January arrived sooner than most of us hoped and has come to an end even quicker. February is around the corner and for many businesses, this is the end of their financial year. You have most likely already put your plans in place to kick off the new fiscal year on the 1st of March.


Looking ahead what will you be changing in your business if anything? Many of us roll from one year to the next hoping to gain a few extra customers or to get a few additional sales but is that a sustainable strategy?


When speaking to customers and asking them what their plans are for the year ahead, many respond with gaining a percentile increase on last years' sales. In reality, to continue to grow and become successful, you need more than a marginal increase in your turnover or profit.


Here are a few areas you should consider looking at:


Product portfolio

Have you looked at the products or services you offer to determine whether they are still relevant to the market? You consistently need to update and reinvent your business and what you deliver to the market. It is not to say that you need to change your business product range every year. However, we often hold onto "things" based on our love for them rather than on what the marketplace wants from us.



Do you have good paying customers who continue to increase their spend in your business? A non-paying customer is not an asset to your company but a debt and a possible liability. 


Staff training

How often do you invest in training your team? Whether it be internal or external training programmes, if you want to grow your business you need to develop your team.


Market research

Are you informed about where your market is heading in the next few years? Think of the impact of new flourishing business on a well-established market, i.e. Uber on the taxi industry, online stores on the traditional brick and mortar retailers, Airbnb on the hotel industry. It is essential that you stay ahead of the trend by researching your market continually.


Operating processes

Are you thinking of innovative ways of reducing your overhead costs? Many businesses are going virtual and saving costs on traditional methods of performing in the workplace. For example, are you using Skype or something similar for meetings saving you travel costs and time?


Partnerships and alliances

Have you looked at ways of growing your business with the support of service providers who have offerings similar to yours? Even consider if there are ways of working with your competition. Now before the Competitions Commission jumps up and down, I am not saying you should be colluding with your competitors. However, find out if there are opportunities for you to refer business to each other if there is a service or product you offer which they don't. Some companies don't like dealing with smaller or larger organisations, and this may be an additional channel for you to grow your footprint. Partnerships of this nature work well in industries such as the business services segment of the market.


These are just a few pointers that could make a difference to your business in the year ahead.


It is never too late to make changes to the way you operate.