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How your business can end the year strong

December 3, 2021
Written by Nextdoor Editorial Team
December 3, 2021 | Written by Nextdoor Editorial Team

The clock’s ticking on 2021, and you’re probably getting ready to wind down, complete your annual business review, log out, and take some well-deserved time off. That said, there’s still an opportunity to set your business up to have a strong, year-end finish and bring in an extra boost before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st.

From setting new business goals to updating your social media, there’s plenty of information in this article to keep you busy for the rest of the year. Plus, with these helpful business tips for the new year, you can cruise into 2022 knowing your business is set up for future success.

#1 Reenergize your staff

It takes motivated team members to build a strong business. With the year coming to a close, it might be the perfect time to put some time and energy into strengthening your staff and creating incentives to drive up sales.

Team building, goal setting, and year-end check-ins can go a long way toward reenergizing your employees. If you’re looking for some specific ways to encourage your team to maximize their greatness and potential sales, consider the following:

  • Staff referrals – Every member of your team has their own personal network, so why not encourage them to reach out? By offering a staff referral incentive, you’ll motivate your team to tap into their network for potential customers. Create referral discounts and offer bonuses for staff members when they turn referrals into sales—it’s a strategy sure to benefit everyone.
  • Best of the year bonus – Pump up your team by offering tiered bonuses for those going the extra mile when it comes to making sales goals. Your best team members will see their work rewarded and your whole staff will get an opportunity to benefit after a tough year of hard work.
  • Daily challenges – Every day is a new opportunity for your business, so why not let your staff rise to the occasion with daily challenge initiatives? Offer different rewards and different challenges every day. From highest daily sales to the most innovative idea—create the environment to let each team member shine. 

If you work with a small staff there are still plenty of ways to encourage your team to make the most of these final days. Consider setting up year-end evaluations to talk to each team member individually and focus on their strengths and goals. If you’re a solo entrepreneur, consider signing up for a class or attending a convention to connect you with your industry.

Short on ideas for incentives outside of financial offerings? Michigan restaurant owner Theresa Miller decided to reward her team with a free trip to Puerto Rico. While you might not need to be so extravagant, there are still plenty of ways to incentivize your team to hit their goals. Consider a reward of a day off or even a meal for two at a local restaurant.

#2 Enhance your year-end emails

It’s always important to stay in touch with your customers and even more so at the end of the year. Ensure your December sales don’t slip past your customers by putting some time and energy into your marketing emails.

Incorporate the following ideas into your marketing emails to help generate sales and strengthen your customer base:

  • Early-bird specials – Give your customers a reason to start their holiday shopping early by offering early-bird deals. Send an email with a special discount code or in-store coupon that’s valid for the first week of December, or first few hours of your holiday sale. Some customers may be very happy to have a reason to beat the rush.
  • End-of-the-year newsletter – Keep everyone in the know with an end-of-the-year newsletter. Remind your customers about all your successes over the past year and inform them of your goals for the next. It’s also a great way to remind your customers about your holiday hours, deals, and special events.
  • Free holiday gifts – Who doesn’t like free? Craft an email to offer your customers a freebie with purchases throughout December. That extra gift could encourage some extra spending as well.
  • Flash sales – Customers know that the best deals can’t stick around forever. Create an email that notifies your customers of a new flash sale or a single-day in-store discount. By putting a time limit on your offer, customers will be more inclined to prioritize their purchases.

Be sure to thank your customers for their continued support over the year. Expressing appreciation in your emails can go a long way to creating positive associations with your business. It’s your customers that help keep your business going, year after year.

#3 Hone your brand

The end of the year is often a time for individual reflection, so why not reflect on who you are as a business as well? That means it’s as good a time as ever to focus on your brand.

Your brand should represent your ideals and goals while appealing directly to your client base. If that sounds like a lofty goal, you can make it easier by reviewing the following tips for year-end brand development:

  • Consolidate your look – Have you been trying out a variety of marketing materials over the past year? It could be time to lock in a singular visual style to create consistency throughout your business and across all platforms. Whether your style is bold and bright or subtle and understated, having a recognizable look will help your customers identify your business faster and easier.
  • Readdress your mission statement – As a business grows, so does its scope. While you may be committed to providing the same product or service, perhaps you’ve upped your dedication to quality and customer service. There’s nothing wrong with revising your original business goals to reflect where you are now—especially if you’re expanding and improving on what you do best.
  • Get feedback – To build a brand that truly speaks to your customers, you might want their opinions. By crafting online surveys or in-store questionnaires, you can discover what’s working best for your customer base and address anything they might find lacking.

Interested in making a big play in 2022? Check out 2022 small business marketing trends and build a brand that can scale up with your business. Identify what’s connecting with your brand and craft a fine-tuned identity that’s flexible enough to serve in the many years to come.

#4 Refocus your social media

Before the year is over, it pays to start making real connections with your audience on social media. More and more, small businesses are looking to social media to find potential customers and possibilities to grow.

As Connecticut real estate agent Steve Vavrek recently said about his own business, “COVID has definitely forced a re-imaging of my business. From an increased online, social media presence…I established more initiatives to get my business initiatives seen more.”

To set up your social media for success, consider these end-of-the-year options:

  • Social media contest – Looking for further engagement with your content? By creating a social media contest, you can encourage your audience to ‘like’ or comment on your posts to be entered to win a gift card or special prize. Doing so will give your audience another reason to spread the word about your business.
  • Connect locally - While so much of social media is focused on worldwide connection, there are local networks you can connect to digitally. Start making an impact and talk directly to your neighbors online. You’ll build a digital presence that captures the spirit—and attention—of your nearby community.
  • Communicate and collaborate - Sometimes the best way to achieve business success is by connecting with another business, and social media can make that easy. The team at the Illinois-based Spence Farms reached out on their social media to provide produce to Chicago restaurants, creating a win-win situation for everyone involved.

#5 Hold a holiday event

It’s the season for celebration, so why not bring the festivities to your business? Before the year ends, it could be festive—and worthwhile—to set up a holiday event to attract new and old customers to your company.

There are plenty of options when it comes to holiday events, so if you’re looking to connect with your audience, consider the following:

  • Charity drive -  It’s the perfect time to give back and encourage your community to join you. Consider hosting a charity drive to raise money for a worthy cause. Create a donation matching system that allows you to contribute along with your customers. Consider, for example, how this Georgia-based real estate firm organized a Thanksgiving food drive. They encouraged local community members to donate food items for those in need and turned their office into the drop-off site. This not only allowed people to rally together behind a good cause but also brought more potential buyers and sellers to their door front. 
  • Host an online event – In today’s world, you don’t have to go anywhere to bring people together. Hosting your event online usually means lower costs, easier access, and faster connections, so consider going virtual to close out your year.

Be sure to spend some time promoting your event through various marketing strategies—including your email lists and social media accounts—and take your time in the planning process. After all, this could be an event people remember for years to come.

#6 End the year on a high note with Nextdoor

With only a few weeks left in the year, you may not be able to get to everything on this list—that’s okay. As a small business owner, there is always more to do. That said, one last thing you can do to finish the year strong is to join Nextdoor. 

At Nextdoor, you can engage directly with nearby customers, offer special promotions, establish your business’s online presence, and grow brand awareness locally. Plus, Nextdoor makes it easy with simple, free, and easy-to-use tools. Don’t wait to start posting, promoting, and connecting on Nextdoor.

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Hamlet Hub. Why Small Businesses Matter in Westport: Commercial Realtor, Steve Vavrek. 

Mlive. Michigan restaurant owner thanking loyal staff with free trip to sunny Puerto Rico. 

Pantagraph. Fairbury fares well during pandemic thanks to local food, Chicago markets. 

Polk Today. Main Street Realtors in Cedartown hosting first-ever Thanksgiving Food Drive for November. 

Claim your free Business Page to get started on Nextdoor. For resources on how to use Nextdoor to stay connected with your local customers, pertinent news affecting business, and more, follow us at @nextdoorbusiness on Facebook

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