By Deborah Sweeney
We’re a couple weeks into 2014 and already I’m seeing different forms of progress on those New Year’s resolutions. Some were quickly given up on while others are off to a strong start, and then there are a few new resolutions even being thought up and made to this day (better late than never!). But something that holds true for all small business owners is that their goal is to make more money this year, which, really, should be an entrepreneur’s resolution every year.
Whether you’re off to a rocky or smooth start with the small business owner’s most popular resolution, here are three tips on how to get your business on the right financial track this year.
1. Up your customer service game.
Creating a positive environment for your customers (even via phone and email) is so important in building a strong, returning customer base. Happy customers equate to more customers and more customers means more money. Creating this positive environment is as easy as having real, genuine conversations with your customers. Sit down and have a chat with your customer service and sales teams and remind them of the importance of good conversation and always remaining kind and helpful. Don’t be afraid to share a little bit about yourself when talking to a customer. Maybe it turns out you both grew up in the same town? Chat a little bit about it! It’s all about creating a connection between your business and the customer. A customer will even drive a little further or pay a bit more if it means being treated well and like a “regular” at your establishment.
2. This is the year for social media!
This year, vow to not get sloppy or lazy with your social media outlets! Try and post a little something every work day without fail (twice a day wouldn’t kill ya either) and try to keep all of the content you post informative, creative, and funny. Work on adding a sense of humor into posts from time to time – it gives your customers a better look at the personality behind your business. How do you know what to put up and what to avoid? Just ask yourself before you post, “Would I want to click on this if it showed up on my home page?” If the answer is yes, post away!
Additionally, make it a priority to step up your blogging game too. Blogging is the next level of social media success. If you have your own blog, great! You can start reaching out and creating cross blogging relationships with potential site partners and seeing if they’d to swap blog posts with you once a month. You write something for their site, and they write something for yours. It doubles your audience, and you’re gaining another business relationship in the process.
If you don’t have your own blog, 2014 is the perfect time to create one. Start by posting tips and advice on areas you have extensive expertise in, highlights on your team members, and gradually expand to blogging about topical things going on in your industry.
3. Figure out what works for you (pay attention to ROI).
Make 2014 the year of experimentation for your business. Test new marketing techniques (a new press release outlet, or paid Facebook advertising); try selling a new product, or work on switching up employee positions and duties. Make sure everyone is aware that you’re in a trial period, and keep up the communication throughout said period – let your team know if the trial is worth pursuing or not at the end of the day and how much of a return on investment it’s turning out to be. ROI is all about not spending more on something than it will earn you back. But be careful with your spending money this year and make sure that the areas you’re testing out are also ones that you aren’t digging your business into a debt hole with. Set aside small time frames in the first couple of months to try out some new things, see if they work for you, and analyze whether to keep with it or not at the end of the trial run. If it works, it works and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t, but by keeping a scheduled plan in place you can ensure that you’re not pooling every resource you have into each new initiative.
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.