When you think of New Year’s resolutions, you probably think about eating healthier, losing weight, getting in shape, or quitting smoking. These are all great resolutions, but they’re all also personal in nature. If you operate a small business, you should also make resolutions that will help you grow your business and achieve greater success than ever before. To help you get started on your list, here are 10 resolutions every small business should make.
1. Try new marketing strategies
Continual marketing is the key to sustained small business success, which is why you should continue to implement marketing strategies that have been proven to work for your business. You should also try new marketing strategies to find new ways to reach customers. Have you tried direct-mail postcards? How about large-format vinyl banners? Mobile marketing or PPC?
2. Measure results and track progress
Measuring your marketing results and tracking business goal progress is critical to success. I advocate setting very specific annual goals, then breaking those goals down into monthly, weekly and daily goals. Your daily goals will be further broken down into specific tasks needed to achieve them. If you complete those tasks every day, you will achieve you goals every day, week, month and year.
3. Go mobile
How is your mobile presence? Do you have a mobile website? An app? Do you engage in mobile marketing? More and more customers are relying exclusively on mobile devices to research buying decisions and make purchases. Go mobile or be left behind.
Every small business owner struggles to delegate. Remind yourself that you’re not the most important asset in your business, and empower employees and outsourced work to handle tasks you don’t need to be doing. Then, you can focus on your most important function: operating your business.
5. Improve the customer experience
Ask customers how you can provide a better experience, then follow through. The answer isn’t dropping prices; typically, it’s better customer service, a more convenient or easier purchasing process, friendly staff members, better products and services, or even an improved environment.
6. Engage in real business networking
Social media is great and should be part of your marketing plan. But nothing – I repeat, nothing – beats face-to-face business networking. Join groups or get involved in your community to meet more people, which will in turn increase interest in what you do.
7. Engage in good PR
Issue press releases, host newsworthy events, and operate charity drives. Long-term, good PR yields great results.
8. Learn something new
You may not have time to learn something new every day, but you can learn something new every month. Or, set a goal to acquire a new skill this year. Take small business marketing classes, or learn how to invest your money for the future.
9. Improve the employee experience
Ask your employees what would make their work lives better, then work to make your small business a highly desired place to work. You don’t have to increase wages, but offering recognition, rewarding with paid time off (even if it’s just a couple of hours early on Fridays), or celebrating professional and personal accomplishments can make all the difference. Other options include definitive career paths and training.
10. Plan “you” time
As a small business owner, you shoulder a ton of responsibility; but you also have to take time for yourself. Remember why you went in to business in the first place, be it time with friends and family, freedom, or empowerment, then plan time to take advantage of the perks that come with business ownership.