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Blue Monday needn’t be depressing

Supposedly the most depressing day of the year is the third Monday of January. That’s today by the way. Which is depressing in itself. It seems that low funds, low motivation, abandoned New Year’s resolutions, and the cold weather all get together in January to make one of the worst days of the year.

But what if we choose to believe the naysayers who say the day is simply a hoax? Writing for the Guardian, Dean Burnett points out that it’s impossible that a reliable set of external factors could cause an entire population to be depressed at the same time, every year. With this firmly in mind, we’ve decided to turn Blue Monday on its head and make today about being productive, rather than sad. Doing rather than depressing. We’ve listed three of the biggest business concerns along with how to deal with them, leaving 2016 looking pretty good by the end of the first month…

Finances

An unsurprising one to include, but still a source of worry to almost everyone, small business or not, as your bank balance is often a barometer for success. Unfortunately we don’t have a way to get out of paying taxes, or providing free money of any sort (so if that’s what you were looking for, we’re sorry to disappoint).

We do however have some simple suggestions that might help ease your worries. Relook at your monthly outgoings and overhead costs and see if there is anything you’re paying for that you don’t need. You’d be surprised at how often businesses are paying through the nose for subscriptions and charges they no longer have any use for. And remember to set aside budget for the unexpected – you never know when you’ll need it. Last of all, find out where you make the most sales and make your investments accordingly. For example, if most of your orders come in over the phone, think about reducing the amount you spend on banner advertising online.

Getting the right staff

Or even getting any staff. As a small business owner, it’s hard to know when to take the plunge and start employing others. And the worry doesn’t stop there, as there are often challenges in finding the right talent, at the right salary with the right knowledge.

To overcome this, make sure you identify all of the tasks that need doing and the type of skills needed to excel in the role. Invest in the interview process by clearly defining the position and potential development of the role, as well setting aside your own time to properly read through CVs and conduct interviews. Spending a few weeks finding the right person is well worth it if they stay with your company for a few years.

Keeping up with technology

Technology moves fast, and can be very expensive to keep up-to-date with. Stay away from costly upgrades of your entire system, and instead look to create a ‘pick and mix’ collection of the programmes that work for you. Make a list of everything you need from your tech and then match this up with a selection of programmes, apps and devices.

Use tools such as Office 365 to encourage remote working among your staff and keep everything you produce in the Cloud, rather than investing in new servers. Apps are free to update, so using tools such as Evernote and Whatsapp to communicate and record your information means you are constantly using the most up-to-date technology out there.

We hope that this has made your Blue Monday more positive, and provided you with all the information you need to make this year a success.

For free, impartial business tech help and advice, why not book a session with an O2 Guru? They’re available online, in store and over the phone.

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