We all have our personal resolutions when the new year comes around: lose weight, exercise more, spend more time with friends and family. But what about your business?
Your business made it through another year, but there are definitely some areas you could improve upon to help drive sales and increase revenue. What better time than the new year to resolve to make those improvements?
You probably have your own ideas on what you could do to improve your business. But if you’re stumped, here are some New Year’s resolutions for entrepreneurs to get you going:
- Look backward. What worked during the past year, and what didn’t work? Can you lock down those things that didn’t work and attribute them to particular actions that you did or didn’t take? These are prime areas for improvement.
- Improve your website. Remember that website you threw up one evening to make sure you had an online presence? It could be so much more. Focus on content – write and edit your pages for the correct keywords that will make your pages appear in search results. Hire a designer to make the site sleek, professional and mobile friendly. If possible, invest in an e-commerce solution that will help sell your product online. At the very least, have a Contact Us page.
- Create a marketing plan. A what? Yes, you need a marketing plan. Read our series on how to create a marketing plan; it’s essential for increasing sales and growing your company.
- Act on your marketing plan. You may have a marketing plan already. When was the last time you looked at it or did anything listed on it? Turn that strategy into action items – whether it’s attending more trade shows, getting on social media, or advertising more.
- Go social. Speaking of social media…If you aren’t on social networks, you need to be. Which ones really depends on where your target audience frequents. At the very least, create a Facebook page and open a Twitter account. If you’re a B-to-B company, look at LinkedIn. Does your business have a lot of visual aspects to it (remodeling, design)? Consider Instagram or Pinterest.
- If you need help, hire it. Many entrepreneurs refuse to hire help, thinking it will only cut into their bottom line. But if you’re too busy to answer phone calls, you may need help in sales and customer support. Recognize your limitations and hire someone – even if it’s on a contract or temporary basis.
- Be proactive. Don’t let problems hit you first. Try to shore up the weak parts of your company; for instance, if you own a web hosting company, do you have disaster recovery procedures in place? If you’re in construction, is your insurance and bonding up to date? Are there any new laws or regulations that may affect your business? Be prepared for anything to happen.
- Don’t forget about your customers. You may be so busy trying to get new business that you forget about your existing customers. Reach out to them and see if everything is okay; you may get new business from someone.
- Look forward. What’s your strategy for the next year? Are you planning on expanding into new areas or new places? Is there a new product on the horizon? Never rest on your laurels. Always try to find a way to improve and expand on your existing product or services.
- Remember work-life balance. If you have a family, loved one or friends, make sure to carve out some time for them. Your business can take a back seat for a few hours a week. Doing this will clear your mind, lower stress and help you appreciate the little things in life. Life’s too short to go through it working the entire time. Enjoy yourself.