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13 January Tasks for Your Retail To Do List


Breathe in, breathe out; the Christmas period is (nearly) behind you.

You don’t need us to tell you that December is the busiest time to be in retail — you’ve just lived through it, after all. And we hope you had a really successful holiday season. 

After the chaos of December, the quiet of January might be welcome, but we know it can also feel a bit disconcerting.

Take advantage of the January calm by tackling these 13 tasks; the things you’ve been putting off, the things you never get time for, and the things your future self will thank you for. 

1. Update your website

Out-of-date content, glitchy buttons, slow load speeds… you may become blind to your website’s shortcomings, but data shows your customers are more unforgiving than ever; a page load time of up to 5 seconds increases bounce rate probability by 90%.  

With the Christmas rush behind you, it’s time to gather up all those little issues and new ideas, and get the support to help put them right. Not only does January give you the mental space to get started on this, it’s one of the better months in terms of minimising the impact of any bugs and site downtime.

Oh, and don’t forget to update the year in your website footer! 


2. Crunch your finances

From unused subscriptions to unnegotiated supplier deals, make January the month you see off unnecessary expenditure, and set yourself up for a full-pocketed year ahead. 

It’s also the perfect time to dig into your numbers from the previous year. What made your business the most money, and how can you do more of it? What did you lose money on, and how can you minimise that this year?


3. Build up a content bank 

You can’t plan all your content upfront; it’s those in-the-moment, off-the-cuff posts and stories that keep your account authentic and accessible. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use January to get ahead. 

When we’re in a high-pressure period, social media quickly becomes a chore — or falls by the wayside altogether. Which is why we like to create a content bank of ‘evergreen’ captions that we can plug into gaps when we’re low on time or inspiration. 

This works best for those posts that need a meatier caption. It’s for fun facts about yourself or your team, reintroducing your business, spotlighting a brand or product you stock, those ‘21 things you didn’t know about X’ kind of posts. And if you know you have important events or launches down the line, you can make a start on comms for those too.  


4. Snap some new images

So you’ve got your captions ready — check. How about your images? When was the last time you snapped some new pictures of yourself, your team, or your business? 

Again, having a bunch of high quality images ready to whip out at a moment’s notice is such a quick win, and an easy way to breathe new life into your marketing materials and channels. Same goes for snippets of video content which you can use in future reels.



When was the last time you snapped some new photos of your business? Add this fun task to your January agenda


5. Carry out a stocktake

You should carry out a stocktake at least once a year, and what better month to tackle this than January? Shut up shop, pop a podcast on, and crack out that last box of mince pies. You’ve got this. 

📚 Bookmark this for later: How to Do a Stocktake


6. Make sure your insurance is up to date 

We don’t know about you, but for us, handling your insurance feels like pretty much the worst admin task that there is. But updating your insurance with any changes to your business is important for obvious reasons —  and we’ll bet it won’t be half as painful as you think. 

Consider things like: 

  • Has the number of people you employ changed? 
  • Do you have different/new equipment? 
  • Have your business premises changed? 
  • Do you sell a type of product you didn’t before, like food and drink? 

For the record, it’s best to update your insurance as soon as a change happens, rather than saving them up for January — but it’s a good time to check you’ve caught them all throughout the past year. 

And when your insurance is up for renewal, don’t forget to shop around and haggle for the best deal (refer back to point #2). It really is always worth it. 

📚 Bookmark this for later: Shop Insurance Explained: 8 Types of Retail Insurance


7. Check you have all the right licences

If we didn’t lose you at insurance, you might well be heading for the ‘X’ button right now. 

But checking you have the right licences is actually super easy if you’re based in the UK. You just need to head to the Licence Finder, where you can filter down by your business type and check what applies to your business now. Regulations are always changing, so make sure you don’t get left behind. 


8. Delegate everything you can

As the owner or manager of your retail business, your time is — from a business perspective — the most valuable. We’re willing to bet, though, that if you break down your day-to-day tasks, there are things on there that the ‘most valuable’ person shouldn’t be doing. 

Often, they’re there because you’re the only one who knows how to do them.

So let’s change that. Make January the month you delegate tasks to other people in your team, taking the time to train them to take them over for good. Even if you’re a one-person business, are there any recurring tasks you could batch together and outsource to a regular freelancer, or someone on UpWork? 

Make this the year you give yourself a bit of time back. That’s more time to work on the areas where you add the most value to your business, more time to spend with family, or more time to work your way through the leftover Quality Street — possibly all three. 


9. Prioritise teambuilding & training

What skills and knowledge would make your team better? Employees are more engaged when they feel like they’re learning and growing. So whether you want someone in your team to create your graphics, manage your social accounts, or to start serving up great coffee, January’s a great month for you all to upskill in valuable ways. 

Low on budget? Think about what you could teach each other, or just make the most of all the great free educational resources out there. Sometimes just setting the intention and time aside is the hardest part.


10. Do a deep clean 

As the old saying goes: ‘Tidy store, sell more’. Okay, we made that up — but it is grounded in some logic. 

Combine your January stock take with a proper clean, pulling out all the cabinets, and taking everything off the shelves. Next-level satisfaction and zen vibes, guaranteed. 


11. Try a new revenue channel

In our experience, some of today’s most successful independent retail businesses are going beyond the traditional retail revenue model

They’re diversifying what they offer, how they use their space, and how they make money. 

January is the perfect time to explore and plan for other opportunities. This looks different for every business, so get creative with this exercise and make it your own.

Some ways you could diversify your income are:

  1. Improving or expanding your ecommerce offering 
  2. Partnering with another local business
  3. Offering a new type of product, such as serving coffee 
  4. Renting your space out when you’re closed
  5. Hosting talks and events
  6. Running creative workshops
  7. Developing your own products or merchandise to sell 


Imagine if you successfully introduced a new revenue stream each year. In just five years, your shop would make money in at least five different ways — a much more defensible position if costs or conditions change in the future. 

📚 Bookmark for later: Store Spotlight: mlkwood store


12. Explore how AI can save you time

2023 will always be remembered as the year AI tools hit the mainstream. It might not be obvious right now how they can benefit your business, but with a little exploration, we’re sure you’ll find some handy uses for them. 

ChatGPT, and similar tools, can help with: 

  • Plans and scheduling
  • Data analysis
  • Content creation and ideation 

But any AI tool is only as good as the prompts it is given. If you’ve been on LinkedIn in the past year, you’ll know there’s an abundance of people falling over themselves to show you their top hacks. So set aside some time, and discover how AI tools can help make you and your team more efficient for the year ahead. 


13. Set your goals for the new year

January gets a bad rep, but we always find the promise of a new year to be a magical thing.

Don’t forget to carve out time to dream and plan in January, too. It’s so important to take a step back from your business and see what’s working, what’s not, and what you want to do next. 

And yes, this can (and should) look like granular revenue targets, with plans to hit them. But it’s also about setting goals that will bring you joy, and open you and your business to new, exciting opportunities. Remember why you started your business, and what serves you (and your customers). And dream big, always. 


Wrapping up

We hope this list has helped you reframe January in your mind as a time for creativity, planning, and getting ahead for the year. 

Get it right, and you’ll be refreshed and ready to approach the rest of the year without those to-do list lurkers, and with a clear vision of where you want to be this time next year. 

Now, go get started!


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