While most of the focus in late 2016 was on the chaotic U.S. Presidential election, there was a tremendous amount of activity on the economic front as well. Job growth surged as the year came to a close, and the markets roared back to life as well. Â This, along with the presence of an incoming presidential administration that, by most counts, seems like it will be quite business friendly, bodes well for your company’s bottom line in 2017. So as you prepare for the New Year, here are four things to do to make 2017 as profitable as ever for your business.
Find New Markets
Over 70 percent of the world’s purchasing power is located overseas. Despite this fact, less than one percent of the United States’ 30 million businesses export anything overseas. Companies that take the time and effort to find and serve overseas markets are poised to substantially boost their profits, and develop considerable advantages over their competitors. Lack of expertise is one of the main reasons that companies, particularly small businesses, often don’t pursue exports. Fortunately, there are relatively low- cost ways to garner the support you need to become an exporter. The International Trade Administration’s Strategic Partnership Program, for example, can help companies break into new markets, even if they have very little experience with exports.
Pay Attention to New Tax Rules and Regs
There are almost always new tax rules and regulations to account for, but with a new administration and a supportive congress, the tax environment could change substantially in the next year or so. During the recent U.S. Presidential Campaign, for instance, President-Elect Trump suggested cutting the business tax rate from its current 35 percent rate down to 15 percent; he also suggested making substantial changes to the deductions, as well as the rate at which LLCs, partnerships, and S corporations are taxed as well. All of these changes, if enacted, could substantially boost your company’s profits next year, so make sure you pay attention to them and plan accordingly. IRS.gov normally does an excellent job of providing clear and concise updates to the U.S. tax code, so bookmark it and pay attention.
Customers as Sales Staff
If you have worked hard and have been successful at keeping your current customers happy, think of ways to leverage them and grow your business — and by extension your profits — even more. Turn them into a de facto sales force for you by incentivizing them to generate future leads. Give them discounted service for every lead they generate, and some kind of larger incentive if the lead generates a sale. Get long term customers to work with your sales staff to help them as they generate leads and work towards achieving more sales. Use customers’ testimonials as a key, authentic component of your marketing strategy, by having them appear in ads or in your online social media presence. Finally encourage your best customers to share as much about your company as possible via word of mouth or through social media.
If your business, especially your small business, is not taking advantage of 21st-century technology, then more likely than not you are generating unnecessary expenses and failing to take advantage of opportunities to make more sales. Paperwork, for example, can be costly to generate, store and get rid of. Reduce costs over the next year by going paperless. Invest in computers and mobile devices to reduce the paper trail, and eliminate it further by developing online e-forms and receipt systems. The same mobile devices that reduce paperwork can make it easier for your sales force to communicate, and aid in finding more leads; this could lead to more sales and greater profits. Finally, if your business does not have an online presence for marketing or sales, make 2017 the year your company gets on the Internet, reaches a broader audience, and increases its opportunities to earn more profits.