With 2012 well on its way, many business owners are looking to maximize their business potential this year. No matter what your business strategy might be, you’ll need the right tactical moves to achieve them. Keep afloat and ahead of the competition with these seven must-have tips to keeping the most popular business resolutions.
1. Staying Relevant – We’re in a state of constant flux. Everything’s changing, and it is likely that your industry is too. This holds even truer if you’re in a digital media-based business such as telecommunications, marketing, graphic design, advertising, publishing or e-commerce.
Do this by setting up relevant Google alerts, signing up for newsletters and RSS feeds to popular blogs and resource centers and keep an ear to the social media ground so you can gauge real-time chatter on the buzz, tips or opportunities. Above all, make this the year to use these channels to reach out to your core audience. Engage them in the channels you’re already frequenting and invite them to engage with you by showcasing your own authority and expertise through valuable blog posts.
2. Innovation Sells – Innovation is what will upgrade you from simply being relevant (which keeps you in business) to being essential (which makes you even more successful). Do this by forecasting industry trends, anticipating customer needs and even creating new needs customers didn’t know they had but now feel they can’t live without. Be better than your competition by fusing creativity into everything you do.
3. Managing the Social Media Monster – Speaking of social media…it’s one of the toughest challenges for businesses to keep up with. How often is often enough and how do you keep from it being the only thing you’re doing? How do you know if you’re doing it right? Thwart the hesitation by setting a daily social media routine. Hit up all your accounts first thing in the morning for a total of an hour. The only time you should be going back to it, without fail, is to answer any questions asked by a customer or to address a negative comment/complaint.
4. Meeting the Customer Next Door – The downside of new media marketing is that we tend to get lost in the mix and disconnected from the people around us. Remember that what makes social media such a successful marketing tool is that it interacts with the user directly. People still want interaction and to trust their time and money to those same people. So reach out to the local community by getting involved in events, fundraisers, farmers markets, fairs and even getting in on offering geography based discounts shared via Twitter, Foursquare and Groupon.
5. Do Less while Doing More – A common challenge among small business owners is that their limited time is inversely proportional to their mountain of things to get through. The only way you’re going to break through this challenge in 2012 is by giving up the reigns a little (small business owners are notorious control freaks). On the other hand, successful entrepreneurs know that they’re really the ring master and need to designate responsibilities to trained personnel. Spend some of this year securing and training a smart team that you can trust.
6. Strategize, Implement and Report – This cannot be stressed enough. Even though you’re not a Fortune 500 company, you should act like one. Start each quarter with listing objectives, methods of implementation and how you’ll be tracking your progress. Use the data to tweak your next quarter’s efforts.
7. Equip Yourself – No matter how good you are at your business or how wonderful your ideas are, you’re only going to get so far with outdated equipment. A part of being successful is equipping yourself with the right instruments. This is particularly true if you’re networking or dealing with clients often. Whether it’s a smart wardrobe, a rental car for the right occasion or a new computer – make sure that you’re not only functional but impressive.