Each year brings with it a new beginning and, for many businesses, new opportunities. It’s a great chance to get organised and to set new goals for the rest of the year ahead.

Many businesses like to plan out what they hope to achieve for the next year, such as developing challenging but achievable business plans.

It can be difficult to know where to get started with planning for the year ahead. For some seasonal companies it’s hard for them to think ahead from the festive season, but it’s an essential part of any business’ growth. To prepare yourself and your business to make 2016 the best year possible here are seven tips to help you.

1. Clean up and get organised

You might want to start preparing for the year ahead by jumping in straight away to find new business, but it’s best to make sure everything is cleaned up and organised.

To get started it’s a good idea to get all of your loose ends tidied up, and clean up your computer, organising all your files and desktop folders.

Archive your old work, go through your files and emails, deal with things that need attention and get rid of anything you no longer need. This way you can start preparing for 2016 with a clean, organised slate ready to crack on with the workload ahead.

2. Review your business’ past year

When preparing for the year ahead it’s a great idea to look back and reflect on the past year of your business. What could you have done better? What were your biggest successes as a business?

Did you achieve all of the goals you set for your business in the past year? If you didn’t get everything done, what was stopping you? Perhaps your goals were too big to be achieved, or more important things came along causing a distraction.

By looking back on your past year you’ll be able to learn from your past experiences and use them to help develop your business in the forthcoming year.

3. Assess your marketing

How much new business did you receive in the past year, and do you know how you achieved it? As well as reviewing the previous year of your business, you should be reviewing your marketing efforts to discover what worked well for your business and what didn’t work so well.

Examine your online advertising and look through any AdWords campaigns, email marketing, social media postings and Facebook adverts you might be using to evaluate how well each one is performing. If you find something is performing better than the others, do more of it in 2016!

4. Set yourself goals

If you want to make 2016 a good year for your business it’s important to set yourself some goals for what you want for your business, as you’re more likely to achieve them if you know what you’re aiming for.

For example, if you want your business to earn more money than the previous year, work out exactly how much you’d like to earn and then break that down into the amount of billable hours you’ll need to work to earn that.

By having a clear set of goals in mind, you’re more likely to know how to plan your business for year the year ahead, and you’ll maintain your focus on these goals.

Related: The Complete Guide to Getting Your Business Organised for Success

5. Review and update your website

To ensure your business is set up for a successful year, it’s a great excuse to take a look through your website to ensure it’s all working correctly and to update any parts of it if needs be. It’s also a great time to ensure your ‘About’ page is up to date.

Your customers and potential new customers should be aware of what your business is about, so ensure that you get your message across about your business. As well as your about page it’s important to make sure your service and product pages are up to date.

These should be one of the most popular pages on your site, so check that yours is engaging, gets the message about your business across and add some testimonials from previous customers.

If you haven’t already, add Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools to your site to see how your website is doing and if there’s any areas you can improve on. You can then use both of these tools to discover how people are finding your website and see what pages on your site or blog are the most popular.

Then you can use this information to write more blog posts on these subjects, or improve the content on your most-viewed pages.

As well as checking the content on your website, you want to ensure your website is in full working order. There’s nothing worse than pointing your customers to a website which then crashes the minute they try to make a purchase!

You want to ensure your server has enough bandwidth to support any incoming traffic. In general, the cheaper the web host you use, the less resilient your site will be to traffic, so it’s worth investing in a reliable web hosting company.

As this might be an expensive job, especially if you haven’t budgeted for it, you could try a business cash advance loan to help cover the costs. You pay these type of loans back only through your card payment transactions, so it’s more manageable in the long term.

6. Review your pricing

To ensure your business is successful it’s important to review your finances, so you can adjust your pricing or fees to ensure revenue growth for your business if needs be. Are you making enough money to keep your business in profit and running smoothly at all times?

Do you know the value of what you are selling? If you cannot sustain and grow with your current business mode, you need to determine what element needs working on to improve that situation so that growth is possible.

7. Set a schedule

Of course to ensure that 2016 is a great year for your business it’s best to decide how you’ll spend your months, weeks and days in the coming months.

Planning ahead and committing your business to a schedule will help you to focus. By selecting set days that you work on your social media, press outreach and other marketing will make these tasks easier.

By providing your business with a thorough schedule of all the necessary jobs to be accomplished you should be able to set and maintain attainable productivity habits early at the start of the year, leading you to success.

Written by Rob Stratthof, the CEO of Liberis. Rob is responsible for the leadership and management of Liberis, with a focus on providing fairly priced, flexible finance, delivered responsibility.

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