartphones and tablet devices to browse the web, it might be time to create a mobile-friendly version of your business’s website if you haven’t already done so.

Monitor the internet traffic visiting your website to ascertain the percentage of visitors using mobile devices, and develop a mobile friendly version if it proves to be economical. Get the geeks in IT on the case, or outsource to a mobile web design company.

3. Postini migration

The recent announcement that Google will be shutting down its email security service, Postini, means that businesses will have to search for an alternative in 2014 to meet their email security requirements.

With the ever evolving threat of malicious emails and cyber-attacks on businesses, an up-to-date email security system is essential. Mimecast is proving a popular substitute to Postini by offering a seamless migration service and a whole host of extra features which improve upon the time-honoured industry standard.

4. Online reputation management and SEO

Online review sites such as Yelp and Google Reviews can massively effect the reputation of your business. You should carefully monitor the most popular review sites and respond to negative reviews quickly and tactfully. Employ a third-party review tracker that will notify you of any reviews posted online.

The battle for that prized position at the top of the search results is a never ending struggle. As search engine algorithms evolve, your online marketing strategy needs to change accordingly. Consider outsourcing to a professional SEO company to bolster your online presence.

5. Socialize

Social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are essential marketing tools for B2C and B2B companies alike. It is vital to establish an innovative social media strategy for 2014.

Listen to your customers and competitors to stay ahead of the game, and if necessary, appoint a social media coordinator. Above all, pick a primary aim for your social media activity and stick to it.

Video content accounts for over 90% of internet traffic and YouTube alone receives more than 1 billion unique users every month. By posting video content online you are not only boosting your brand identity, but reaching a wider audience of potential customers.

2014 is set to be a profitable year, if the economists’ forecasts are reliable. Invest wisely in the first quarter and reap the rewards for several years to come.

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