10 strategies to boost your business in 2024

With 2023 behind you, now is a good time to reflect on the past year. It is also a good time to set new goals for a successful and fulfilling new year. Here are 10 measures to ready your business for the forthcoming year.

4 mins read
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about 1 month ago

No matter if your business is new or established, it's important to assess how well it did in the previous year. Moreover, setting goals for the forthcoming year is equally significant.

A checklist can help guide you through the challenges and opportunities of starting fresh.

By crafting a yearly strategy, you can ensure that your business is ready for success and longevity. An effective plan aids your business in enhancing efficiency, adapting to market trends, tackling obstacles, and capitalizing on opportunities.

Getting ready for the forthcoming year instills a sense of commitment and devotion in your team. You achieve this by working together towards a shared objective and vision. It helps you track your plan, evaluate performance, make smart choices, and find ways to improve.

It also fosters enthusiasm within your team about the future and the project you're collectively working on.

Use the following checklist to evaluate your current status and ensure the upcoming year is a success:

Reflect on the past year

Before moving on to the next year, it's important to thoroughly assess how well you did in the past year.

This includes analyzing sales and revenue figures, scrutinizing customer feedback, and assessing any other important metrics.

Revisit your goals from the start of the year, and identify which strategies were successful and which ones were not. This review is crucial for learning and helps you create your goals for the next year.

Establish accurate goals

It's crucial to establish well-defined objectives for the upcoming year. You can utilize SMART objectives, an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. For instance, rather than simply saying "enhance sales," you can set clear goals and aim to augment sales by 10% in the initial quarter. Implementing these goals will steer your company's actions and choices, leading to superior results.

Formulating well-defined objectives for the forthcoming year is vital. You can employ SMART goals, which represent specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

For example, instead of expressing "enhance sales," you can aim to augment sales by 10% in the initial quarter. These goals will offer direction for your company's actions and choices, culminating in superior outcomes. Moreover, they will assist in managing resources and making decisions concerning time, finances, and resources for optimal outcomes.

Build a strategy

After you have clearly defined your goals, you can begin to outline the steps needed to achieve them. This could involve launching new products or services, breaking into new markets, or improving your customer service. Your strategy should act as a roadmap to achieving your goals.

Manage your finances

Financial management is crucial for businesses. Review your income and expenditure from the previous year, and create a budget for the upcoming year. This is a vital task for the new year.

It's essential to account for all potential costs, including salaries, marketing expenses, and operational costs.

Conduct market research

Gaining insight into your prospective customers and competitors is vital for shaping your business's marketing and sales approach.

Studying the market enables you to make informed decisions, positioning your business for future success.

Assessing hazards

Every business faces hazards, whether they're financial, operational, or related to the market. By identifying these, your company can formulate plans to mitigate their effects.

By adopting a forward-thinking approach, you can overcome challenges and sustain business activities.

Invest in team development

Allocating resources to your employees' training and development enhances their skills, boosts morale, and increases productivity.

This is vital in 2024 as numerous firms are struggling with a skills shortage. Enhance your team's abilities to bridge gaps and facilitate your employees in acquiring new skills for career progression.

Improving customer engagement

Moving forward, it's essential to adopt strategies that not only captivate your customers but also enrich their experience.

This might include improving your customer service, launching loyalty programs, or enhancing your online presence. Starting a conversation with customers and asking for their feedback on what they want is a good first step.

Review and update business processes

Efficient business processes can enhance productivity and reduce costs. The beginning of a new year is a perfect time to reevaluate existing processes and pinpoint possible improvements.

By adopting new technologies or streamlining procedures, you could transform the way your business operates. Visit the resources and tools section on our website for valuable tips, tools, and guidance that could help with this.

Prepare for unforeseen circumstances

Unanticipated events can interrupt your business. That's why it's crucial to have a contingency plan. This will aid you in managing these obstacles and maintaining seamless operations.

This could involve setting up an emergency fund or developing a crisis management plan.

Remember, an effective plan is flexible and adaptable. Regularly check and change your plan to make sure your business stays on track for success next year.

Need a skilled expert for your team or want a new job? Contact our experienced advisors right away.

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New year, new skills: public speaking
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New year, new skills: public speaking

​The thought of public speaking usually conjures up one of two things for professionals: terror or acceptance. It rarely seems to be something anyone looks forward to or enjoys unless you’re blessed with natural stage presence, witty repartee, and profound confidence.If you’re looking for a new challenge, learning how to overcome your fears and/or make improvements to your overall presentation style could be one of the best things you do for yourself this year. Not only can it be a huge benefit in your career, but it can also help with life in general – enabling you to speak with confidence and eloquence in situations that may be challenging.Soft skills such as public speaking are highly sought after – and are vital in leadership roles. With dedication and practice, it’s possible for anxious or shy people to finesse their presentation skills and learn how to deliver to any audience. William Hagerup, President of the 104 London Debaters, has been involved with Toastmasters for more than 10 years. He took up public speaking initially for his work which led to it becoming a hobby and passion. At the London club, he mentors people in the art of debate – an exciting challenge for those who have already mastered the art of public speaking.​Q: How transformative can public speaking skills be in the workplace?A:In the workplace, the ability to speak confidently and present in a convincing way can be powerful.Good communication skills can encourage people to get on board with your ideas, regardless of your role. For example, speaking well can make all the difference if you need to sell a product or your own skills in a job interview.Q: Ahead of a presentation, aside from testing any equipment, what key things should the individual do to help their confidence?A:It’s very important to understand what makes your presentation successful, to help you gain confidence."As part of your rehearsal, it’s worth recording your presentation. Watching yourself can be painful, but it’s a useful exercise to help you spot habits or ticks."William HagerupClub President of Toastmasters' 104 London Debaters clubAs part of your rehearsal, it’s worth recording your presentation. Watching yourself can be painful, but it’s a useful exercise to help you spot habits or ticks – I used to have a tendency to move my head too much. If you’re far away from the audience people may not notice these things, but if you’re projected on a big screen, or in an online meeting, the camera magnifies you which can be very distracting for the audience.It’s also useful to get feedback from a trusted mentor, friend, or colleague who is more experienced, and who can give you some honest feedback.Q: Introverts and extroverts – can they master public speaking in the same way?A: It’s often easier for extroverts to stand up in front of people, but it’s okay to have different presentation styles if you don’t have that confidence. The important thing is to find your voice and a way that you can be yourself in front of people without being too nervous, finding peace in being just the way you are.Extroverts, like me, have one disadvantage in that we can sometimes have an unsubstantiated self-confidence which can lead to a lack of focus, and perhaps not communicating in the best way.The introvert tends to be much more careful with their preparation, making sure they have everything clear for the audience, with their PowerPoint and with what they say. I’ve often seen examples of this with the nervous, wobbly-voiced introvert outshining the confident extrovert whose presentation is rushed or disjointed.Q: Handling nerves – what to do when your throat goes dry before you’ve said a word?A: If your nerves are debilitating so that you just can’t deliver, you should practise well in advance.I’ve found breathing slowly and deeply really helps just before you start, and then look away from the audience. 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The evolution of the CIO: an evolving role
4 mins read

The evolution of the CIO: an evolving role

​Technology has become ingrained in almost every part of business life – no matter the industry or sector.As employers have learned to survive in unstable market conditions, they’ve come to realise the value of having an innovative and business-focused chief information officer (CIO).With technology advancing at an unprecedented pace, the traditional responsibilities of the CIO have expanded, with their role becoming increasingly important to the success of an organisation. In today’s business world, CIOs are required to not only manage IT infrastructure and systems, but also to drive forward and align technology initiatives with overarching business goals.The changing roleHistorically, the CIO's primary focus has been on overseeing the implementation and maintenance of technology systems within an organisation. 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What are soft skills?
3 mins read

What are soft skills?

​Worried that your lack of skills is letting you down?Soft skills are important in a range of different roles, helping you do everything from negotiating and selling to managing your schedule. You probably have several attributes already that you’re simply not using to your advantage. You just need to learn how to back them up.To find out how to make the most of them, here’s our guide on soft skills – and how they could help land your next job.What are soft skills?Soft skills are general attributes that aren’t specific to a job or industry.They’re usually self-developed, meaning no training is needed to build them. And because they can be applied to many different roles, soft skills are always desirable – no matter what field you’re working in.List of soft skills Soft skills are a combination of many different things, including social skills, character traits and employment qualities. As a result, the number of soft skills is almost endless. Some of the most common examples include: Communication skills Leadership Problem-solving Critical thinking Team working Flexibility Resilience Negotiation skills Why are soft skills important? Although hard skills might be important in some industries, soft skills are important in all of them. They’re what help us bond with other people around the business and fit well within the company culture. Without them, even someone with the right qualifications could end up alienating themselves in their role, or not having the right mindset to do their job effectively. They’re also what help distinguish us from other potential candidates when we look for a new position. What are the advantages of soft skills? One of the biggest advantages of soft skills is that they don’t limit you to working within one industry. They are transferable skills, allowing you to demonstrate your personality and effectiveness to prospective employers, even if you have limited experience in their field. For example, your excellent communication skills may have made you good at selling. But many other sectors outside of sales require people who can communicate well – whether it’s by attracting new customers, building relationships with suppliers or working effectively in a team. Also, everyone has some form of soft skills. They require no formal training and are usually picked up through previous positions or experiences – meaning you might already have some great attributes you can use to your advantage. What are the disadvantages of soft skills? Although they’re valuable, soft skills won’t always be enough to get you the job. Some industries require more formal qualifications or experience to get your foot in the door, and without these prerequisites, your soft skills may not be enough. Soft skills are also extremely difficult to measure, meaning some employers don’t appreciate their true value until you’ve actively been able to demonstrate them. How do I demonstrate soft skills on my CV? It’s never enough to say you have soft skills – you need to back them up. When it comes to writing a CV that means adding practical examples to show times when you’ve put your soft skills to good use. For example, stating you have good problem solving skills sounds fine. But saying ‘good problem solving skills, demonstrated when I successfully overcame X’ will come across much better to employers – not to mention add value to your CV. And the best part? A list of desirable skills will already be provided for you in the job description. All you need to do is prove them. If you struggle to think of good examples, use the STAR technique to help get you started. Can I learn soft skills? Soft skills are self-developed. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t be taught. There are a wide range of courses out there to help you improve everything from your organisation skills through to your public speaking. So, even if it’s not something you’re particularly strong on right now, there’s no reason you can’t get better. Figure out what skills you think you need to improve, find a course and get started.