Carol Roth Blog
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.
 

Business Preparation Tips for 2017

 

The holiday season is in full swing and while your competitors are out drinking hot cocoa and decking the halls, your business should take this time to get a leg up on them in 2017. There are many things that your business should do, plan and get ready for the upcoming year ahead. So, in that spirit, we have asked the amazing CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs to share their best business preparation tips and advice. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.

You may notice similar ideas listed, but I kept them separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.

1. Purge for Success

How much clutter (spiritual, emotional and/or physical) have you accumulated over this past year or years? It's amazing how much clutter can negatively affect our time, energy and productivity levels, unless we purge what we no longer like, use or need, especially in our business. Purge records, clients, employees and systems that aren't helping you and/or your business grow in some positive way and you'll feel lighter, happier and more able to focus.
Thanks to: Alison Kero of ACK Organizing.

2. Clear and Compelling Future

1. Think about your business from tomorrow's perspective and describe it in vivid detail: the kind of value you are delivering for clients, the way you work, your customer experience, and the future state of your technology for starters.
2. Look back on today and figure out the smartest steps to move you toward your ideal future state.
3. Make it happen.
While this isn't easy work, it really IS this simple. Working from the future-back saves time, energy, and often yields better results.
Thanks to: Mike Wittenstein of Storyminers.

3. Be Creative in 2017

It is imperative to look at purchasing trends within each business, enhance the ones that are working, and come up with new ideas for products/promotions that did not bring desired results in 2016. Promotions that are new to your area work best, so be creative. Strive to be different and stand out in 2017.
Thanks to: Bobbie Asad of Mad Hatter.

4. Use the "Beginner's Mind"

The Zen concept that says approach any subject, even one you know intimately and at an advanced level, with the same open mind that a beginner would. Regarding business and the way our world seems to be changing literally by the minute, I think that will be the most successful approach for 2017. Stay open and be ready to change. Listen to different people in your life and learn as much about them as you can, and find out how your product or service can help them have a better life.
Thanks to: Jim Josselyn of School of Music and Drama.

5. Set Measurable Goals

One of the things I find that businesses do not do enough of, particularly small businesses, is setting measurable goals and then, creating a plan to achieve those goals. If you want to increase sales in 2017, by how much? 10%? 25%? 50%? Then, what is your step-by-step action plan for how you will increase sales by that amount? Keeping your fingers crossed is not a strategy that will grow your business. You need to set measurable goals and then, create a step-by-step plan to achieve those goals.
Thanks to: Peter Geisheker of The Geisheker Group, Inc.

6. Adapt to All Screen Sizes

A company's website is the most important front for business owners in most cases, if not all. As the screen sizes keep getting more and more fragmented, it is really important that your website offers easy navigation, looks good and retains a consistent and uniform design, no matter the size of the display used to view it. Mobile search's importance will continue to increase as we enter 2017. Therefore, mobile search optimization is crucial and should be implemented to ensure smooth sailing.
Thanks to: Srajan Mishra of TSI International.

7. Rock Your World in 2017

Prepare to rock your world next year by identifying the one aspect of your business you do best and love most. Then, rearrange your work load and everyone else's, so that you can spend as much time on that piece as possible.

But, you must ask yourself if you're the best person to be doing that task. Even if you're good at it and love it, someone else might be able to do it better, faster, smarter or cheaper.

That's the reality check of working on your business instead of working in it.
Thanks to: Phil Stella of Effective Training & Communication.

8. Mark You Calendar!

Right now, mark in your calendar a minimum of 30 minutes per week to work ON your business instead of always IN your business beginning this week. Planning happens when there is time to think, to reflect, and to review.

Failed execution, not getting the results, happens because there is little to no time devoted to planning. Remember the words of President Eisenhower, "Plans are worthless; planning is everything."
Thanks to: Leanne Hoagland-Smith of ADVANCED SYSTEMS.

9. Turn Dreams to Goals

A wise Mentor once told me to have "Big Harry Audacious Goals!" Reach for the stars & capture the moon if you do not quite get there. However, the key word is "goals". Goals are dreams that are written down & have an action plan, a step by step plan or at least a clear road map of how you plan to get from X to Y. Without that road map, all you have is a dream, which can fade & wither away at any time. Write down your goals & sign your name to them. Reach for your goals! Accountability pays off!
Thanks to: Ben Baker of Your Brand Marketing.

10. Success Happens Here

Begin with acknowledging yourself for what you've accomplished and who you've become this year.

It's easier to focus on what is next and what more you want to accomplish, but reflect on how far you've come in 2016.

Consider questions such as:
What business goals have you met?
What relationships have you formed?
How have you focused more on what matters?
Did you finish an important project or develop a product/program?
Have you gotten more support?
In what ways have you grown your biz?
Thanks to: Emily Kristofferson of Emily Kristofferson.

11. Bury Silver in the Back Yard

It's probable that 2017 will be a year of surprises. Start getting your financials in order. Create a plan to pay down debt if you've got any. Make sure your budget is realistic, and incorporate a regular financial review into your 2017 operating schedule. Oh, and build up your cash reserves. Social and political upheaval around the world in 2016 are going to make 2017 a year of uncertainty for business. Sound planning, cash reserves and a good self-care and relaxation plan will cushion things.
Thanks to: Karen Southall Watts of Karen Southall Watts.

12. Focus on Customer Reviews

Testimonials are out; customers know that you won't disclose negative opinions. Authentic reviews are "in".
8 out of 10 customers who buy online consult reviews before they buy. Reviews are gifts that keep on giving. A great review that got posted today will still sell products in a few years from now.

Additionally, customer reviews help in becoming innovative. They reveal what customers are looking for. Lastly, don't forget to study your competitors' product reviews too.
Thanks to: Gisela Hausmann of Amazon eCommerce expert.

13. 5 Tips to Rock 2017

1. Get Your Technology On
This isn't 1987, don't act like it.
2. Automate, Automate, Automate
Marketing automation and automating mind-numbing tasks can save tons of work and sanity.
3. Customer Service is Still Important
Your customers keep the lights on; treat them like it.
4. Differentiate from Competition
What makes you unique? No, we're not all winners, but we can provide a winning customer service experience.
5. Provide Value
Value is the ultimate reason why customers choose you.
Thanks to: Matt Dixon of Front Range Systems.

14. "Drain the Swamp" of Clutter

In planning for next year, it is a good practice to assess the organizations, email subscriptions, and other things which clutter your life and do not serve in moving you and your business towards achieving your goals. Thus, using President-elect Donald Trump's phrase "Drain the Swamp" in terms of decluttering and simplifying your life.
Thanks to: Laura Morales of Energize Your Outlook.

15. Trumped Up Strategic Plan

Every business must have 2 sets of strategic plans!
1. Where will my workers come from (deportation or not)?
2. How will I insure the health of my employees (Obamacare or not)?
3. How will I export my products (Trade laws)?
4. How will I import parts (tariffs or not)?
5. How can I profit from the building of the wall?
6. If taxes go down, how can I get people to buy my products with the extra money they have?
Thanks to: Andrew Greenberg of Speaking of Andy Greenberg.

16. Clear Your Clutter!

Clutter can be physical (messy files), mental (procrastinating), emotional (unexpressed feelings), spiritual (comparing yourself), energetic (space doesn't feel good) and you can also have clutter in your finances (not paying bills on time), relationships (unsupportive), health (junk food) and more. How can you move forward, plan and create what you desire if you have clutter? You can't. Commit to clearing your clutter in whatever area you can, so that you can begin 2017 with a clean slate.
Thanks to: Julie Coraccio of Reawaken Your Brilliance.

17. Set a Celebrity Level Goal

Make 2017 your best year yet by setting a goal that could elevate you to celebrity status in your industry. Really push yourself and imagine a new reality of success for yourself. Maybe you've been wanting to write a book, start a podcast, or land a high profile interview on a media platform. Make it a celebrity status level goal! Someone in your industry is the rock star- why not you?
Thanks to: Jen DeVore Richter of Rock My Image.

18. The Slow Death March of Apps

For the past six years, we've heard about the absolute necessity of having an app for your business to better-reach mobile users, but 2017 will officially start their decline. 2016's market saturation (average number of apps downloaded per user per month was less than one) coupled with the meteoric rise of browser-based frameworks will allow websites to do many of the things previously associated with their apps, like geo-locating and push notifications, to create a more seamless user experience.
Thanks to: Mike Catania of Promotion Code.

19. Plan Micro Networking Events

Micro networking events at local restaurants are an excellent way to meet potential business leads and share resources.

Businesses can prepare for 2017 by planning and leading these small events. Not only will this help your company stay active in the local business community, it will also position your company as a thought leader in your industry.

Don't forget to include those outside of your industry as well. You never know where you will find new business opportunities!
Thanks to: Sacha Ferrandi of Source Capital Funding, Inc.

20. Get Personal

The overwhelming change that we're seeing our successful clients adopt is personalized marketing. With the cost of decent CRM and marketing automation tools becoming more and more accessible, it's becoming a no-brainer. Tools like Hubspot, Marketo and Intercom are allowing businesses to cater to very specific customer needs at scale. And customers are increasingly demanding that kind of experience. Digital marketing is no longer impersonal and the smart money in 2017 knows that.
Thanks to: Dave Davis of Redfly Digital.

21. Better Business Blogging

In 2017, we suggest that businesses improve their blogging efforts by preparing their editorial calendars to cover content that is relevant to both their industry and their consumers. Keep your articles informative and focus on important keywords that people are searching for.

Promotional content is no longer popular, as users want to read actionable tips that they can leverage in their daily lives.
Thanks to: Evan Harris of SD Equity Partners.

22. Schedule Some Human Time

The year ends after retail season, which is all about two things: family/friends and selling your butt off. My most important tip for business owners and entrepreneurs is to make sure that you schedule some time to maintain your relationships and your sanity as a person and a friend. Don't ignore that human side of you.
Thanks to: Michael Noker of Anthrapologist.

23. Banking a Lunch

Take your bank manager to lunch and make sure that you treat him with great respect for the whole of 2017. You can even go so far as sending a Xmas present in 2016.
Thanks to: Jacob Singer of www.jacobashersinger.com/.

24. Zero in On Your SEO Now!

Because Google is doing silent, highly impactful updates - zeroing in on SEO is more important than ever. Staying on top of changes will keep your business #1 in search rankings by the time 2017 hits.
Thanks to: Niki Ellis of Voices.com.

25. Lead By Inspiring

Even in a normal inauguration year, leadership changes cause anxiety (and 2017 will be anything but normal). Your social followers, blog readers, and staff need a break from the negativity blowing up their feeds. Seize the opportunity to provide your people with inspiring, unifying messages relevant to your business— and theirs. You may land new brand advocates by being a helpful oasis in a sea of hard-selling self-promo. At a minimum, you won't be contributing to the panic so many are feeling.
Thanks to: Jason Myers of The Content Factory.

26. Focus On You for 2017

We have a new year, a new government and lots of things whirling around our world.

Our life continues and we can get a lot of things replaced, but not time.

If you are planning a family trip or a bucket list adventure, do your planning now and book it sooner, rather than later.

You usually have the option to cancel before 120 before the date of departure. If you can't be more certain than that, buy your travel and add travel protection that includes cancellation for any reason.
Thanks to: Mitch Krayton of Krayton Travel.

27. Simple, But Often Overlooked

Pay or prepay as many of your bills before the end of the year, so that they can be deducted in 2016.
Thanks to: Gary Bronga of Clipeze Worldwide, Inc.

28. Analog in a Digital Workplace

My biggest suggestion for business owners looking toward the future is to hold regular, in-person staff meetings. While remote working is becoming more and more popular and many employees telecommute full or part-time, having a once a week or even once a month meeting for employees who can attend is crucial, as in-person communication and collaboration can provide many valuable ideas and opportunities to boost your growth.
Thanks to: Jessi Carr of 365 Business Tips.

29. Social Media Strategy in 2017

Every one of us with a smartphone currently owns our own media company. At any time, we can show the world what’s going on around us, and our audience can share in our experiences.

Regardless of what social media platforms you use, adopt a culture of genuine, transparent behavior. This mindset will position you as an outlier in the most positive sense possible, and you’ll engender trust with your target audience. When developing your social media strategy, start with this word: authentic.
Thanks to: Spencer Smith of Spencer X Smith Consulting.

30. Plan Ahead By Cutting Down

One of the hardest things that we realize about holiday sales is that we often can't always predict what will be a hit and what will be a loss (especially for new businesses). The best thing to do is to pay attention now for what is selling and don't be afraid to cut out what doesn't. Put those non-selling items on clearance and get them out of your inventory, then work on reducing your skus for 2017. The best way to scale up is to scale down.
Thanks to: Kristen Fusaro-Pizzo of Bath, Body, Candle Moments.

31. Take Inventory!

A lot of my business’s success for 2017 will depend on what we are able to offer our customers when they want it. That starts with inventory. By looking at this year’s sales, I can gauge the products that resonated best with customers — and what didn’t do as well. Remember, it can be just as bad to order too much of a product as it is to run out of product that’s in high demand. Having shelves stocked with inventory that’s not moving is a loss.
Thanks to: Zondra Wilson of Blu Skin Care, LLC.

32. Augmented Reality, New Reality

Pokemon Go might have pulled augmented reality to the mainstream in 2016, but more businesses are going to follow its successful model in 2017. Vast processing improvements in mobile and laptop devices have ushered in a new era of Augmented/Virtual Reality that was previously reserved for high-powered desktops or clumsy accessories. Although app usage is in decline, the frameworks that enable Augmented Reality allow for such creativity that businesses are already preparing to jump on board.
Thanks to: Vince Russo of Keycode.

33. Retreat to Advance

Schedule an end-of-year retreat to take stock of your victories and losses for the past year. Get away from the office and make space to reflect and think. Finally, take ample time to formulate plans for going big in the new year!
Thanks to: Brandon Bruce of Cirrus Insight.

34. The Click-to-Call Boom

With all the ways we have to connect with one another today, it’s surprising that the phone is still the preferred method. Why? The growth of click-to-call, the ability to dial a business directly from mobile search. Most customers will come via mobile search using Google. Be sure and confirm your Google business information is current with a phone number connected to the profile, so potential customers can call directly from the call icon.
Thanks to: Jill Nelson of Ruby Receptionists.

35. 4 Keys to Succeed in 2017

Out with the old and in with the new! It's time to raise the BAR!
E-valuate what has worked and all that has not.
E-liminate activities that are time wasters and energy drainers.
E-levate your commitment level to excellence, efficiency and effectiveness.
E-ducate your circle of influence on the decision to ascend to higher dimensions.

Make execution of goals a top priority. Radical action produces radical results! Leap forward and live fearlessly focused.
Thanks to: Kristie Kennedy of KKEE,LLC.

36. Focus on the Big Picture

It's difficult to boil this down to a single tip, but at the top of my list would be this: You need to work towards working 'on' your business, not 'in' your business. And when you plan for 2017, you need to plan things from that perspective. Looking at the big picture and considering your businesses life cycle within your industry are keys to long-term growth.
Thanks to: Adam Connell of Velocity6 Media.

37. Equip, Empower, Encourage

Equip, empower and encourage your employees to perform at the highest potential and generously acknowledge and reward their achievements.
Thanks to: Mitch Carnell of --None--SPWC.

38. Yes, You Can Design That

Starting now, it should be all about designing - designing your paycheck, designing your client and designing how your business fits into your life - for the new year. Yes, you really can design every outcome that you want. Narrow and niche. Get good at breaking the big into the small. This will help to make your business successful truly by design and not by accident. The way to reach your goals is to engineer each one from the beginning and not just hope things work out.
Thanks to: Pamela Jeschonek of Design My Niche.

39. Cyber Risk Protection

I'd suggest businesses should review whether they need cyber insurance, as a large portion of businesses interact with customers and collect payment data online. And the potential risk is high -- the costs of data breaches are up to $154 per record on average. Additionally, the majority of businesses either don’t have coverage or only have a very limited coverage from another policy. So, take an hour, check out your policy, and see if you’d actually be protected in the case of an issue.
Thanks to: Maxime Rieman of CoverWallet.

40. Content is King

My one business tip for 2017 is something that has helped our business grow and is trending upward for 2017.

Content is King!! Strive to continuously create content that answers questions, solves problems or creates a need. Not sure where to start? What is the #1 burning question that your client has? That is the perfect place to kick off your content implementation. How customers learn about what your company offers, determines in large part how they feel about your product.
Thanks to: Emily Vaughn of Laguna Beach House.

41. Find the Loopholes

My #1 business tip for 2017 is to find the marketing channel that your competitors are neglecting and tap into that channel. Many hotels are using social media for marketing, mostly Facebook and Instagram. We are having success in showcasing our properties through snapchat. This untapped market is wide open. Many businesses overlook social media, because they feel they cannot be measured. Don't be silly! Younger crowds get 80% of their information from social media. Tap into that and see the rewards.
Thanks to: Amanda Basse of staySky Hotels & Resorts.

42. The Year of the Niche

Many businesses stretch themselves too thin by trying to cater to everyone. 2017 will be the year of the Niche. Be crystal clear about who you serve and serve them well. Stop trying to please everyone. Stop trying to serve everyone. Your product isn't for everyone and that is ok. Figure out who your perfect client is and go after them with all of your might. It's better to be an inch wide and a mild deep than a mile wide and an inch thick.
Thanks to: Alan David of Alan David Custom.

43. Avoid Penalties; Keep Profits

Don't miss compliance deadlines! Doing so can cost you big money. Here are some dates you need to know:

12/1/16: Updated overtime laws take effect. The White Collar Exemption increases to $47,476 annually and the Highly Compensated Employee threshold increases to $134,004.

12/31/16: Under ERISA, plan administrators must distribute CHIRPA and WHCRA notices.

1/1/2017: New Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) wellness regulations start.
Thanks to: Janet Tirado of PrimePay, LLC.

44. Start 2017 By Breathing...

Look it up: EMPLOYEE STRESS blocks productivity, vision, focus and health, which costs employers over $300 billion a year! If you start 2017 by addressing this issue directly, you are investing in your SELF and your people by boosting what counts most for you, for them personally — AND for your business. Experienced stress management coaching initiatives can improve individual and entrepreneurial team productivity, promote healthcare cost-savings, and stimulate sales — all at the same time!
Thanks to: Hal Alpiar of BUSINESSWORKS.US.

45. Streamline Your Processes

Spend any slow periods of the remainder of 2016 to streamline any processes that you repeatedly face. Take some time over the next few weeks to meticulously log any and all activities of you and your staff. Then, review the logs, searching for things that can be most easily automated, and then spend time building the new processes to streamline your efforts. It will allow you to free up staff time to accomplish more in the coming year.
Thanks to: John Turner of QuietKit.

46. Connect Through Livestream

My best tip for what businesses should do now in preparation for 2017 is to embrace ways to engage with their audience through livestream platforms, such as Facebook Live or Periscope. Live interaction will help business owners to adjust their strategy and identify the solutions that they will provide for customers in 2017 based on feedback/questions from the audience.
Thanks to: Ashley Hill of ALH Group LLC.

47. Up Your Social Media Game!

Businesses with millennial target demographics must prepare to effectively use tools such as Instagram stories and Snapchat. This is because 74% of adults use social networking sites and 53% of 18- to 34-year-olds use Instagram. Snapchat has 150 million daily active users. Strategically plan how you will showcase special events, such as flash deals. Both tools are perfect for limited time offers, or behind-the-scenes content before a product launch, because they erase content after 24-hours.
Thanks to: Alice Williams of Frontier Business Edge.

48. Mobile Friendly Isn't Enough

With more people going online on their mobile devices than desktop, having a mobile friendly site isn't enough.

You have to optimize your site, and your marketing as a whole, for mobile users.

If it makes sense for your business, having an app (preferably free) can give you a huge advantage over the competition. You want to make it as easy as possible for your target costumer to access your product/service.
Thanks to: Saeed Darabi of MoneyPantry.com.

49. Measure Your Progress!

Let numbers drive your decisions. Most set sales goals and monitor against that all year, but setting up a dashboard to monitor ALL specific, measurable actions that further the business will focus thought around “what is causing our successes or shortfalls and what actions should we take?” The goals can be sales-oriented (leads generated, sales calls made), marketing-focused (advertising impressions, traffic to the website) or manufacturing based (productivity measures, quality scores).
Thanks to: Rahna Barthelmess of Beacon Marketing.

50. Blaze a New Path

The New Year often means rebranding or revamping. Rebranding requires more than hard work. Your credibility is on the line every step of the way. Showing people why they should like and trust you goes beyond a name change. Leverage the existing brand equity and enhance that with new features, increased service and impeccable customer service. Take a walk in your customers' shoes. Call you service line, see how they handle the hard questions. Is that level of service to your standards?
Thanks to: Ryan Vaughn of www.thescottresort.com.

51. Room for Imagination to Roam

Most business owners will tell you that preparing a budget is their one best tip, but I like to take a higher arching approach. The best tip to prepare your business for the new calendar year is to visualize where you want your business to go and write a very informal timeline. My advice to business owners is to activate the right brain, use your imagination, and visualize what you want to happen in the new year. Once a vision is established, the budget can get hammered out.
Thanks to: Angela Zade of Nextrend.

52. Unify Your Team

Organize a company meeting. Right after the holidays is an optimal time to have everyone in the company meet in order to assess the past year and discuss areas in which the business can improve. This is not only an opportunity to motivate and inspire your employees for the upcoming year, but also a chance to receive their input and thank them for their hard work.
Thanks to: Bryan Robertson of Mindyra Healthcare.

53. Create an Editorial Calendar

Come up with 12 topics that you want to talk about next year, and then pick one per month, outlining your communications calendar. In January, it might have to do with the new year, perhaps in March about tax season. Maybe you're moving into a new office in June. Topics that don't tie into a time period are called "evergreen" stories - place those in the empty months. Use this editorial calendar to direct your blogs, newsletter, videos, and press pitches for the year.
Thanks to: Michelle Stansbury of Little Penguin PR.

54. Reverse Engineer Your Goals

Don’t Just Set Goals: Reverse Engineer Them

So, you are setting your goals for next year. Ask yourself - What is standing in the way of achieving my goals? What needs to be true for these things to happen?

You have heard of “working backwards”, yes? Use that same approach for goal setting.
Thanks to: Dacia Coffey of The Blender Marketing.

55. Plan to Succeed

Pre-plan some realistic goals for your team or the business as a whole, and then create a plan as to how you can achieve these goals. Planning for a 90 day period can help both you and your team to focus and settle back into their work on your return in the new year.
Thanks to: Anna O'Toole of Petplan New Zealand.

56. Storytime

Capture the cool stories. This is something most people neglect.

Capture the personal, heart-warming stories of your customers using your product or service to overcome a huge obstacle or achieve an awesome result that changed their life for the better.

For my resume-writing and career-coaching clients, I suggest that they note their accomplishments at least quarterly (best monthly). Then, when they update their resume, they'll have material to draw from.

Stories add color and connection.
Thanks to: Mike McRitchie of Critical Path Action.

57. Research Networking Events

Research networking events in your area for the upcoming year. Many cities have community groups and hold different events for business owners. This is an excellent chance to share ideas with other entrepreneurs and connect with people in your industry.
Thanks to: Bob Ellis of Bavarian Cuckoo Clocks.

58. Start Back Fresh

Clear your inbox before you finish up for the Christmas period. Task anything that needs to be followed up on your return and move all emails into applicable folders or delete if not needed. Returning from holidays can be overwhelming, so clearing your inbox before you leave ensures that you start your year off knowing that all work that needs to be followed up is tasked and new emails can then be worked through from oldest to newest sorting into priority order.
Thanks to: Anna Johnson of The Edge Prep.

59. Review What You Did Well

Before you even start to think about planning for your year ahead, you need to review the year that passed. If you do not have adequate data from the year to analyze your success, then you need to include this in your plan moving forward. Businesses often treat marketing as a separate entity from the rest of the business, but it needs to be considered in conjunction with the business plans as a whole. For example: when reviewing your workforce, analyze their commitment to the brand.
Thanks to: Gina Hutchings of Receptional.

60. Leverage Key Partnerships

Once you have finessed your overall business plan for the year, it’s important to keep an eye out for partnerships that will help to scale your business to the next level. Although you may have your own marketing strategy, these partnerships will only enhance your brand and the messaging that you are trying to get across to consumers.
Thanks to: Steven Bock of Swaponz.

61. Reduce Complexity

Reduce complexity for both customers and employees. Keep the focus on the core business areas that will align with corporate values and goals. Instead of being ‘good’ in a wide range of areas, be GREAT in the few areas that your company values the most.
Thanks to: Hugo Smoter of Spreadshirt.

62. Provide Informative Content

An online sphere is growing rapidly and it will only become more competitive in 2017. Businesses should be prepared to provide more value in terms of free content and information produced for their prospect clients. Hence, it's vital to ensure that their content marketing strategies are purposed to provide answers, as opposed to selling.
Thanks to: Dmytro Spilka of Solvid.

63. Conduct an Industry Analysis

Complete a thorough analysis of your industry. Study trends, look for changes in the market and examine what your competitors are doing. Write out a full report of your findings. This will help you stay ahead of the curve and allows you to fine-tune the future strategy of your company.
Thanks to: Sophie Knowles of PDF To Word Converter.

64. Invest in Long Term SEO

As we move into 2017, it will become even more critical for businesses to invest in SEO for their websites. As more companies advance into the digital marketing space, website ranking and visibility will become increasingly competitive. If you plan on reaching your audience through your newly developed website, make sure you invest the time and money into SEO as well. Do your research and select a company that employs “white hat” strategies, and your return on investment should be desirable.
Thanks to: Dan Roberge of Maintenance Care.

65. Love Them or Leave Them

It's always easier to grow business with existing clients than get new ones. But, now is the time to assess if you still love your clients or if it’s time to leave them. If you've been taking whatever business walked in the door, you may have customers you don’t want or are not well suited to your capabilities. Before you write year-end reports or focus on new efforts, take stock of your customer base. Identify the "problem" ones and design a strategy to ease them out for a happier 2017.
Thanks to: Cynthia Kay of Cynthia Kay & Company.

66. Grow Email Lists in 2017

Here are 9 steps to grow your email lists in 2017:

1. Determine demographics of ideal buyers
2. Research buyer behaviors
3. Use buyer personas
4. Get input regarding the personas' accuracy
5. Use a buyer's journey template to map how your buyer typically handles a problem or opportunity
6. Starting at the decision stage, consider an offer or interaction with your business best-suited to addressing the problem
7. Determine what offer makes sense
8. Make all offers available via landing pages
9. Send each subscriber the offer requested
Thanks to: Victor Clarke of Clarke, Inc.

67. The Return Receipt

As leaders plan new strategies and initiatives for 2017, they to need incorporate “return receipt” tactics, too. No matter how detailed the launch email, webcast or live presentation is, you need a feedback loop that ensures your people understand the what and why, and their role in it all. Successful execution includes a constant feedback loop— or return receipt process— one that takes time and effort, but proves its value by creating informed, engaged employees.
Thanks to: Jim Haudan of Root Inc.

68. Bitcoin Revolution for 2017

Bitcoin and similar technologies launched in 2009 and are now reaching a point of maturity where they will be used by mainstream companies. The primary area to watch for innovation in payments is developing economies with a lack of digital payment options. Steaming services are an example of who could benefit in 2017. Bitcoin based asset protocols offer companies the ability to tokenize elements of their business, while making use of the security and accessibility of the Bitcoin block chain.
Thanks to: Trevor Altpeter of Counterparty XCP.

69. Stop Tolerating "Stuff"

In business, as in life, we tolerate much without realizing it! Putting emotions aside, use your intellect to review your business, behaviors, reactions, environment, and staff. Ask yourself “what are you tolerating that’s stopping substantial business growth”? Take pen to paper and compile the answers. Pick 5 items to “zap” before year-end and keep on going. Make more time in 2017 by resolving 2016’s tolerations. Coaching concept developed by Thomas Leonard, founder of Coachville.
Thanks to: Maria Marsala of Elevating Your Business.

70. Streamline Your Business

Make your business more efficient and effective by upgrading the tools and software you use, or by implementing better processes. With technology improving daily, there are many activities and operations that can be automated or improved. Whether it be your accounting tools, communications software, project management tools or allocating clear roles for each team member, improving any of these can improve your bottom line by saving time, money and agony.
Thanks to: Shai Atanelov of Collection Licensing Services.

71. Don't Forget the Content!

As you plan for 2017, don't forget the content. Content marketing helps companies at all stages of the sales funnel. Press releases, blog posts, contributed articles, newsletters, videos, infographics, customer success stories and social media curation can all play a role. Keep in mind that it may be more cost-effective to bring in outside freelancers or consultants to help write or develop content. There's lots of great advice online about how to put together a content calendar, too.
Thanks to: Michelle Garrett of Garrett Public Relations.

72. Measure Your Team's Pulse

Ask your employees for their feedback. Recruiting and retaining talent is key for any business. One way to gauge the morale of your team as you prepare for the year ahead is by asking your employees for their input directly or through an anonymous survey.
Thanks to: Stephanie Butler of Spokane Realtor.

73. Virtual Reality Is Our Future!

Prepare for virtual reality advertising. Educate yourself on how to market your business for generation Z and millennials. Being in the limo industry, I always find out about apps, cool gadgets and ideas that my clients use. I think that business owners should understand VR (virtual reality) and start getting educated on how to integrate their businesses into virtual reality in order to ensure a first good impression for anything that's new and interactive.
Thanks to: Mike Reifeiss of Aall In Limo & Party Bus.

74. In Times of Change

The presidential shift in the U.S., with all its divisiveness and rhetoric, will be top of mind for your customers and employees as they start into 2017. Prep by ensuring that your own values are spelled out and shared amongst your team, and proudly worn to the outside. This will strengthen your business from the inside out, while fostering your tribe's sense of belonging in times of change and uncertainty.
Thanks to: Fabian Geyrhalter of FINIEN.

Do you know any business preparation tips that weren’t included? Please share your thoughts below. And as always, many thanks to everyone that contributed to this article!

And if you would like to become a part of the CarolRoth.com contributor network and find out about opportunities to contribute to future articles, sign up here: http://www.carolroth.com/carolroth-com-blog-contributor-sign-up/

Article written by
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and Host of Microsoft's Office Small Business Academy show. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a contributor to CNBC, as well as a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics. Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth
0 comments
 
  • Subscribe to Blog
  • Search