Can you believe it’s that time of the year again? We say goodbye to yet another year and get planning for a brand new 12 months of business, branding and hopefully growing.
Are these the things that your small business has on its New Year’s resolutions list?
Regardless of what you may already be planning for in the upcoming year…here are some things which should be on the list:
1. Be Mobile (and Web) Friendly
Mobile phones and technology is everywhere these days. That means that potential customers are mostly mobile. Majority of us take the time to do product (or service) research before purchasing, and as a small business you have to be ready to provide the best available brand experience before a potential customer even talks to someone from your organization.
What? How is that even possible? It is possible by:
- Utilizing SEO services to be easily found-able by potential customers
- Having a connection beyond promotion with targeted audience (social media engagement)
- Designing a website that is friendly across multiple devices (responsive design)
- Implementing interactive tools, information and/or web pages which are of value to the customer
When was the last time you’ve had an actual interaction with a customer online? If you have to stop and think about it, it has been far too long. Instead of just posting updates constantly, take the time to hear your customers out. Has there been a complaint? A positive review? Simple question about the business? Word of mouth recommendation?
Taking the time to genuinely listen and respond to these customer oriented interactions helps build a more personal connection with your audience. What is wrong with giving a freebie or public acknowledgment to a person who recommended your business to someone else? Absolutely nothing. As a matter of fact it should be encouraged organization-wide.
Now more than ever businesses have the ability to connect to customers on a highly personal level. Make sure you take advantage in the new year if you already have not done so.
3. Promote Less, Converse More
In tune with the point above; instead of sending a lot of updates and waiting for conversations to happen, take initiative and engage in conversations with your customers. Ask questions, join forums, find relevant blogs and take the time to read before you respond to a post. All of this will not only help you build a closer connection with the people who you are trying to reach, but will allow you to gain a better perspective of what they are looking for, what makes them tick, etc.
It shows that you are an active member of the community and are willingly putting in the effort to make a connection beyond just asking users to open their wallets. Here is a report summary outlined by Econsultancy illustrating why personal catering is a smart shift in online focus.
In case you need to determine the difference between promoting and engaging interactions feel free to check out our infographic outlining the difference between two types of communications.
4. Become More Efficient
How often do you get caught up in catching up on work or falling behind on goals? Probably far too often (as we all do). A major part of your businesses New Year’s resolutions should be to find ways to do work more efficiently. Whether that would involve introducing a CRM system, new machines or simply improving a menial task.
Automation solutions are infiltrating the small business workplace and can be very beneficial in streamlining certain business functions. While there are many automation systems for marketing, payroll, etc. they are not always the ultimate problem solver as portrayed. This is best outlined by a quote from Bill Gates:
The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.
Therefore implement efficient ways of operating (or working) your small business and any future investments will be just as efficient (or inefficient).
5. Learn Something New
Learning should never stop, regardless how many diploma’s or post-secondary education credentials you may hold. With such a rapid advancement of technology, business practices and communication
we all need to constantly learn how to get better.
Whether you decide to do official certifications or simply attend a webinar on a specific topic, make sure you find a list of learning tools that will help you discover something unknown in the new year.