Small business owners have it tough. With limited budgets and an inability to command the resources of corporate giants, they need to thrive in an increasingly competitive world. These tips are going to help you thrive over the coming twelve months.

1. Employ Locals for a More Established Team

High turnover rates are deadly for small businesses. Your small workforce means that even one member of the team leaving can lead to a big hole. Employing locals is suggested for several reasons, including because you’re forging links with the local community.

As marketing expert Lanre Onibalusi says, “You will be choosing people with a stronger sense of loyalty to the area and a sound knowledge of the local consumer environment.”

This reason alone gives you a great reason to bring more locals into your team in 2017.

2. Use Technology to Measure Your Spending

Working out exactly how much time your employees spend working will give you an idea of how much you should budget, and whether you need to adjust that budget. Furthermore, eliminating buddy clocking will make sure you get more from your team spending every year.

An employee time clock gives you a few key benefits:

  • Preventing abuse of the clocking system.
  • Making sure that you never overbudget.
  • Provides a more accurate system for measuring employee work hours and availability.

3. Stay Small and Move Fast

Leverage your natural advantages as a small business. The main advantage you have is you can be quick and nimble, whereas large corporations can’t. Use this to your advantage so you can give your customers the services they’re not going to find from a big name.

Examine your niche at the start of this year and consider whether sidestepping into another niche, even while remaining in your original niche, is a viable option.

A key part of this is reacting to market trends in a way those bigger organizations simply can’t manage.

4. Can You Scale Your Business?

Scaling is what will make your business a success, but not every business can scale. Plenty of businesses have services that charge by the hour. But that has a major flaw. There are only a certain number of hours in the day. Businessman Mike Kappel had this problem when starting his small business, “I wanted something that could scale up infinitely, uncoupled from time constraints.

So, does that rule out small businesses that charge by the hour? Absolutely not!

These are some of your options:

  1. Offer services that charge by the hour but can be expanded to increase the number of employees while increasing the number of customers.
  2. Charge by the hour for some services but provide static products that can be sold for a flat fee elsewhere.
  3. Eliminate some of your consulting services, for example, and produce products that can be sold for a flat fee but scaled up.

The right decision is up to you. Not every business will find the same strategies work. It’s all a matter of doing your research.

5. Listen to Your Customer Base

You don’t always know best. When you have enough customers to get reasonably accurate feedback it’s time to begin listening to your customers, and going out of your way to ask them what they want. The best small businesses make changes based on customer feedback.

Yet a surprising number of companies don’t do this. They charge on regardless. Take some time in 2017 to sit down and listen to what your customers have to say.

Conclusion – Make 2017 a Great Year

These tips will enable you to make 2017 a great year. But you need to start taking steps right now to make that a reality. What are you going to do in 2017?

AuthorRyan Kidman is a big data and analytics expert, marketing digital products on Amazon’s Envato. He is not just passionate about latest buzz and tech stuff but in fact he’s totally into it. Follow his latest posts on Business Catalyst. Follow him at @ryankhgb.

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Ryan Kidman is a startup-investor and serial entrepreneur. Founder of Catalyst For Business and contributor to search giants like Yahoo Finance, MSN. He is passionate about blogging and covering topics like big data, business intelligence, startups & entrepreneurship. Follow him on twitter: @ryankhgb

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