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The ultimate online success checklist for your small business

Confident young entrepreneur using digital tablet in delicatessen. Beautiful saleswoman is checking inventory with tablet computer. She is wearing apron.
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Just like people, cars and pets, businesses need a checkup every now and again to ensure that they’re as strong and healthy as they can be. We’ve created a little checklist of the top things you should include in your business’s MOT, so you can have it running as smoothly as possible in next to no time.

Strategy and goals

You can only become successful if you know what your goals are, and how you plan to reach them. Start by thinking about why you originally started your business. Are you still working towards the same goals? Once you’ve thought about the broader stuff, there are a few more specific areas to think about:

Do you have an idea of where you’d like your business to be this time next year?

Numerical, abstract or otherwise, this is a great way to give yourself direction and help you to establish priorities.
Tracking your return on investment (ROI) will help you discover when you break even on your investment and prove your success when you start making a profit.

If you’re selling products, will you be able to meet demand if your business grows in popularity?

Or do you need to get something in place for this? This isn’t just a case of being optimistic – it’s important to ensure that if your business gains momentum, you’ll be able to keep that going. Make a plan for how you might expand your offering to meet demand if the need arises.

Do you currently have a system in place to help raise brand awareness?

Whether that’s reviews, word of mouth, competitions or something else, brand awareness is an important part of growing any business. Take a look at what similar businesses are doing, and think about what would work best for your brand.

Are you achieving the goals you previously had in mind?

It’s totally okay to not be achieving every single one of your goals; it’s just important to be aware of them as a guideline, and to have an idea of where you are compared to where you wanted to be.

Website

Does your business have a website?

If yes:

Is it mobile friendly?

This is crucial to ensure that your website shows up on search engines like Google. It also means your customers can easily visit your website on the go!

Do you update it regularly?

This will keep your visitors coming back to your site and further boost your search engine rankings.

Is it easy to find? i.e. personalised domain, good keywords

It’s much easier for customers to find a website if its domain is simple and matches the company’s name. In conjunction with good SEO rankings, which you can boost by ensuring that you’re using relevant terms throughout your website, and by making the most of any SEO tools included in your website, this will ensure that you can be found by the customers you’re targeting.

Do the images fit with your branding elsewhere?

This will ensure that your brand sticks in your customers’ minds. They don’t need to match, but it’s good to ensure that they don’t look incongruous with the rest of your branding.

If you opened up the website and saw it for the first time, is there anything you’d change?

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and try to take an objective look at your website. This will help you to identify any issues you might be missing by being too close to it!

If no:

Are you losing potential business by not having a website?

Not having a website makes it harder for potential customers to find your company, decreasing brand awareness and customer conversion.

What kind of website would suit your business?

Do you need a store? Just a blog? What kind of website would ensure that you’re keeping up with the competition? With a website builder, you can be really flexible, so just having a little look around at the kind of websites others have can help you to decide what you do and don’t need to include. Once you know, you can create your own unique, beautiful website in no time! It doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming; sign up for a free trial of Go Sitebuilder to see for yourself!

For more hints and tips on the main things to consider when you’re making (or managing) a website, see our blog here.

Social media

Do you have:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

LinkedIn?

The more social media accounts you have, the more people you’re likely to reach. Once you have a posting rhythm going, it won’t take much longer to post to several pages than it would to post to one. There are also loads of tools to help with this.

Have you replied to all the messages you need to reply to?

Did you know that Facebook rates your response rate for your customers? Try adding an automated message response to keep your rating high, and try to reply properly as soon as possible.

Do you update it regularly?

This is the best way to make sure you’re keeping your followers engaged. There are different studies on how regularly you should post, but many suggest once a day on Facebook, at least once on Instagram, at least twice a week on LinkedIn and between 3 and 30 times a day on Twitter (which can include retweets, of course).

Is it connected to your website?

This is an easy way to keep your website updated with little effort: featuring new social posts on your site ensure that visitors can see everything in one place.

If you use images, do they fit in with your branding elsewhere?

This will ensure that your brand sticks in your customers’ minds.

Are you engaging with your customers?

From liking posts you’re tagged in to asking questions, there are lots of ways to keep your customers engaged and active.

Do you follow accounts who offer good information/connections?

This is a great way of making sure you’re on top of the latest trends in your area. If you follow relevant accounts, not only will you be able to pick up on useful information, but you’re also more likely to find opportunities to promote your services or products!

Are you reposting content from others?

This helps to build a community, shows support for other local or small businesses and saves you from having to create original content every time you post. As an added bonus, if you share something of theirs, they’re more likely to post about your business in return!

For more advice on making the most of social media, check out our blog here.

Your own wellbeing

No matter how perfect all the other areas of your business are, you come first – and in order for a business to function well, its owner needs to function well too.

Are you getting enough time away from your work?

The key to a work-life balance is in the name – you’ve got to balance both things. Make sure you’re setting aside time to do things that aren’t related to work, whether that’s spending time with family, exercising, watching TV or a hobby.

Do you have a good working environment?

If you work in one place on a regular basis, ensure that it isn’t going to cause you any problems. General employer desk assessment checklists can help with this. If possible, always work away from where you sleep, as this can disrupt your all-important sleep!

Are you getting enough sleep?

Sleep is incredibly important, and it’s never worth sacrificing it. Even if you feel like you need to spend more time growing your business, being more tired will just end up making you less productive in the long-run.

Are you delegating tasks to colleagues (if applicable), technology and your future self, rather than trying to do everything?

If you employ anyone, make sure you’re delegating tasks, and not letting yourself get into the mindset of ‘it’ll just be quicker if I do it myself’. That task might be quicker, but it will always come at the cost of something else that needs doing. If you don’t employ anyone, then focus on prioritising and scheduling. Even though all tasks are technically delegated to you, that doesn’t mean you have to do them all at once.

Are you acknowledging your own achievements?

Remember to give yourself a pat on the back every now and then! You’re doing something amazing by running your own business, so make sure you acknowledge when something goes well – and go easy on yourself if it doesn’t.

Looking after your own wellbeing is such an important aspect of being a business owner – and one that’s often overlooked. If you’re finding yourself unable to tick any of these boxes it’s probably because your work-life balance isn’t quite in check. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! We’ve provided some helpful tips on ensuring that you’re maintaining a sustainable work-life balance in this free eBook.

This may look like a fairly long list, but in reality it should only take you a few minutes to go through it – and any unticked boxes can be rectified gradually before next time. Whether you use this list once every month, quarter or six months, it’s important to have a system in place to check your business’s metaphorical engine!