12 Tasks That Will Make Your Business Better

Keep your management hand on the throttle in 2024 with these month-by-month small-business improvement tips.

12 Tasks That Will Make Your Business Better

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You’ve celebrated the holidays and your New Year’s Eve celebration is but a foggy memory. Now it’s time to plan for taking care of your business in 2024.

Perhaps in recent years you’ve just let the business happen. You’ve been content to take any new customers who’ve come along, and tried your darndest to continue giving good service to your regular clientele. Your crew seems happy to roll along with the status quo, so you haven’t instituted any new benefits programs or reviewed their wages.

Everybody seems happy. Don’t rock the boat. Has that been your mission statement lately? In an effort to reset your expectations for 2024, I present a month-by-month business refresher that will hopefully lead to more revenue, lower expenses and even happier employees. Follow these tips and let me know how you fared at the end of the year:


January – Address training and continuing education

Training opportunities abound, especially this month if you are sending employees to the SHOT Show. There, the NSSF puts on a variety of seminars that can help you improve your business. Plus, It’s wise to knock out training required by your state or local permitting agency during the slower winter.


February – Plan for Labor Needs

Look back at the past few years. Have associates been working longer hours, causing burnout and raising overtime expenses? Adding to their workload can stretch your workforce to the extreme. Maybe you expect enough business this year to add another gunsmith or sales associate, or put someone on the cash register or social media work full time. Remember, adding employees doesn’t only impact you on the expense side. You should raise significant revenue with each new worker you put online.


March – Order Supplies

Organize the warehouse space and take inventory of consumable items like paper products and cleaning supplies. Give every piece of machinery in the gunsmith’s shop a good once-over and see what needs upgraded or repaired. Talk to your vendors about expected product availability, shipment delays and any specials for bulk purchases. Anticipate your needs based on last year’s usage and forecast your demand for 2024. Explore whether you can enter into agreements for bulk purchases with your friendly competitors.


April – Make Sure Your Technology Is Working

Check your accounting, routing or other computer software programs for updates. Clean up the customer database, adding and deleting contacts as needed. Assess your company smartphones and tablets for continued viability. If they are more than a few years old, consider replacement to speed up your workflow. Processor speeds and operating systems evolve rapidly in these hand-held devices, and older units can leave you standing awkwardly on the floor with a customer. It might not always feel like it, but you’re money ahead keeping technology equipment refreshed and ready to go.


May – Plan Community Involvement

In the days of social media, reputation building is a big deal. If your growth strategy doesn’t include donating your time and expertise in some way to civic service, it’s time to start thinking of ways you can pitch in. Call local festival organizers and see if there is a sponsorship opportunity. Choose a cause near and dear to your heart and partner with that charity on a project. It could be anything. Do your part for the community and then don’t be afraid to tell the world about it through your Facebook page or company website.


June – Perform Spot Checks

You trust your associates, sure. But don’t take for granted that they’re providing the best service possible every day. Shadow each crew member one day this month. You can choose whether or not to tell them in advance about the spot checks. Watch how they follow safety procedures. Make sure they leave a work site as clean as they found it. After the spot checks, sit down for a constructive meeting and share what you learned. Work hard to make it a positive experience — your people might not be thrilled with the idea, but it’s a win-win if customer service protocol is validated or improved in the process.


July – Review Equipment Maintenance

Equipment breakdowns are costly. Patches and Band-Aid solutions to keep gear and equipment running can present a looming safety hazard or a major inconvenience. Inspect your store’s departments on a staggered schedule, planning to look at the entire place over the course of a month. Address any issues you find immediately.


August – Review Marketing Plans

How about sending out a mailer to your customers to remind them about a sale or new stock? You could offer an August special for $10 off a full gun cleaning or service to keep the shop busy ahead of hunting season. This is also a good time to look back at early-season spikes in business and figure out how to better use advertising dollars, your website and social media marketing to even things out a little.


September – Trim Business Expenses

You’ve been focused on building revenue, but take a step back this month and try cutting business expenses. Look at how much you paid for supplies and ask vendors if there are ways to cut those costs. Review various insurance policies, from auto to business to health. Are those policies still the best value and compatible with your current needs? Compare your building rent or mortgage interest rate to see if there are ways to economize. Remember that spending efficiency — just like adding a few new customers — raises the bottom line.


October – Celebrate Successes With your Team

Your crew has busted their butts for your business. Now it’s time to show them you appreciate the effort. There are many ways to send a clear message that you value employees, from serving them burgers off the grill in the parking lot to giving everyone a paid day off when business starts to slow down. Actions are important, but you also need to tell them how they’ve helped support your business.


November – Review the Employee Benefits Package

You showed employees you care in October; now look at initiatives that will keep employees on your team for the long haul. Review the benefits package for your employees and compare it to what similar companies in your area are offering. Your local Chamber of Commerce can probably help you make the comparison. Do you offer paid vacations, flex scheduling, a retirement account or health and life insurance to your workers? If not, what steps could you take to add those benefits? Remember that employee retention is a huge issue, both because quality workers are as valuable as gold and finding new ones is expensive and time-consuming.


December – Give Thanks

Express gratitude to your customers for their loyalty, to your family for their patience, and to your community for providing a great place to live and work. The message can go out in many ways, from a holiday postcard to customers, to an ad in the local paper to give a shout-out to your neighbors.




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