The new year is looming, and once the festivities have died down, it’s common for social enterprises to feel either a renewed sense of purpose… or a desire to re-energise their flagging brands.
If the latter is more how you feel come 2019, there’s nothing to be ashamed of; January is a time for reflection, and if you’ve long had the nagging suspicion that your social enterprise needs to be rejuvenated or find its purpose once more, that’s the first step to making it happen.
So, with January but a whisper away, it’s time to get down to business and jump-start your social enterprise in 2019 with the following brilliant tips:
1. Go back to the business plan
Business plans should be fluid documents that ebb and flow as your social enterprise continues its journey. If you haven’t revisited yours for some time, the new year is the best excuse to do so.
Look at your original goals, projections and even the mission statement. What’s changed? How true have you been to your original plans?
2. Dive into Google Analytics
If your enterprise tends to quieten a little in January, there’s no excuse not to dive into Google’s powerful website analytics tool.
There’s a wealth of information in there for you to explore, and you don’t have to be a web genius to do make the most of it. Spend some time reading blogs on how best to use Google Analytics, and start looking at your visits, engagement rates and the content you produce that’s the most popular. Replicate what works, and rethink what doesn’t.
3. Give your website a revamp
When was the last time you updated your website? Is it starting to look old and tired?
If so, make 2019 the year when the website finally gets some attention. A full redesign may not be needed, but a subtle lick of paint, some additional content and a promise that you’ll update the blog regularly will set you in good stead.
4. Revisit your social media profiles
It’s common for social enterprises and businesses in all industries to set up social media accounts and, after an initial flurry of activity, allow them to fall into disrepair.
Fitting the time in to run your social accounts isn’t easy, but if you can’t afford to outsource the work, it’s important you make the time, because social media continues to be an important channel for social enterprises. Make it a routine you undertake every day.
5. Give something away
Who doesn’t love free stuff? A great way to kick-start your new year as a social enterprise is to bite the bullet and give something away. If you can connect that freebie to a core part of your social enterprise’s reason for existing, you’ll spread the good word about your work.
And as for what that freebie might be, you don’t have to go mad. A free eBook about your sector, offer to appear as a guest speaker at local events (see tip 10) or sample of your latest product is all that’s needed to create some buzz around your brand.
6. Go networking
In an age of multiple social media platforms and communication that only ever seems to take place in the digital realm, the idea of heading to an in-person networking event might feel rather old fashioned.
It really isn’t! Traditional networking remains a brilliant way to get yourself in front of people who may become clients, partners or mentors, and are definitely worth half a day of your time. Look for local networking events next year and book yourself into a couple of them. You might just get the taste for it!
7. Find yourself a mentor
We alluded to this in tip 6, but it’s worth expanding on.
A business mentor could do the world of good for your journey as a social entrepreneur and the enterprise itself. If you can find someone with experience and with whom you get on well, you’ll make a friend who will help you see the wood for the trees.
8. Talk to past customers
Converting past customers for new sales is far more cost effective than putting one-hundred percent of your effort into finding new business.
How often do you reconnect with old customers? Do you send out email newsletters and offers (after ethically collecting their email addresses, of course)? Do you ever think about picking up the phone to find out how they’re getting on with their purchase? Make 2019 the year you go back to the people who put their hard earned into your social enterprise.
9. Hold a January sale
Sale events aren’t just great ways to quickly boost turnover and profits – they’re great ways to reignite interest in your social enterprise.
By holding a fireside sale, you’ll have the opportunity to re-engage with old customers, raise awareness of your enterprise and introduce new people to your mission.
10. Get on the speaking circuit
Ok, so it’s not quite as easy as just ‘getting on’ the speaking circuit, but if you start planning a route in next year, you could find yourself on stage at events sooner than you might think.
As a social entrepreneur, you benefit from having a brilliant story. People will want to hear that story, and if you can sniff out speaking opportunities at events that are likely to have the right over-arching purpose and audience, the positive impact on your brand will be very tangible indeed.
Are you ready for 2019? Just one or two of the tips above will help you plot a course to success for your social enterprise next year!