It’s that time of the year again – the end. Celebrate your accomplishments, learn from your mistakes, and prepare your small business for the beginning (middle and end) of a successful 2012 year. Your small business needs to have it’s own set of New Year’s resolutions to guarantee success. Like your business plan (you do have one right?!), having resolutions for your small business will serve as a guide or a blue print for the things that need to be accomplished to keep your doors open in the year(s) to come.
Small Business Resolutions for 2012
- Say “Thank You”, often! ~ Take the time out to say “Thank You” to those that help you stay in business. Don’t wait until the end of the year to say “Thank You”, thank them along the way. Get creative and incorporate gratitude in your marketing campaign and watch your sales soar.
- Get found ~ Claim your business (free of charge) on Google Places, Yelp, Yahoo Local, Foursquare, Bing, Yellow Pages, Bizwiki, and Hello Atlanta. Just by claiming your business listing you increase your chances of being discovered. Customers can find you on their mobile phones and tablet devices as long as you have claimed your business listing. Be sure to include your business address, website, photos, special offers, and other details about your business in your listings. Additionally, the more (positive) reviews you have the better, so encourage satisfied customers to write a review about your business on the sites listed above. Hint, hint you may have to offer an incentive, again get creative.
- Go mobile ~ Make sure that your website is available on mobile web so that customers can locate you on their smart phones and tablet devices. Local SEO Atlanta Blog states, “when people conduct mobile searches, they are much closer to making a purchase than the traditional internet searchers are. In fact, mobile searchers are twice as likely to make a purchase.” How much revenue are you missing out on because customers can’t find your business while on the go?
- Get Social ~ Twitter, Facebook, and other popular social networks are not just for teens, they are free powerful marketing tools for small business owners (if used correctly and consistently). You don’t have to be on all networks, select the networks that will best accommodate your mission and be consistent.Consider hiring a social media consultant if you need help getting started. On the importance of small businesses leveraging social media, Brandi Starr, CEO of Atlanta-based Cassius Blue Consulting stated on MGN Radio, “Fifty percent of my client base has come from some social media connection.” Join the conversation and engage your customers otherwise some other small business will!
- Hire a Freelancer ~ Reduce your over all expenses by outsourcing work to professionals. Instead of having someone on staff you pay for projects as needed saving a ton of money.
- Invest in your future ~ Get a 401k plan for you and your key employees. Think your business is to small? Think again, Forbes contributor Stuart Robertson shares five reasons that your small business in not too small for a 401k and Moneycrashers.com shares best small business 401k plans. For all your hard work you should be sure to start a nest egg if you haven’t already. What are you waiting for?
- Get organized ~ Have a customer relationship management (CRM) in place to help your small business thrive. With a CRM in place you can effectively track sales, marketing, and business profitability. Future Simple offers a free (yes free!) CRM and sales tracking app for small businesses. Get organized there are no excuses!
- Start a blog and/or become a public speaker ~ Choose at least one of these to persue (if you choose both you’ll bring in more moolah!). Blogging or public speaking can establish you as a leader in your field (ching-ching!). Both of them put you in front of future and existing clients free of charge, heck you may get offered to do paid speeches if you’re really good. Public speaking also gives you the opportunity to network at all your area Chambers of Commerce, business networking clubs, and associations (free of charge). You speak, connect, move on (to the next networking group), and follow up. P.S. If you know you aren’t going to start a blog at least partner with bloggers that would be interested in spreading the word about your product or service to their audience. Being on somebody’s blog (that focuses on your target audience) is better than being on no one’s blog. The more you are talked about on the web, the easier you are to find to do business with. Still not convinced? Read Atlanta-based Zero-g Creative’s 6 reasons blogging is good for your business and Susan Payton’s 10 Ways Public Speaking Makes Money.
- Partner with a charitable cause ~ Find a cause to support that means something to you and your business. Show your customers that you care and they will likely support your business and your cause. This will also create (or keep going) positive buzz about your business. Need help getting started check out How to: Decide Which Charities Your Business Should Support and Growing Your Business Through Charitable Giving.
- What kind of business leader are you? ~ Discover your leadership style. By identifying your leadership qualities you can channel those unique qualities to run your business even better. Take the Globe Business Leadership Quiz and see what your StartUp Style happens to be.
- Be a match maker ~ Introduce people in your network to other people that they can do business with. By doing this you are strategically building your network while helping others along the way. Both parties will be very gracious for the introduction and they will want to reciprocate your good deed by continuing to do business with you and introducing you to future business opportunities.
- Take care of Yourself ~ Entrepreneurs wear so many different hats and fill so many shoes that sometimes we don’t properly take care of ourselves. Don’t be so concerned with your business that you miss out on the things that are truly important like good health and family time. Lithia Mineral Water, based in Lithia Springs, GA tweeted, “We worry most about money, time, and then our stomachs. How often do we worry about health? Answer: Only when we get sick.” Resolve to be healthy and family-oriented this year.
Incorporate these ideas into your small business marketing plan for 2012 and you’ll be sure to see a financial increase. What are your small business New Year’s Resolutions for 2012?
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