New Year’s resolutions for small businesses

New Year's resolutions for small businesses

The new year is coming, and it's time to start thinking about resolutions. Small business owners aren't focused on traditional resolutions like getting in shape – they're preparing for 2013's challenges and applying the lessons they learned in 2012. The new year can be a highly successful time if owners establish clear goals for themselves and follow through.

Be active on social media
The Pew Internet and American Life Project recently estimated that 69 percent of all internet users have accounts on Facebook and Twitter. Businesses can quickly create pages and advertise to followers without developing expensive marketing campaigns.

The most important step to being successful on social networks is directing traffic to your profile. You can add Quick Response (QR) codes to your direct mail advertisements and promotional items to send consumers to your sites. Make sure your page is updated to increase the likelihood that your customers will follow your posts.

Interact with your customers
Inc. Magazine writes that owners should do their best to personally meet with their customers. Speaking directly to clients allows companies to find out what services were successful and what could be improved upon. Additionally, forming personal connections can reinforce business relationships and help increase customer retention.

To meet with your patrons, consider holding an event such as a promotional giveaway. Offering small gifts can motivate your customers to come to your establishment and can give you personal time with everyone. You can also offer additional gifts to clients who provide useful feedback.

Ask for more help
As a small business owner, you're your own best employee. Unfortunately, overburdening yourself with tasks can lead to disaster as you can't focus on handling individual responsibilities. You must find help and learn to delegate certain duties to your staffers.

Mashable points out that employees can handle many administrative tasks. Give your workers additional responsibilities and focus on the bigger picture. You should be developing new marketing strategies and improving company morale, which is impossible if you're stretching yourself too thin.

Create a mobile presence
Mobile devices are becoming increasingly popular. Smartphones and tablets are replacing PCs as consumers' favorite internet-capable devices. Businesses must optimize their websites and landing pages for mobile-use so customers can buy products and find information online.

You can develop your own apps in-house by using dedicated software to keep costs down as you increase your digital presence. If you aren't tech-savvy, you can delegate the task to an employee or outsource the job.

Appreciate your employees
Employees can grow frustrated if they feel that their efforts have gone unrecognized, which can prompt them to seek other employment opportunities. Small businesses must show their staffers that hard work is always appreciated.

Develop an employee recognition program and debut it shortly after New Year's Day. You can give workers personalized business gifts as rewards. If you offer and distribute monthly prizes, you can motivate the rest of your team to work harder so they can earn their own presents.

Dare to be different
Nerd Wallet writes that breaking from the routine is a popular business resolution. Instead of adhering to the same practices, trying a new system may lead companies into new markets and find new customers.

You don't have to take drastic measures – try something small and see if it leads to success. For instance, try giving promotional tote bags to all of your customers instead of plastic bags to increase brand recognition, or buy a mailing list for a different neighborhood and advertise beyond your local area.

Follow through
Sticking by your resolutions is the most important of success in the new year. Nothing changes if you don't put forth the necessary effort, so don't give up on your 2013 goals.

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