At the start of a new year, we feel like we’ve got a blank page to make things better, whether that’s in our personal lives or professional. We’ve cleaned the slate from last year, and are ready to take on something new. But as a small business owner, it’s easy to be complacent. After all, if you did okay in 2012, there’s not a lot of motivation to put out more effort this year to do better. But if you truly want to grow your business, it’s time to consider what you’ll do differently this year.
If you created your New Year’s Resolutions for your small business, you may have already considered areas you want to focus on more heavily this year. But what else will change? What should change? Step back from your business and take an unbiased look at how you’re doing everything, and decide what might need a different approach.
Update Your Marketing
Consider your past approach for how to market your business. Are you on top of what’s working and what isn’t, or have you pretty much ignored results since you last tweaked your marketing strategy? You might be surprised to see how much you’re spending on, AdWords as an example, without netting results good enough to actually pay for the expense. And if you haven’t wanted to delve into learning how to use social media for business, now is the time. You’re already far behind the learning curve on this one, so if you don’t jump on the bandwagon now, it might be too late to learn how to use tools like Facebook, Twitter and Yelp effectively to keep up with the competition.
Other Areas of Operation
It’s also a good time to assess your expenses. There are likely areas you can reduce what you’re spending by cutting out unnecessary costs, choosing different providers or finding more cost-effective alternatives. This includes your staff as well. There may be positions better suited for freelance or contract work rather than paying full-time employees and the benefits that come with the position.
Also consider the technology you use in your office, both hardware and software. There are tons of productive options on the market, most of which are more affordable than ever. You may be able to do more while spending less if you update accounting software or computers, or move to cloud-based programs.
The Year for Change
Make 2012 the year you truly work to grow your business. Assess what you’ve done in the past and determine the best course of action to increase sales, reduce costs and become a more efficient company.
Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s written two books: 101 Entrepreneur Tips andInternet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and has blogged for several sites, including The Marketing Eggspert Blog, as well as Small Business Trends, CorpNet, and BizLaunch. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.