2019 has arrived! A new year provides a fresh opportunity to set goals that are geared to bring your small business to the next level. Setting some good, old-fashioned New Year’s resolutions is an excellent way to make concrete business plans and hold yourself accountable. Here are 5 New Year’s resolutions for small business owners that you might want to consider adding to your list to make 2019 your business’ best year yet.
1. Amp up your marketing efforts
Take a moment to think about your marketing efforts in 2018. Think about your email or text campaigns, social media accounts, and website. Are you happy with them? Is there more that could be done? Most small business owners would probably say yes. To increase your marketing efforts in the new year, start with small, achievable things and scale up as you see fit. You can:
- Send emails or texts on a more regular basis
The emails or texts could be information about specials sales or promotions, helpful tips based on your industry, or requests for reviews and referrals.
- Create a social media calendar and post more regularly
Choose your most successful channels and post more regularly on those. If you’ve historically posted once every 4 months, increase it to once a month. If you posted once a month, increase it to once a week. Whatever posting frequency you choose, just make sure it’s manageable.
- Monitor and respond to customer reviews and social media interactions
Staying on top of these interactions helps you build relationships with customers. Responding to comments and reviews takes some extra time, but it can help set you apart from your competitors and win you more business.
- Create or update your website
Upgrading your business from a Yelp or Facebook business page to an actual website can be extremely beneficial. A website adds a level of professionalism and provides customers with more information about your business. Perhaps you already have a website. Consider making some changes to it in the new year. Spend some time with Google Analytics and take a look at things like your overall site traffic, time spent on page, and click-through-rates, and make some small tweaks based on what you find. For example, if you notice that your contact page isn’t getting as much traffic as you might like, try adding more links to it from other pages on the site.
2. Get to know your customers
Make it a priority this year to get to know your customers, improve relationships, and build goodwill. Getting to know your customers means you can better serve them with more tailored products or services or even market to new customer groups. Some things you can do to get to gain a deeper understanding of your customers are:
- Send surveys
Surveys are a great way to find out if you’re meeting your customers’ needs. When you send surveys via text or email, offer an incentive for participating such as a coupon or discount code. And remember to keep it short. Aim for 3-4 questions with very few or no open-ended questions.
- Strike up in-person conversations
When customers visit your business, talk to them. It sounds simple, but it’s extremely beneficial. Meaningful conversations build relationships, which can make people more loyal to your business. Plus, customers can provide valuable business insight and give you ideas for new things to try in the future.
- Reach out and re-engage
If there are customers you haven’t interacted with in a while, reach out to them via email, phone, or text. When you re-engage your customers, it’s a reminder that you are always there for them. It builds goodwill and makes your relationship stronger.
Make sure any goals you set are realistic.
3. Set a goal for increasing sales
Everyone wants to grow their business. But the first step is setting clear and attainable goals for growth in the new year. That growth might be by a particular dollar amount or percentage and could include things like:
- Increasing total revenue (weekly, monthly, or quarterly)
- Increasing total sales (weekly, monthly, or quarterly)
- Having a higher average transaction value (weekly, monthly, or quarterly)
- Growing total number of customers (weekly, monthly, or quarterly)
- Or all of the above
Of course, the goals you set all depend on your business model and what makes sense for you. But, make sure any goals you set are realistic, have a clear plan for how to reach them, and define how you’ll know when they’re achieved.
Make the most of the time you have.
4. Be more productive and organized
One thing all small business owners lack is a surplus of time. So you have to be organized, efficient, and make the most of the time you have. A few easy things you can do to maximize your time include:
- Don’t procrastinate doing the little things
Complete small tasks in the moment before you forget about them entirely.
- Make to-do lists
Prioritize the tasks on the list and keep the number of tasks to an amount that you can realistically achieve.
- Organize your customer contact information
Organizing your customer contact information can help you improve business processes and customer communication.
- Take some small tasks off your plate
When you share tasks with others or automate them, it frees you up to tend to bigger things, like actually running your business.
Take time out of the day for yourself.
5. Make more time for yourself
Being a small business owner is not just 9-5, Monday-Friday job. However, it’s important to maintain a good work-life balance so you don’t burn yourself out. In the new year, make it a priority to take time out of the day for yourself. You’ll find yourself more refreshed and energized if you do things like:
- Care for yourself
Set aside time each day to do something you enjoy, even if it’s something as simple as leisurely having a cup of coffee. You may take these small things for granted, but continuously ignoring your body and mind’s needs even in small measures adds up to a lot of built-up damage. Being in a weakened state ultimately means you aren’t as capable of rocking the business side of your life, so it certainly pays to tend to yourself.
Delegate to others repetitive or administrative tasks that don’t require your expertise or skills to create more free time for yourself. Often those type of tasks pile up by the end of the day, and what happens? You end up spending too much of your evening doing them and losing that precious time that should be for your personal life.
- Set specific “business hours”
Set specific “business hours” each day when you respond to calls and emails, otherwise, you may find yourself spending your evenings still in work mode and not life mode.
- Separate personal business communications
Receiving business texts in your personal messages inbox during off-hours can often lure you into working when you shouldn’t be. Make more of an effort to separate personal and business communications by using tools like Sideline. Sideline allows you to have a 2nd phone number to use for business on your personal device. Sideline keeps all your business texts separate from your personal texts, so a Sideline message comes through after-hours, you know you can wait to check it until business hours. You can also set up hours-specific voicemails and use auto-reply to missed calls with Sideline, allowing you to unplug from your phone without dropping the ball on your customers.
Now that you are in the New Year’s resolution state of mind, grab a pen and paper and write down a few for your small business. 2019 is here. Now get out there and make it your best year yet!
Looking for more tips and tricks to help improve your business in the new year? You might like some of our other blog posts:
- 4 productivity tips for small business owners
- Getting customer reviews: Benefits and tips for small business owners
- Customer referral tips for small businesses
- 5 reasons every professional needs a 2nd phone number
- How to make your small business more responsive with Auto-Reply
Header Image: jacoblund via iStock