Firstly let me wish you a very happy New Year! I hope you managed to take some time to relax over the festive period and spend quality time with family and friends.
But now that the New Year is here I thought I’d outline some effective business tips to start 2013 more focused.
If you haven’t done so already, this is a great time to take a step back and set down some goals for the year ahead. Create a business plan. Often we’re told by business strategists that we must constantly review and evaluate this business plan. Of course we should, but often time constraints and day-to-day work gets in the way.
My guess is that if you’re a sole trader or small business owner you’re probably doing the majority of administration, sales, customer service, project management, social media, website updates, blog articles, monthly bookkeeping and more, pretty much by yourself. Obviously it’s at this point that I should highlight the excellent yet cost-effective support you can get from a Virtual Assistant, but I’m sure you’ve although thought of that as a New Year resolution!
However since it can sometimes be difficult to make time throughout the year to set down key strategies, most of us should be able to make that time at the beginning.
Here are some tips to help your business be where you want it to be in 2013:
1. What did you learn in 2012?
What did your business achieve in 2012? New clients? New customers? Increased revenue? Wider media coverage? Or perhaps your revenue dropped? Maybe you lost some customers or clients? Either way (or most like both ways) looking back at the achievements and failures your business had over the last 12 months will help you learn from it. You can then put that knowledge to good use. You may decide you need a marketing overhaul, or perhaps a change to your pricing structure, or new resource options. Whatever lessons 2012 has shown, use them to push further forward in 2013.
2. Are you staying on top of the latest trends?
As a business owner you’re likely to be offering a product or service in some way. But are you staying on top of the latest industry trends? The latest technology and / or software that’s needed? Your customers or clients need to know they are getting the biggest bang for their buck, so by reviewing your offering and looking at ways to improve it means you won’t slip behind the competition.
3. Have you had any recent feedback?
People like to shop around these days. They listen to other people before deciding if they want to do business with you or not. Whether you offer a service or sell a product, you need to find out from them what they like about your business, what they don’t like, what could be improved, and whether they’d recommend you. This is another great way to gain insights into areas of your business that may need some reform, so make sure you use their valuable feedback wisely. Oh and of course, that feedback can be used as testimonials for your website helping attain new business.
4. How’s your business plan looking?
Yes, we’re back to that business plan once more. I must admit it’s the one thing about being a business owner I dislike the most. It almost feels like a bit of a ball and chain around me, particularly if I look back on last years’ and don’t see as much progress made as I’d wanted! But love it or hate it, it’s part and parcel of business and really needs to be top of the list if you haven’t already done it.
The good news is that you’ve made it easier on yourself. You’ve already reflected on the past year and received some feedback from clients or customers, so you should already be seeing what’s needed to help grow your business in 2013. The plan is there to lay down set goals over the coming months and use it to measure against at the end of the year. And remember; review it, refer to it, and update it as much as you can throughout the year – this will help you remain focused and driven.
5. When’s the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back?
Sorry, what was that? OK, so you think you shouldn’t congratulate yourself on that new customer / client, or on hitting the last target you set, but you should. These successes, no matter how large or small, will keep you energised, will focus you, and will help you aim higher.
I wish you huge success with your business in 2013, and remember if one of your ‘light bulb’ moments was to improve your resource issues, then get in touch with me to discuss how I can help your business today.