Happy New Year and welcome to 2016! Now what? Have you prepared a plan for the direction you want to take your small business this year? If not, why not? You make New Year’s Resolutions for yourself, so it’s time to make some for your business. Around our office, many of our office-space and virtual-office clients are making changes. We have some virtual office tenants that have been with us for years, who now want to rent office space with us primarily because it is the right time for their business.
You say that you want to join a gym and get in shape as a New Year’s resolution, but is your business in good shape? Maybe it is time to bring in a personal trainer for your small business. We call them ‘consultants.’ The first step is to identify what part of your business needs some help and then find the right consultant or specialist who can help you in that area. Here are some New Year’s resolutions to consider for your small business.
Consider under-performing staff members that are holding back your small business from growing or even from staying profitable. Stop holding onto people who are bad performers, poor office fits, create problems, or just don’t add to the bottom line of your small business. Ask yourself if that employee went on a month-long vacation, would the company suffer at all? If your other staff knows that too, then the answer is definitely “no.”
Maybe you have been holding off on making a new hire; someone who can bring new skills and new life to your small business. If you took the advice to clear out the poor performer that was not contributing to your bottom line, now you have the budget to hire someone to help your small business flourish and grow.
Stop chasing after prospects who are time wasters and do not have the capacity to buy your products or services. Too many small businesses spend a lot of time trying to sell to people who do not have the money to buy, or are just ‘tire kickers.’ Businesses waste a lot of time on these ‘Mr. Maybes’ and end up losing the potential customers they should be paying attention to. Weed out the tire kickers from the real buyers by determining the potential client’s budget, decision makers, and time frame for their purchases.
Plan to attend at least one major industry event. More importantly, be there for the event and not working on issues back at the office. Remember that a big part of success in business is to never stop learning. This also means learning from others who have faced or may be facing the same business challenges and issues as you are.
Review your website and make sure it is the best it can be. Consider your small business’s website as your digital storefront. You should treat it with as much care as you would a brick-and-mortar store location. Would you allow for errors in your store signage? So why tolerate them in your website content? Take a step back and maybe take another objective look at your existing website. Remind those you ask to look at your site to be honest and let you know if the calls to action in the copy would get them to contact you. When you look at your website, be objective and consider if you would make a purchase through it.
Having a great website may be good for your business, but are you getting found on the search engines and are you getting traffic from them. This might be the time to bring in an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) consultant to help you determine if you are using the right strategies. It used to be that your site only needed to be keyword rich, have the right meta data and incorporate other strategies that you could handle yourself. Today, with new search algorithms coming out monthly or even weekly, you really need to have an expert that will keep your business ranking high for your primary keywords.
Get your small business on social media; social media marketing isn’t going anywhere soon. Many companies are allocating more and more funds for marketing with Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Why? Because, if you are not active in that space, you could be missing out on opportunities that your competition is probably taking advantage of. While this is more true for companies who sell their products or services to consumers, their are a lot of businesses who sell to other businesses that are seeing the advantages of social media. Remember that your B2B customers are also consumers of social media for their personal connections.
If one of your New Year’s resolutions for your small business is to start a blog on your website, make sure that you keep up with it and update it frequently. Do not make your blog resolution like the one you would make when getting a gym membership (you know – the one you signed up for and stopped going to after the first month). Your small business blog is the easiest way to put fresh content on your website and provide a steady stream of new information to promote your products or services as part of your social media marketing. If you do not have time to write or do not possess the skills necessary to write engaging content, there are tons of article-writing services and freelancers you can turn to for help.