Today, kicks off the last three work weeks of the year. In addition to landing those key contracts and commitments and getting those holiday cards in the mail, it’s time to get your house in order in your small business. You want to be organized and ready to do business heading to the new year. As small business owners, we do not get lots of time off. It is important for us to prioritize tasks to manage all that we juggle on a daily basis.
In order to get things started off right in the New Year; I need to add a few more things to your to do list. Here are 12 Things To Do Before 2012:
1. Update Your Bio and Resume. As you head into the new year, take the time to reflect on your accomplishments this year. Have you won any awards? Got some media attention? Landed any new Fortune 500 clients? Launched any new lines of business? Any and all of these accomplishments should be reflected in your bio, resume and your social media profiles, especially on LinkedIn.
2. Create 2012 Folders. Create new files in your computer for all of the key files that you use on a regular basis ex: contracts 2012, coaching clients 2012, blog content 2012 etc. This is also a great time to start using dropbox.com to back up all of the files that you use in your business. Start using the cloud, so that you can share files and protect your business operations.
3. Update Your Pricing. If you haven’t raised your prices in over two years due to the recession, it’s time to revisit all of your costs and make sure that your are pricing to make a profit. You do not run a charity, and I know you do not want to be a glorified hobby, so make sure there is enough profit in every sale.
4. Update Your Website. In the new year make sure your website or blog has a new look. Even adding a new header graphic can make a big difference. Create new ways to engage your target customers. Add a new giveaway, checklist or coupon offer to your website. Make sure that you at least update the copyright signature to 2012.
5. Export Your Contacts. Make sure you have all of your contacts are backed-up. Export your contacts into spreadsheet from LinkedIn, Facebook and your CRM system.
6. Clean Out Your Inbox. Start 2012 fresh with no old emails. If you haven’t read it by now, it is simply not that important. And if you subscribed to anything you haven’t been reading take this opportunity to unsubscribe.
7. Get a New Professional Headshot. If you have changed your appearance in any way, you need a new head shot. Be sure to get it professionally done, the photo from your cellphone is not appropriate. Be sure to smile and look friendly. Ladies, be sure to get your makeup professionally done.
8. Collect Updated IRS Forms. Make sure you get up-to-date W-9 forms and/or W-4 on all freelance and full-time employees. The IRS requires that W-2 and 1099 forms be mailed by Jan 31, 2011 to all workers paid over $600 this calendar year.
9. Develop a 2012 Target Customer List. You should have a list target clients I want to have. Monthly, I check my list against my sales activities. Challenge yourself by putting some big fish on the list. It’s a great way to keep your sales processes going.
10. Update Your Personal Theme Song. For years I have used Golden by Jill Scott and I have decided to make a change in 2012, I’m now using For the Love of Money by the O’Jays. Be sure to pick a theme song that makes you feel good whenever you hear it. Have it handy so you can rock your theme music whenever you need to remind yourself why you started your business.
11. Develop Signature Content. If you are going to be using content to build a social media brand in 2012, you need to spend time to develop great multimedia content. It’s the best way to firmly establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Remember, that people learn from reading, watching and listening to helpful information. I created the Emerson Planning System and the Triple ROI of social media. What will your signature content be?
12. Determine How You Will Keep In Contact With Your List. The most valuable thing in your business is your potential and existing customer lists. You should plan how and when you will communicate with your target customers. Options include email, video posts, direct mail, phone calls, special offers/ coupons.
Do you have any more tips for tasks before 2012 for small business owners?
Melinda F. Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady is one of America’s leading small business experts. As a seasoned entrepreneur, professional speaker, and small business coach, she develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. 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. 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 bestseller author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works.