Love is in the air as Valentine’s Day lingers around. Be sure to treat the other love of your life – your business – to keep the spark between you alive and well!
In so many ways, running a business is like a marriage: you see each other at your best and worst; your blood, sweat and tears go into keeping it healthy; and together you build a better future for your family. Here are a few ways to spoil your business this Valentine’s Day with the attention it needs and deserves.
Share the love
The spirit of Valentine’s Day is showing love and appreciation to your nearest and dearest. So, why not do something special with your team!
It might be as simple as a free coffee or a thank you card. You could give them reading materials on building better financial foundations (which they can use both personally and professionally!) Or you could go all out with gifts of wine or flowers, an unexpected bonus or team-building lunch.
Especially after the trying year that was 2020, marking the occasion is a simple way to boost morale. And employees who feel appreciated generally work harder and stay longer, meaning your business will reap the rewards in the months and years ahead!
Wine and dine customers
When was the last time you checked in with your customers? Not just a quick “g’day” or a “can you please pay that outstanding invoice”. I mean a real check in to see how they are, how their business is travelling, what their current pain points and latest ambitions are.
Too often, we get caught up in the busyness of our own day and forget to connect with others on a meaningful level.
Customers who feel neglected or used as a cash cow may look to your competitors for a more inviting alternative – even if your product or pricing is great. Not only that, you could be overlooking ways to upsell to them.
Spending time with key customers and really listening to them is a rewarding investment in driving repeat sales, customer loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals.
A date with the books
The equivalent of a big romantic gesture for your business has to be delivering it a big wad of cash.
While money doesn’t grow on trees, there are ways to unlock extra funds. Start with a review of your:
- Marketing: One of the easiest ways to haemorrhage funds. Can your marketing deliver better returns or achieve the same for less? Watch those ad hoc transactions too: a $5 boost to Facebook posts here and there quickly adds up.
- Working habits: COVID-19 changed the way many people work. Does your spending reflect current operational needs or old ways of working? Do you need that big office with the big rent now everyone works primarily from home? Would company cars be cheaper than paying for travel reimbursements?
- Taxes: Small businesses (and individuals) often pay more than they need to. Double check that you’re claiming every deduction and incentive your business is entitled to, including asset/equipment/fit-out depreciations, GST refunds, job creation rebates, COVID stimulus and R&D incentives.
Play it safe
Prevention is better than cure when it comes to things that make us sick. It can be worth reviewing risks and what protections you have in place: your business will thank you should it ever need to fall back on them!
- Insurances: Do you have the necessary coverage – including business interruption and professional indemnity? Are payments up to date? Should policies be modernised to reflect changed operations and assets? Can you get the same coverage cheaper?
- Backups: Software, data, IP, passwords, imagery, content, websites… it’s worthless if it’s lost.
- Contingency plans: What happens if key staff leave or are suddenly unavailable? Can you keep trading if COVID forces everyone into isolation again? What if power is cut for an extended period?
- Security protocols: both physical and cyber security are crucial to avoid fraud and theft.
Your business is nothing without you. Hence, it’s crucial to look after your own health and wellbeing – both physical and mental.
That could involve spending time with family and friends, revelling in your favourite hobby, a well-earned getaway or even just catching up on sleep! And seek treatment for any niggling issues you’ve been putting off.
A Valentine’s Day treat for yourself will keep you energetic and clear-minded: a win for both yourself and your business.
Helen Baker, licenced financial adviser and author of “On Your Own Two Feet – Steady Steps to Women’s Financial Independence”