2020 is here and 2019 is in the books! Whether it was your first year of business, or you’ve been at it for a few years or more— there is always room to grow. The end of each year/beginning of the new year is the best time to take some time to reflect on the past year; Think about what went wrong, what went well, what could you improve? It’s also the best time to project your best self into 2020; Set goals, find new inspiration, and never give up on your hustle.
A full year of business is a lot to think about— which is why we’re here to help guide you in the right direction.
With the right planning, analyzing and strategizing, you can make 2020 your best year yet...and it will only go up from there! To cultivate your 2020 vision, we recommend taking a good amount of time to sit down and reflect on 2019, then project greatness for 2020.
The first step is crucial— you need to analyze how 2019 went and consider what’s working for you and what isn’t. One of the keys to achieving retail success is to be more data-centric. Analyzing data is an important part of every business, regardless of its industry or size. This is the information that tells you exactly how your business is doing and what your strengths or weaknesses are. This can seem overwhelming— there are so many aspects of a business that can be analyzed and adjusted in order to experience forward progress. Here are a few reports that are necessary to analyze. Then use the data to your advantage, leveraging it to make wise business decisions.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but there is so much useful information here! Sales and revenue are the heart and soul of every business. Without them, you have nothing. It’s important that you review your sales and revenue numbers as often as possible to make sure that you are on track to meet or exceed your monthly goals, while also constantly trending upward in terms of growth. If you keep weekly or monthly revenue reports, now is the time to gather up every report from 2019 and look for the trends.
Something as simple as running a report from your accounting system every week allows you to dive into enough data to quickly determine whether or not your sales and revenue are on track or need to be addressed. It’s important that you are proactive—sitting back and hoping for a change will never work—you need to take action in order to see positive upward movement.
Keeping track of every penny that leaves your business is just as important as monitoring what’s coming in. You should try to keep your monthly burn-rate as low as possible, while always looking for areas to cut expenses. It can be useful to establish a monthly expense budget, and do everything you can to stay at or below that number. Increased expenses are not always a bad sign—a surge in growth can cause expenses to increase, so when that happens be sure to adjust your budget goals accordingly.
Tracking all of your business expenses in one place is simple, thanks to accounting and invoicing software these days. It’s easy to let the expenses pile up, so make it a habit to run a report weekly and cross-check them against your budget. Small business owners don’t always have the luxury of a dedicated CFO, so take it upon yourself to be on the ball when it comes to your expense tracking and monitoring.
When you have a year’s worth of expense reports you can compare them to your sales reports to look for any trends and therefore better plan for the future.
As an online store, your website is essentially open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week...so it’s very difficult to monitor all of your traffic in real-time. It is very useful to know where your traffic comes from, what your customers do while on your website and how long they stay before leaving. This is all great information that you can analyze and use to create a better user experience, leading to increased conversions and generated revenue.
Google Analytics is typically the most common and user-friendly option available. It can be set up within minutes and the reporting is very easy to understand no matter what your skill level is. More advanced users can set up conversion reports that track the conversion path each sale takes, giving you even further valuable insight.
If you haven’t set up Google Analytics yet, don’t worry— it’s super simple! But you should get on it as soon as possible. Check out our tutorial on How to Properly Set Up Google Analytics on a Shopify Store.
Social media is crucial...we all know this! It provides small business owners with an amazing platform to promote and market their business. The trick is to figure out the right kind of content that connects with your audience. All of the major social media platforms—Facebook, Instagram and Twitter—have analytics available, which are free to access. Your social media analytics will show you what content was the most popular and what content was not well received, which allows you to reevaluate your social media strategy. You’ll be able to focus all of your social media energy on strategies that work to drive engagement and sales.
Once you have analyzed 2019, you’ll have a better understanding of what you need to focus on in the new year. From your reports you’ll be able to set new business strategies, devise a social media strategy and create a better customer experience overall. Here are three main strategies you’ll need to plan out for 2020 to ensure your growth as a business.
Setting a budget for your business is an important step from day one, and yet few business owners do it as earnestly as they could. Budget planning isn’t glamorous, but it’s necessary. When creating your 2020 budget, see if you can build up an emergency fund or factor in acquiring some kind of financing. The best time to look for capital is when you don’t need it; if you start your search when you need it desperately, you will have limited options. It's good practice to plan for more than you need.
It’s 2020! Take the busy work off your plate with technology and automation. There are a ton of ways that e-commerce companies can incorporate automatic processes into their workflow. Your goal for 2020? Find a few key areas that could benefit from an automated process. This will free you up to focus on big-picture thinking, strategy, and becoming an even better boss.
As the e-commerce space continues to get even bigger, e-ccommerce business owners will face more competition than ever. That’s where your killer marketing plan will come in. There are many ways that you can automate your marketing processes and make them more dynamic. By doing so, you’ll speak to both potential new and increasingly loyal customers without breaking the bank.
Along with these new strategies, it will also be important to set new goals for yourself and your business. These goals are very important to success. They will keep you focused and help motivate you and your team to make 2020 a fabulous year. There are a ton of great goals you can cultivate for your year. Keeping your own reports and data in mind, here are some goals you can set to implement and achieve in 2020.
The upcoming year will be a major test for many e-commerce businesses— but you got this! By investing in the areas above, setting goals based on your reports and developing new strategies to improve... you’ll be in great shape to conquer whatever challenges come your way.
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