December 10, 2012 | By Celia
5 New Year's Resolutions for your BusinessPosted in: Marketing
We have officially reached the holiday craze with Christmas just weeks away. While your focus may be tied to holiday parties and wrapping up end of year projects, you should also take this time to reflect on the progress you have made in 2012 and plan for a prosperous 2013. We know you're busy chipping away at the remaining to-do list for this year, so we thought we'd lend a helping hand and offer some resolutions we think are important for you to implement next year. So sit back, sip a glass of eggnog and let us share some ideas with you!
1. Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Blogging)
If you haven't considered social media as a means to marketing your business, you should. It creates a cost-effective opportunity to authentically connect with current and prospective customers. Social media also presents opportunities to network with peers and vendors. Of course, social media isn't the end all be all to marketing, but it is an essential component to any successful marketing mix.
2. Hug a customer (metaphorically speaking)
Make sure to grow and nurture existing customer relationships. These days the biggest differentiator between you and your competitors is phenomenal customer service (yes, phenomenal - not just good). You can do this by face-to-face interaction, sending the occasional thank you card and by connecting with them on social networking sites (yep, this again). Do the unexpected, do what it takes to let your customers know you're listening and you value their time.
3. Get organized
As a small business owner or department manager, your time can be stretched amongst the multiple duties you're responsible for. But with the many project and time management tools out there that you can incorporate into your daily activities - both at work and at home - there's no reason to be overwhelmed. Plus, you can typically test drive these tools prior to signing up for a paid account.
Here is a brief list of tools we either currently have in practice at SUM or that we have tried in the past...yes we've tested quite a few, but still haven't stumbled upon that much needed cloning machine.
- Basecamp: Manage projects and collaborate with your team and clients.
- Highrise: Track your contacts, business leads and deals.
- Action Method: A productivity tool. Organize all your projects into their most basic elements.
- Sifter: A hosted bug and issue tracking application focused on making work less tedious.
- Evernote: Use Evernote to save your ideas, things you see, and things you like. Then find them all on any computer or device you use.
- Harvest: Track time, log expenses, invoice clients, keep track of account receivables and revenue.
- Google Calendar: Google's free online calendar lets you share your schedule with coworkers and family, you can also access the calendar from your phone and get text message reminders.
- Google Tasks: Add tasks, set due dates, get reminders and add notes. You can access tasks from your mobile phone as well.
4. Have goals, but be specific and make them measurable
Develop a written plan that outlines your sales goals and create tactics that will help you reach those goals. The most important aspect in goal setting is to create a strategy on how you're going to reach those goals. You also need to clearly list the tactics that will allow you to reach your goal (marketing, networking, customer service management). If you don't have time to achieve these goals on your own, don't be afraid to get help.
5. Market your business religiously and cohesively
Have a clear idea of when you are going to run sales promotions, send out e-newsletters, run print ads, form connections on social network sites and be consistent utilizing the same messaging and design. Cohesive and relentless efforts like this don't have to be expensive but they can still be effective.
Do your best to follow these simple steps to grow your business in 2013 and watch your bottom line improve. Again, we wish you a very happy holiday and a successful New Year!
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