If you haven’t already settled on a clear-cut set of resolutions for the new year, we’ve got a few suggestions for you. While we can’t really help with personal improvements, there are a number of ways to enhance your business sense for 2014, and help you get off to the best possible start.
- Become hyper-organised.
Organisation is either something that comes to you naturally, or it doesn’t. It’s easy to spot which colleagues enjoyed an organised life in an office space – clear desks, colour-coded Post-It notes, paperwork properly filed.
If this sounds like you: congratulations! If not, this is the perfect time to crawl out from underneath the mountains of paperwork, business cards, industry papers, and snack wrappers. Simple organisation is the quickest, most effective way for an instant productivity boost. Binders have long been the allies of the practical, and a comprehensive filing plan is worth setting in motion for the rest of the year.
Similarly, it’s definitely worth undertaking a digital detox. Establishing useful category folders in Outlook improves organisation dramatically, and is sure to cut down on time wasted trawling through reels of spam.Collect bookmarks on a social pinboard app – the cross-platform and anywhere-access functions will make sure you’re always connected to the links you need. We recommend Delicious for this.
Sort through business cards and connect with the professionals you want to keep in touch with on LinkedIn. This will dramatically reduce the amount of desk mess and provide an actual connection with business partners and colleagues.
- Update social strategy.The constantly changing algorithms of Facebook and LinkedIn can be incredibly confusing for the uninitiated, but they’re absolutely worth keeping on top of in 2014. The number of individuals and businesses incorporating social media into their marketing strategy is increasing exponentially, with only 7% of marketers saying they don’t use social media. Every second, two new members join LinkedIn, and 55-64 years of age is the fasted growing demographic bracket on Twitter. It’s time to re-strategise.
Research new platforms: Google+ has been on the periphery for a while, but what about Instagram, YouTube, and Tumblr? These non-traditional networks are great for sharing engaging visual content with interested parties, and make social sharing and interaction incredibly easy. Visual is, many believe, a highly profitable strategy for the future.
“I just started creating infographics this year, and with original content and visual content trends rising, it’s clear that using infographics to relay information to consumers will become even more important in 2014,” says Kimberly Lombard, Community Manager for mosaicHUB.
Try to discover what works best for you. One social media channel will not fit all, so analyse where you’re getting the best reach, identify areas to improve on and, in time, a brand new formula for your social will emerge.
- Forecasting for success.
An effective forecasting plan is something accounting teams need to get on top of, and investors will absolutely be keeping tabs on. By recording how growth (or decline, but hopefully not) affects each aspect of your financial situation, your ROI will become clearer, and an image of how your business is likely to develop in the coming months can be established. A strategic planning process should be confidently reported on with gusto, and not neglected for the sake of blind optimism.
“With a strategic planning model, you can begin to compare your anticipated results in the forecast with the actual results achieved,” says Bob Phillips, managing principal at Spectrum Management Group. “You’ll find great operational information doing so, to enhance what is working or to deal with what isn’t.”
- Improve staff communication.
In business, the importance of communication is universal and cannot be overstated.
By reassessing how colleagues interact, a new level of productivity and cross collaboration can be more easily implemented. Scheduling weekly catch-ups with key members of staff is a great way to make sure everyone is on the same page business-wise, and that tasks can be kept on top of without flagging. Any issues can be addressed swiftly, and staff will be able to contribute without feeling repressed.Team meetings at the beginning and end of the week are something that should be implemented for creative teams, and should certainly be considered for teams of any nature.
- New office space.We wrote in detail about why seeking out a new office space for the new year might be a fantastic option to improve your business strategy in 2014 last month, but we can’t stress the benefits enough. It’s something of an ‘all of the above’ option with regards to most of the previous points, as it’ll push you to be more organised, communicate better, and forecast more effectively. With optimism returning across the board for commercial property ventures, it really is the perfect time to move out and up in the world.
- Consider agile.
With communication and cloud computing capabilities more prevalent than ever, working from home is a viable option for many. An estimated 15% of UK workers work exclusively from home, and 58% rely on their homes in some form. Small businesses that work to their own schedule and operate within the cloud save money and improve staff productivity through the responsibility of autonomy and the freedom to work whenever.
Without a dedicated space, the importance of face-to-face collaboration doesn’t diminish. MeetingRooms.com is launching in the first quarter of 2014, and is to revolutionise the space finding process for businesses of any size. For the last 20 years, flexible offices have been the most practical solution for businesses looking for space for shorter terms. MeetingRooms.com will see spaces leased for personable collaboration when it’s most needed – perfect for the agile workforce of the future.