​10 strategies to boost your business in 2024

As 2023 ends, it's important to look back and set new goals for a successful new year. Follow these 10 strategies to get your company ready for the coming year.

4 mins read
New Year Checklist Large Hero Image

about 1 month ago

Whether your business is new or old, it is crucial to evaluate the performance of the previous year. Additionally, it is important to establish goals for the upcoming year.

A thorough checklist can act as a guide to steer through the thrilling challenges and prospects that a new beginning offers.

By formulating an annual plan, you can position your business for growth and sustainability. A good plan will improve your business's efficiency and readiness for various market conditions. It will help you overcome challenges and seize opportunities.

Preparing for the upcoming year requires commitment and togetherness from your team. This is because you are all working towards a shared goal and vision. It helps you monitor your plan's progress, evaluate performance, make informed decisions, and identify areas for improvement.

It also cultivates excitement within your team about the future and the enterprise you're building together.

Use the checklist below to assess your current status and guarantee the success of the forthcoming year:

Evaluate the previous year

Before projecting into the New Year, ensure to conduct a thorough review of your performance throughout the past 12 months.

This involves examining sales and revenue data, scrutinizing customer feedback, and revisiting any other significant metrics.

Review your objectives from the beginning of the year, and determine which tactics were successful and which ones were not. This evaluation is essential for learning and assists you in making knowledgeable choices in the future.

Define precise objectives

It's important to set clear goals for the next year. SMART objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely) can help with this.

Instead of vaguely stating 'boost sales,' set a SMART goal with a clear target like, 'enhance sales by 10% in the first quarter'.

Using these goals to guide your company's actions and decisions will lead to better results. It will also help manage how we use time, money, and resources for the best returns.

Formulate a plan

Once you clearly establish your objectives, you can start to devise the necessary steps to reach them. This might include introducing new products or services, venturing into new markets, or enhancing your customer service. Your plan should serve as a guide to accomplishing your objectives.

Organize your finances

Managing money is important for businesses. Managing money is crucial for businesses. It involves reviewing the income and expenses from the previous year and creating a budget for the upcoming year. Many people consider this task necessary and often include it in a new year checklist.

It's crucial to consider all possible expenses, such as salaries, marketing costs, and operational expenses.

Perform market research

Understanding your clients and competitors is crucial for your marketing and sales plan. It gives you valuable knowledge to shape your company's strategy.

Analyzing the market helps you make smart decisions, setting your business up for success in the future.

Evaluating risks

Every enterprise encounters risks, be it financial, operational, or market-related. By pinpointing these, your firm can devise strategies to lessen their impact.

By taking a proactive approach, you can tackle obstacles and maintain business operations.

Invest in team development

Investing in training and development for your workforce improves skills, morale, and productivity.

This is crucial in you business plan for 2024 as many companies are grappling with skills deficits. Improve your team's skills to fill gaps and help your staff learn new skills for career growth.

Enhancing Customer Interaction

Looking forward, it's crucial to implement strategies that not only engage your customers but also enhance their experience.

This could involve refining your customer service, initiating loyalty schemes, or boosting your digital visibility. Starting a dialogue with customers and seeking their input is an excellent first step.

Evaluate and Revise Business Procedures

Effective business processes can boost efficiency and cut expenses. The onset of the new year is an ideal opportunity to assess current procedures and identify potential enhancements.

By embracing new technologies or simplifying workflows, you could revolutionize how your business functions. Go to our website's resources and guides section for helpful advice, tools, and guidance to assist with this.

Prepare for unforeseen circumstances

Unexpected events can disrupt your business. Having a contingency can help your organization overcome obstacles. It can also keep operations running smoothly.

This might include establishing a emergency fund or formulating a crisis management plan.

Keep in mind, an effective plan is versatile and adjustable. Regularly assess and adjust your plan to ensure your business stays on track for success in the coming year.

If you need a skilled professional for your team or want a new career, contact our expert consultants now.

You may also be interested in

New year, new skills: public speaking
8 mins read
  1. Article

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 practise, 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 of moving 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 a 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 you in front of people without being too nervous, finding peace in being just the way you are.Extroverts, like myself, have one disadvantage in that we can sometimes have an unsubstantiated self-confidence which can lead to a lack of focus, 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. Perhaps the introduction is being given before you speak and your heart is pounding – use the moment to look out of the window to distract yourself, just don’t look at the audience.Once you take the podium and you're in the focus, look over their heads and scan back and forth, so you only pretend to look at them – fake it till you make it.Gradually your confidence will build because you’ve realised the sky didn’t fall down and no one is throwing things at you. But still don't look at the audience because sometimes if you’re nervous and start looking at people’s faces for reassurance, it can put you off your stride, especially if they’re not very receptive. Only when your nerves are under control should you start to make eye contact, if you wish.Q: Delivery – can you share any tips for keeping to a designated time slot?A: Preparation again is the key. Run through it a few times and use a timer.A good rule of thumb is to use about 100 words a minute, which is a fairly slow speaking pace but a good one to help the audience follow you. Also, it gives a bit of leeway so that if you do improvise and add things that come to mind as you’re speaking, you have enough space to do that."You should never read from your PowerPoint slides or from a script as it’s really boring. Only refer to them for key points, graphs or pictures that will help engage the audience."William HagerupClub President of Toastmasters' 104 London Debaters clubYou should never read from your PowerPoint slides or from a script as it’s really boring. Only refer to them for key points, graphs or pictures that will help engage the audience and jog your memory if you need it. If you run through that a few times with a timer, you can give a fluent presentation without speaking too fast.If you do need notes to hand, print them large enough that you don’t have to peer at the paper as you’re speaking. You can just have them as a reminder. Index cards are a good idea because you can hold them without fumbling with a big piece of paper, which can act as a barrier between you and the audience. If you are inexperienced or very nervous, write down the main points.Q: When the tech goes wrong – how should you regain composure when the PowerPoint fails?A:It’s good to prepare a joke in advance. If you’re able to say something funny when something goes wrong, it takes the edge off the situation. Perhaps just have an ‘emergency’ question ready to put to the audience or ask if they have any questions.If your presentation depends on you showing some graphs or papers, you might have some print-outs ready to share rather than waiting for something to be fixed, which may take a long time.I think it’s generally better not to rely too much on just one technology. Always think of backups. Q: Presenting online – what common pitfalls are there to avoid?A:The basics are having good light so your face is bright. The sound is very important and should be tested in advance, perhaps with a friend. It might be worth investing in a slightly better microphone which can make a big difference. And then I’d say the position of the camera is important. You don’t want it too far up so that people are looking down at you, and not too far down, because then it looks like you’re standing over them like a strict headmaster.Speakers sometimes get concerned that they need to look at the various screens and look at people’s faces, but audience members often turn off their cameras. I just ignore that a little bit and write my keywords on a document placed on the screen underneath where my camera is, so I’m looking in the direction of the camera. It's not noticeable for the audience because my eyes are in that direction, so they think I'm looking at them. So that’s quite a nice way of doing it and once I finish, I can just take the notes away and more fully engage with people. I also often ask if it’s possible for everyone to turn on their cameras, because it’s a bit disconcerting talking to a blank screen or staring at their avatars. And it’s easier for them to zone out and start doing other things and not really pay attention when their cameras are off.Q: Q&A time – what if you don’t know the answer?A:I’m quite strict on this so I would say you should’ve done your homework better. I don’t think one should show up for a presentation if you haven't researched your subject thoroughly. There’s no real excuse for lack of preparation – you’re either showing disrespect for your audience or complete ineptitude if you’re not ready to answer any relevant question.Of course, if it’s not relevant, it’s perfectly fair to say, “I'm sorry, I don’t think that's relevant. It’s not something that is specifically to do with what I said, so I’m not going to be able to answer that one now, but we can talk about it perhaps afterwards or in a different setting”.If something comes up unexpectedly that you ought to have researched, you’re going to have to be honest and say you haven’t explored that in depth but will be happy to go back to them with an answer through the contact details of the meeting organiser.Looking for a new challenge in 2024? Get in touch with one of our expert consultants today.

The evolution of the CIO: an evolving role
4 mins read
  1. Article

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. However, as businesses have become more reliant on technology for their operations and growth, the role has evolved to encompass a broader set of responsibilities.Today, CIOs are expected to be strategic business partners who are there to help enhance operational efficiency and leverage technology to create competitive advantages – maximising the return on the company’s investment in technology. In other words, it’s now essential for a CIO to focus not only on cost savings, but on using technology to add value and increase revenue for the business.CIOs are now required to collaborate closely with other c-suite executives to align technology initiatives with overall business objectives, identify opportunities for digital transformation, and mitigate potential risks associated with technology adoption. It’s an exciting era, as CIOs now have the chance to be transformational leaders who can harness technological advancements and data to consolidate their tech stacks and gain efficiency.Challenges in staying up to dateStaying current with the latest technological developments can be a considerable challenge. The rapid pace of innovation, coupled with the proliferation of widespread AI technologies, presents a daunting task for CIOs looking to stay informed and ready to address the potential impact these technologies can have on their organisation.According to digital adoption platform, Userlane, and leading consultancy, PwC, almost two thirds of CIOs surveyed were concerned that the state of the economy will affect their digital transformation plans. But at the same time, 62% plan to deepen their investment in technology, illustrating just how important technology integration now is at leadership level.One of the biggest challenges is offering digital services that are safe and secure for the consumer, which makes cybersecurity a number one priority for the majority of CIOs; their responsibility is to protect the systems and data that shareholders and stakeholders entrust them with.As cyber threats become more sophisticated, CIOs must continually evaluate and implement robust security measures to safeguard their organisations' data and infrastructure.Understanding the capabilities of AIGiven the uptake in generative AI across the workplace, it’s no surprise that AI is expected to shape the future of business. Large language models (LLMs) will continue to play a part in generating documentation on business processes, designing training programmes, and writing and rewriting code.AI has been hotly anticipated by technology departments for a while, but has only recently reached a point where its potential benefits, capabilities, and enhancements, have become clear. CIOs are being asked to learn what AI is capable of and how it can be harnessed to competitive or strategic advantage across the business – similar to the adoption of any other technology.More recently, generative AI is offering an entry point for companies looking to spearhead investment decisions. Rather than manually researching information, CIOs have the ability to use generative AI to summarise markets, telling them where to look and where to harness department energy.Managing business needsThis transformation now sees CIOs juggling evolving responsibilities, to shape their departments. This requires a thorough understanding of their organisation's strategic objectives – helped by their c-suite role – as well as the ability to identify and prioritise technology initiatives that will best support those objectives.As the role grows, it’s important for CIOs to develop and maintain strong relationships with other business leaders and departments, gaining insights into their challenges and opportunities, and leveraging technology to address them. As a company grows, so does the amount of data, which makes having an innovative leader and strong IT department even more essential.We’re seeing CIOs steering the ship, promoting continuous improvement within their teams, while further encouraging the exploration of new technologies to drive meaningful change to stay competitive, relevant, and secure.The sooner companies realise the true value of the CIO position, the better their chances of success.To find a talented tech professional for your company, or to take the next step in your career, contact our specialist technology recruiters now.

Eight soft skills salespeople can adopt to improve their performance
4 mins read
  1. Article

Eight soft skills salespeople can adopt to improve their performance

When you are trained for a new job you expect technical skills to be at the top of the list, but in sales, the best tools you can have are your skills. Of course, hard skills such as using computer systems are still essential, but making yourself a valuable asset has gained greater importance to employers recently.Soft skills are increasingly emphasised in most industries, however, salespeople rely on them to be able to build rapport with customers. Products are easier to buy from someone that the customer likes and trusts - if you come across as disrespectful or pushy, this reflects badly on the product you are trying to sell and business will in turn suffer.Here are some soft skills that every salesperson can adopt with the right motivation.A growth mindsetMaking yourself valuable to a company, in a world where change is rapid, you need to change yourself at times too. If you become stuck in your ways and unable to adapt, you will lose your value every time your skills become obsolete. Don’t be satisfied with just reaching your sales goal and only focusing on numbers; aiming to become better will allow you to exceed those goals. Personal development is one of the most important aspects.ConfidenceThis can mean the difference between a good salesperson and a great salesperson. If you don’t sound confident in what you’re saying, customers will not believe that you know what you’re talking about or that you honestly believe what you’re saying. If you don’t have confidence, there are many techniques to try out. For example, writing down what you need to say before you make a phone call can make you feel more prepared, and this will come across when you speak to the customer.PassionHaving ambition and drive for selling can come from your passion and enjoyment. Loving what you do is the best way to be better at what you do in any field – your positivity will shine through and you’ll be compelled to be better by practising and your talent will come naturally to you. Passion can be good for teamwork, which is increasingly important in sales. Your passion can influence that of others in your team and create a more social, happy and effective sales team.Effective communicationIf you want someone to give you their time, you need to earn it by communicating well. A salesperson needs to be a good communicator at all times. Knowing how to speak to different people is vital – you would never speak to a customer the same way you would speak to a friend or colleague. Imagine you are talking to someone very important - which your customers are - like your boss, for example. Be polite, honest, clear and concise.  Active listeningWhen you’re talking to a potential customer, you shouldn’t be dominating a conversation, no matter how badly you want to reach your sales target. People will appreciate it if you listen to what they need, not just what you want to brag about – although it may be tempting when you’re in a hurry. Showing them that you are listening can be as simple as nodding and making eye contact when face-to-face, or simply saying “yes, I agree” over the phone. Having empathy is in itself a soft skill which will take you far in sales.KnowledgeThis may sound obvious, but you need to know what it is you’re selling and who you are selling to. It also helps to understand why a customer would want to buy something from you. Understanding your customer requires building and maintaining a relationship or just a good bit of research. Touching back on the confidence point, knowing what you are doing will generate more trust in what you are saying. These skills do not just benefit you as a salesperson but as a member of a team. A business can thrive more with a team of people with these soft skills, than just a team with technical skills. Each of these skills is transferable to any profession and can be useful in your social life as well.Soft skills are not as easy to adopt as hard skills because they are seen as innate personality traits, but they can be learned, and they can also be measured by employers.Another benefit of having soft skills is that they can’t be replaced by technology – these are people skills.If you're looking for your next sales role or a talented candidate, find your nearest Reed office.