A Small Business Checklist For The End Of The Year
With a few days left before the year ends, it's time to start thinking about closing the book on another year for your business. Pretty soon, the weather will be cooling down, the holiday season will come and go, and you'll be staring down the start of another calendar year.
Before that happens, let's check in with your business to see if you can set any reasonable, attainable goals to help end the year positively.
Do you need clarification about where to begin? Don't worry. We present to you 20 things your small business can do to round out the year and set yourself up for even more success next year.
Marketing and promotion
Have you considered trying some traditional marketing methods? A trendy modern business like yours might already be crushing it with social media, digital ads, and a fully optimized web presence. But that doesn't mean there isn't room for some of the more traditional marketing methods. Quite the contrary! Conventional marketing methods like cold-calling, print media, direct mail, television, and radio are not only practical. They can help you reach and attract a brand-new customer base that may need to be plugged into your online presence. Remember, people tend to respond to print advertising more positively than digital.
Make your website feel as local as your restaurant
Whether your business only serves online, delivery or dine-in, or a combination of the three, building some localization into your online presence can go a long way toward making your customers feel like they're getting the local dining experience. Consider including some geographical keywords, like specific cities, in your website and social media content. This can help you grow your local brand identity while optimizing your online presence for search engines.
For online stores, consider targeted ads or landing pages directed at specific geographic locations where you know you have a customer base. This will keep your customers there while adding new ones. Remember, to think like a local business; you can be somewhere other than local.
Diversify how customers can buy
If your buying options have been the same since you opened, it might be a good time to add a new one, like online ordering with delivery or pickup. Luckily, eatOS makes adding options like online ordering with delivery or in-store pickup easier.
Make sure you have plenty of payment options
If your restaurant only accepts cash and cards, you could be inadvertently standing in the way of winning over more customers. Many of today's consumers are turning to contactless and mobile payment options like Apple Pay® and Google Pay™. Adding these payment options to your store experience can attract new customers and even help improve cash flow. Don't forget that an eatOS POS system makes it easy by accepting all major types of payments, including contactless.
Run an irresistible promotion
Promoting is a fantastic way to attract new customers, reward and excite existing customers, and clear out inventory. Also, there's no better time to run one than the end of the year, as the holiday season kicks up and shopping goes into overdrive. Ensure these discounts and promotions are attractive to customers and easy to claim. A mobile coupon, for example, is easy to use and can be scanned in-store or online.
Collect and review customer feedback
Dealing with feedback is hard for everyone. For entrepreneurs, though, it's essential for the long-term success of your business. While your year is winding down, it's an excellent time to collect and review any customer feedback you may have received throughout the year and see if there are any short or long-term changes you can build into your business. By sitting down with it all at once, you can concentrate on creating solutions to problems and honing in on your strengths.
Display positive reviews on your website
Publishing positive feedback on your website is a great way to boost your business's reputation. Interestingly, it will also help you generate more input in the future. If new customers see published feedback on your site, they're more likely to follow the pattern and drop a review of their own.
Run a (quick and actionable) customer survey
Running a concise but pointed customer survey is a great way to collect data on customers' experiences during a holiday dining rush. Make sure to ask relevant questions about areas where you want complete honesty — product design, delivery, customer support, website experience, and returns — and try to design your survey to be actionable. Also, ensure your survey is not too long, as people are more likely to fill it out if it's just a few questions that don't take too much time.
Update your operating system software
Not to sound like one of the notifications that have already been popping up on your computer, but you should update your computer's operating system software if you still need to run the latest version. The fact is, updating your software helps to keep your entire system safe and secure. Outdated computer systems are more prone to crashes, breaches, and cyberattacks, and every time you update your system, you also upgrade your security. Plus, it's something you can do overnight that doesn't have to interrupt business hours.
Change the password on your Wi-Fi hotspot (or add one)
While everyone loves a coffee or bookshop with free Wi-Fi, an unsecured network can and will attract hackers. A vulnerable hotspot is a gaping security risk and can lead to hackers gaining access to your storage systems and financial data. Luckily, all you have to do to up your security is to add a password to your public network and change it regularly. Additionally, you can encrypt your Wi-Fi or cloak your private network by disabling the SSID broadcasting function.
Encrypt your data or back it up on the cloud
Encrypting your data (essentially just hiding it and locking it behind a password) can add a robust layer of security to your business's data and sensitive information. If all your business data is sitting on a hard drive somewhere, and you're not using data encryption or cloud storage, now is an excellent time to look into it for next year. Remember, it's not just about protecting your business. It's also about protecting the sensitive information of your customers.
Strengthen passwords and update your password policy
Strengthening the use of passwords across your team can have a long-lasting positive impact on security. If you're not already, you should require all team members to create strong, complex passwords with a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers. You can also require regular password updates or two-factor authentication for additional security. In general, passwords should be updated at least once a year.
Purchase some antivirus software
Antivirus software can be a crucial defense in protecting your company from malware and common cyberattacks. There are plenty of options that are affordable and specialized for small businesses.
Prepping for the holidays
Bolster your staff for the holiday rush
For many small businesses, the Holiday season is the busiest time of the year. If you know a December tidal wave of customers will hit your business, start preparing by hiring the seasonal staff you'll need to get through it. Remember, there's a worker shortage, so the sooner you get the process going, the better. Start by advertising your social media accounts and asking current employees for referrals.
Get your employee schedule onto eatOS
Juggling holiday employee schedules can be a headache. You'll have to sort through various PTO requests, overtime, and staffing limitations while navigating a potentially massive influx of customers. eatOS has easy digital solutions like scheduling apps, which can simplify schedule management for you and your employees. You can even integrate payroll into these apps for seamless payouts.
Add digital inventory tracking to your back room.
Keeping careful track of your inventory can save you from delays, disruptions, and product shortages, especially during increased demand. You want to avoid being unexpectedly caught in an inventory nightmare, especially during the holidays. Luckily, eatOS POS system is built to make inventory tracking as easy and seamless as every other aspect of running your business. You can even sync your inventory to online sales for accurate, up-to-the-minute inventory data.
Connect with any of your important customers
Connecting with some valued customers can be especially fruitful during the holiday season. Of course, it'll take some legwork, but taking the extra time to acknowledge and reward your most loyal customers can pay off in dividends over time. With eatOS Customer Engagement, you can identify repeat customers, and with the Rewards app, you can help make their shopping experience a little sweeter.
Offer up a holiday gift card
Who doesn't love a gift card? Shoppers love them, and business owners should love them, as customers who redeem gift cards will likely return to make more purchases. eatOS makes gift cards more effortless than ever. You can generate digital gift cards to be redeemed in-store or online and integrate gift cards into eatOS Online Ordering.
Establish a clear and straightforward refund policy (just in case)
Establishing and publishing a clear refund policy comes with significant advantages. First and foremost, it's transparent and helpful for your customers. It will also help reduce the frequency of chargebacks and chargeback fraud. You'll also be able to connect with dissatisfied customers personally, giving you a chance to learn more about what your business can do to prevent dissatisfaction in the future.
Bookkeeping and finances
Run an end-of-year inventory count
Conducting an end-of-year inventory count is a great way to cap the calendar year and set yourself up for the next one. Of course, you've already tracked your inventory throughout the sales year. Still, a total count can help you complete financial analysis for your business and help you make stock decisions that will set you up to run a tighter and more efficient ship next year.
Update all your employee payroll information
The end of the year is an excellent time to check on all the information you have on your employees to see if it's still correct. Phone numbers, addresses, payroll information — all that primary employee data can change throughout the year so that a yearly check-in can save you from a future headache.
Generate an income statement for the year
An income statement that looks back at the previous 12 months is an essential annual step that businesses should take. Not only will it help get a sense of your profitability, but it could also reveal areas of expense that can be cut back on or future areas of expenditure to explore for your business.
Generate a cash flow statement
A cash flow statement reveals how much cash your business has from selling merchandise, investor financing, loans, or dividends. The goal is to determine how solvent you are at any given moment, and it can also help you forecast your ability to meet expenses or absorb any sudden shocks. It's a good status check on your business finances for the upcoming year.
Forecast your sales for next year
Forecasting your sales at the end of the year can be a great way to plan and budget for the next. An accurate sales forecast can lower unused inventory, reduce labor costs, and increase margins. It's also necessary for any potential long-term plans like expanding to a new location.