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Recently on LinkedIn, the owner of a technology solution company (TSC) posted the question: “If someone were to take over for your business tomorrow, what changes would they immediately make that you should have done but didn’t?” What a compelling thought experiment. Once you’ve thought about it and created your list, the next question you should ask is: “Why not make the changes now if they’re that important?”
2023 is rapidly approaching, and if the past few years are any indication, it will be full of challenges. Solution providers can’t afford to take shortcuts, pass opportunities or not operate at peak efficiency. With that in mind, apart from whatever improvements are on your list, here are a few more areas you might want to consider.
It’s finally time for that website refresh
If your website is overdue for an update, you aren’t alone. But don’t use that as an excuse not to act. There are a few areas to address when it comes to your website:
- Design – If it’s been 3-5 years since your site has had a significant overhaul, it could be time. Your design should be contemporary and leverage the latest web development innovations to add value to visitors. With an ever-increasing rise in mobility, all features of your site function must function well with visitors arriving via mobile devices. Additionally, now would be an excellent time to re-evaluate your menus and navigation structure to ensure customers and prospects can easily find the products and solutions you’re trying to promote.
- Content – Search engines reward sites with content that refreshes often. First, evaluate existing pages and update as many as you can. Second, address holes in your content. For example, do you have a press release page that hasn’t been updated in years? Do you lack a press release page altogether? Do you have a blog, and is it updated regularly? Are marketing pieces available to prospected customers?
- Security – If the front end of your website hasn’t been updated in years, there’s a good chance the back end also hasn’t been updated. While stale content and an old design can cost you a prospective customer, having a breach can put you out of business entirely. Make sure your website has the latest patches installed. If you use a platform like WordPress for your site, consider turning on automatic updates to stay in step with the latest security issues.
- SEO – If you invest time and money into a website refresh, you should address SEO simultaneously. While SEO can seem like the mystic arts (a complete strategy from an SEO company can become quite complicated and expensive), you can take some basic steps to make an impact. First, invest in an affordable tool like Semrush or SE Ranking to analyze your site and competitors. Fundamental analyses can show how you compare with your competitors, for which keywords you rank, and areas of improvement within your site. WordPress and Shopify users might also consider the freemium plugin Yoast SEO to help when posting content and products to your site.
Are your legal documents up-to-date?
If your website is dusty and people can see it every day, imagine how badly some of your legal paperwork needs to be updated. Look at the following documents and ensure they’re up to date:
- Business plan
- Operating Agreement
- Confidentiality agreements
- Non-compete agreements
- Employee manual
- Policies and procedures
For customer-facing documents, make sure you aren’t reusing old documentation across customers. Unless you have a system of tracking changes to a document, you have no idea if the SLA your new customer just signed is missing anything that was deleted for a previous customer. Similarly, it’s possible that proprietary customer information could be accidentally copied from one customer to another, placing you in potential legal jeopardy.
Can staff be restructured for better efficiency?
Many companies have implemented automation tools to improve business operations and customer service. Doing so may free up employees to be reallocated to other more business-critical functions. Now is the time to evaluate business needs and current workloads among your team to ensure resources are being used most efficiently to achieve your desired outcomes in 2023.
Make time and budget for marketing
Marketing typically takes a back seat in businesses, especially regarding budget allocation, because direct results aren’t always precise. Marketing falls even further down the list in a down economy when money is tight. Don’t fall into this trap. Experts will tell you there’s no better time to scale up marketing than when your competition is scaling down.
Of course, marketing doesn’t have to be a financial drag on your business; you can take several affordable actions to help fill your sales funnel. We’ve already mentioned updating your website with SEO-optimized fresh content such as blogs, press releases, and current product information. Social media can also boost sales with the right content and target audience. Hosting local “lunch and learn” events can also be productive.
Find new recurring revenue sources
It’s no secret that we’re living in a subscription economy. It’s also no secret that TSPs love recurring revenue. Not only can recurring revenue reduce or eliminate the peaks and valleys associated with break-fix sales and perpetual licensed software, but it can also give you the confidence to make financial investments in your business. Here are a few sources of recurring revenue other solution providers are offering their customers:
- EV charging as a service
- Programmatic out-of-home advertising
- Integrated payment processing
<In Conclusion> – Next Steps
The above capture only a tiny portion of the areas in your business that might be overdue for attention. Other aspects you might want to address include: evaluating existing vendor relationships, moving into a new market, launching that new product, and more.
Identify the areas in your business that require attention and then create a plan that prioritizes the items and outlines a path and deadlines for completion. With proper planning and action, you can start 2023 poised for success.