A New Year is a great opportunity to make a new start in your business. If you had a great year in 2012, congratulations and keep the momentum going! If you were thrilled to see 2012 go, now is the time to build a plan so that you can make 2013 the best year ever. As you consider your personal resolutions to run a marathon, lose weight or finally learn a foreign language, make sure that you consider the things you want to change about your small business, too. Here are a few ideas for New Year’s Resolutions for Your Small Business.
1) Organize Your Accounting Monthly. Do not be one of those business owners who scrambles at the beginning of every year to get 1099s issued and all of your accounting done so that you can get your taxes ready before the IRS’ March 15th deadline for business filings. Know your numbers by the 15th of every month so that you understand how much profit is in every sale.
2) Leverage Technology to Save Time and Money. Take classes to learn how to use your smartphone, tablet or laptop device. If small tasks make you crazy, there really is an app for that. Check out my 10 apps for busy small business owners post to get some ideas, and I would start with Dropbox.com, Evernote.com, and Expensify.com
3) Check Your Keywords. If you are using a content strategy to build your social media footprint, it is only as good as your keywords. They can change over time, so use WordTracker.com or Google’s keyword research tool to make sure you are up to date on your target customer’s search habits.
4) Update Your Marketing Plan. Develop your 30-day sales goals and then develop your marketing action steps to accomplish your goals. If you need twenty sales in a month, figure out how many phone calls, emails, blog posts, tweets, videos or Facebook messages you need to post to generate enough leads per week to close your required sales. It’s a lot easier to manage your business finances with this kind of sales and marketing plan.
5) Upgrade Your Customer Experience. Make your customers love to call you. Retrain your team in customer service procedures. Think of at least three ways to boost your customer experience. Can you shorten your shipping time? Upgrade your packaging? Add more freebies with upsell products? Or create a loyalty program? Do a few things.
6) Go Mobile NOW! There are a large number of adults who only access the internet from a smartphone. You need to make sure that your customers can find you online with a mobile device. Upgrade your website so that it is mobile ready which means simplify your website.
7) Look For Growth Opportunities. If you don’t grow your business, you could get left behind by a competitor. You should make sure that you stay on top of trend data in your industry. Did you notice a potential opportunity with your customers that you could leverage this year? Is it time to go international? Is there a new niche you should pursue?
8) Create a New Giveaway to Build Your Email List. Social media is great for brand awareness and lead generation, but email is still king to close a sale. Each year it’s best to create some new content that is helpful, juicy and shows you are invested in your target customer’s success. They will need to give you their email address to access things like a sample product, white paper, free audio download or webinar series.
9) Mind Your Data. Use your Google Analytics to learn more about your regular website visitors. What content do they share the most? How many pages do they click per visit? What is your bounce rate? What are your best traffic referral sources? Also look at the activity in your shopping cart and track conversions overtime. Then use the information to give your target clients more of what they want.
10) Try One New Thing in Social Media. If you have spent the last year or so dominating on one social media platform, it’s time to add one more site to your regular social media mix. Pinterest, Google+, BlogTalkRadio and YouTube are great options to consider.
Do you have any more resolutions that you are working on in your business for 2013?
Join me Thursday Jan 17th at 8pm ET for a live Q&A sponsored by @FedExOffice on Twitter about developing New Year’s resolutions for your small business. Use the hashtag #SMBresolutions and sign in to www.tweetchat.com to join in the conversation.
Disclosure: FedEx Office compensated me to write this post and participate as a small business expert during their Tweet Chat program. The ideas in this blog post are mine and not ideas or advice from FedEx Office.
About FedEx Office: FedEx Office, an operating company of FedEx Corp., has more than 1,800 stores and locations primarily in the U.S. and Canada, providing convenient access to printing and shipping expertise with reliable service. The company’s network features retail stores, centralized production centers, corporate on-site print centers, and on-site business centers at hotels, convention centers and universities. Services include copying and digital printing, professional finishing, document creation, direct mail, signs and graphics, computer rental, free Wi-Fi and corporate print solutions. In addition, the company offers FedEx Express and FedEx Ground shipping, Hold at FedEx Location, and packing services backed by the FedEx® Packing Pledge. InformationWeek 500 recognized FedEx Office® Print Online and FedEx Office® Print & Go solutions with the 2011 Most Innovative Products award. Products, services and hours vary by location. For more information, please visit www.fedex.com/office.
Melinda F. Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady is America’s #1 small business expert. As CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda educates entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies on subjects including small business start-up, business development and social media marketing to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. She writes a weekly column on social media for The New York Times. Forbes Magazine named her #1 woman for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She hosts #SmallBizChat Wednesdays on Twitter 8-9pm ET for emerging entrepreneurs. She also publishes a resource blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com. Melinda is also the bestselling author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works and the ebook: How To Become A Social Media Ninja; 101 Ways to Dominate Your Competition Online.