With 2010 quickly coming to an end, I started thinking about New Year’s Resolutions and what business owners and entrepreneurs can resolve to do more of (or perhaps less of!) to be more successful in 2011.
In that spirit, I decided to call on my respected network of experts and entrepreneurs to find out their best pieces of “New Year’s Resolution” business advice. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.
You may notice some similar pieces of advice, but I kept the insights separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.
1. Don't Be Afraid to Reinvent!
Turn off the voice mail! In fact, if voice-mail is on during the day, you have not only failed your customers, but you've failed in that chance to make a good first impression. What does it cost to roll your phones over to a LIVE PERSON? The chance to succeed or fail. Not worth it you say? Try the experiment and see what a smile will bring you.
2. Let Go of the Lookie- Loos
Getting for new sales is expensive. Fill your funnel with people that will actually buy from you. Have you been working on prospects that no longer return your phone calls or emails? Cut them from your hot list and put them back into your marketing funnel to be contacted at a much later date. Only call on prospects where you know: a) the pain you solve for them b) their budget and c) who can make the buy decision.
3. Mompreneur & Time Management
I run my business out of my house and I have 3 kids, so distractions are constant. My New Year’s Resolution advice is to manage time better so that I can get business tasks done during the day and be more productive in general. I often get caught up on the computer, running errands and procrastination and then find myself scrambling to get work done. I want to put in place a very strict schedule to increase work productivity.
4. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify!
Your best resolution for your business is to think small! And by that I mean to find where you can simplify your business and administrative processes. Find opportunities to make less truly mean more for you - more time, more strategic planning, more networking, more getting out and getting your business known, more life for you and your loved ones. Find what it is you are still doing that you don't need to be. SIMPLIFY! Make it your 2011 cheer and watch you AND your business benefit!
5. Focus Your Time on Making $$
The number 1 area that you should improve in 2011 is to be wiser at how you spend your time. Stop doing busy work that does not generate income (checking email 25 times a day, playing on Twitter and Facebook) and focus your time on activities that generate income and growth for your company. This means delegating non-income producing work to other employees (or outsourced contractors) and focusing your time on activities that will grow your company--publicity, marketing, and sales.
6. Work ON Not IN Your Business!
Every entrepreneur needs to focus attention on the big picture of the business in order to successfully grow. During difficult economic times, the urge to get back in the business rather than work on the business is powerful. But thriving businesses are sustained when the owner drives the direction of the business with a delicate hand that allows for flexibility and transformation. Start the New Year off with a new passion for growth!
7. Create a 1 Page Strategic Plan
Spend 20 minutes (no more!) planning your year using the One Page Strategic Plan and look at it every single day. Put the plan somewhere you have to physically touch it each day. One client of mine puts it on the toilet lid and calls it her "can plan".
That one sheet of paper will keep you focused on the important things and away from the distractions.
You can get a completely free copy (no registration necessary) at the website.
8. Have to Get to Want To
Why did we all go into business for ourselves? To make more money, control our destiny and make our own decisions? Those are common answers however; most people have in mind a lot of other things such as travel, freedom and lifestyle. The business model that you use is the vehicle to many of the things that you want, but there is a necessary price or "Have To's” that religiously need to be committed to be successful. They are business basics, many of the things we push off that hold us back. Commit!
9. Resolve Not - Smile More
It doesn't help to have resolutions when you are stressed over keeping them. Instead, resolve to take a walk when stressed at work, rather than playing computer games. A quick walk will help you smile and people will think you're on top of your game!
What you can resolve to do is, get back to people when you say you will; follow up with people when a project is due; always keep your boss informed as to your progress on projects by emailing him/her, every day or two. And always say Thank You!
10. Cut Your "To Do" List in Half
Each year, we get side-tracked with unimportant tasks that keep us from doing our job—generating revenue. I recommend you reach for a pad of yellow Post-It notes. On 10 labels, print your revenue target for 2011. Now stick them all over your work area. Every time you look at any of those labels, ask yourself, "Is what I’m doing now directly contributing to the achievement of this goal?" If the answer is “No,” stop what you’re doing and start doing something that will drive sales.
11. Shift Your Brain...
For resolutions to occur, the goal -- the external measurement of change -- starts with an internal mindset shift. The economy has taken a toll on the best business owners, including myself. Be it resolved that the glass is once again, half full. To remind myself internally, I challenge business owners to join me in the "Attitude Cup Challenge". For the next 60 days, keep a cup or glass 1/2 full on your desk or near your sink. Each day, make sure it's 1/2 full! Let's be our change in 2011.
12. THE WHOLE CAN BE GREATER!
The whole of a business operation and an entire corporation can be greater than the sum of its component parts! For a business to be consistently successful in these tumultuous times, it must present VALUE to: customers; to its leaders; and to its staff! The traditional and narrowly defined view of "profit" must be replaced by "value!"
Interestingly enough, the inspection of any operation and its value would focus on SYNERGY, and said another way, that means (literally) "The Gestalt".
13. Hitting Singles Makes Success
Start-up businesses fail because their founders think about hitting home runs. On the contrary, success is almost guaranteed when you start to think about hitting a single every time you go to the plate. Use this methodology the next time you put together a marketing or finance campaign. Show your customers and investors why they should believe in you now and in the future. Customers and investors want to associate with winners, not losers.
14. Walk in Your Customers' Shoes
To increase sales, you need to know the customers you are targeting. Are they parents, in a certain field (ie. healthcare), etc.? Once you know this, then you need to think like them and find ways to relate to them. Customers will buy from you if they truly feel you care about them and want to make their lives easier with your product. Share your personal experiences with them and this will help them trust you, your brand and what you are selling. Remember -- 0 Customers = 0 Business!
It is so much more enjoyable purchasing goods or services from someone who smiles. Not the perpetual or phony smile, but a sincere "Happy-to-be-alive" smile that is often contagious. The point person or "front man/woman" is so important to the success of any business. I go to one local sandwich shop franchise and they all act like they are doing me a favor by selling me the sandwich. I have cut back on my visits to this shop dramatically because of the lack of smiles. Try it! It's painless.
16. Insanity is...
You know, doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
So, if doing what you did last year didn't give you the results you wanted, plan on doing something totally new and out of your box in 2011!!!!!!!!!!
More of the same is... well, more of the same. Both you and your company deserve better.
17. Belief Affects Behavior
The ONE best piece of New Year's Resolution advice I can give in connection to running a more successful business is, CHANGE YOUR THINKING. In psychology, professionals are given permission to infer the reasons why behaviors may occur based on a person telling them what their thought process was while they acted in a certain manner. If we don't change our thinking about the prosperous heights that our business can reach, then we are destined to repeat the same stagnating behaviors in 2011.
18. Be Present
Be 100 percent with your customer, client or patient. Concentrate like a laser on what she or he is saying. Resist any temptation for your attention to wander.
Mitch Carnell of SPWC
19. Tell Your Story, Don't Sell it
Instead of plowing all of your budget into advertising, work with a public relations pro to identify what's "sexy" and interesting about your business or product: your "story." Once you i.d. your story, use PR tactics to gain media and social networking buzz. One good "hit" in local news media may be worth more to you than a month of ads.
20. Advertise Daily
Put a car magnet on the doors and back of your automobile with the name and either phone or web address of your company on it. Car magnets are very affordable and you will be advertising every time you drive or park your car. It is a one-time, low cost way to advertise your company.
21. Get Over Your Fear of Growth
In my work with women entrepreneurs, I see a chronic, paralyzing fear of growth – of expanding beyond controlling everything yourself. What to do? Move through it and expand plan-fully and mindfully. Determine the areas that must grow - in resources, staff, product development, exposure, etc., and invest in what will generate the biggest bang for your buck. You can’t make the living you want if you don’t grow beyond doing everything yourself. Make this your year to grow!
22. I Promise to Integrate
I resolve to integrate my marketing in 2011 (other businesses should too).
I resolve to stop wasting my marketing budget on disconnected silos of media and will harness the power of integration where my marketing is a multiplication equation instead of simple addition. I resolve to read the accountability reports that integrated marketing yields in order to see which parts of my budget are effective and which should be moved.
Most importantly, I resolve to be the agent of change in 2011.
Happy New Year.
23. Motivate More Than Spectate
2011 looks to be better for the economy overall. Consumers however, still want action. They want to feel in control and desire to actively contribute. Whatever your business, offer active choices for consumer participation. Activity creates motion which is always better than a stagnant, spectator consumer. Active buyers result in higher sales and a deeper b2c relationship. Solid relationships lead to repeat and future business.
24. 4 Top Things to Do Before 2011
1. Develop an Editorial Calendar: Lay out a monthly content plan for yourself for 2011.
2. Give Your Blog a Facelift: Even adding a new header graphic can make a big difference.
3. Empty Your Email Inbox: Get rid of all old emails. And if there’s anything you haven’t read yet, just delete it. And better yet--- unsubscribe to it.
4. Get Yourself a Personal Theme Song: It’s important to have way to stay motivated. Pick a theme song that makes you feel good whenever you hear it.
25. Care Harder
In 2011, I'm resolving to "care harder." I love what I do and I want more people to see that. If you love what you do, you might try "caring harder."
Care harder about your customers.
Care harder about your products/services.
Care harder about yourself.
Care harder about how to make the world a better place.
26. Be Real, Be Confident
One of the issues that I find with New Year's resolutions is that people half-bake them and come up with very unrealistic goals (I will quadruple my income, I will lose 120 lbs, etc). What I find is that in your normal milestone setting, resolve to hit a certain milestone. That way, you are not overwhelming yourself with something that may take two New Year's resolutions to accomplish. My advice is to have a plan and decide which section(s) to tackle for 2011.
27. Start Paying for Things
It's easy to ride the bandwagon of SEO and PR for a while, especially while your business is new and those channels are successful. But your business will need a boost when those channels start to plateau and you need to get more creative with your marketing, so my resolution is to start paying for more marketing efforts to increase our revenues and our overall effectiveness as a company. 2011 will be an interesting year.
28. "SPARE CHANGE"
A New Year/New Day begins whenever we decide to embrace CHANGE. The moment we decide to do better, we are better. My best New Year's Resolution advice is to encourage you to make the necessary CHANGES for your success the moment you realize you need to - this means CHANGE may happen in any moment or any month. I urge you not to wait for a calendar day - CHANGE when you sense the need!
Have a Prosperous and Happy New Year!
29. SMART Goals
Make SMART Goals:
S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Attainable
R - Reasonable
T - Trackable
30. Resolve to Be Ready in 2011
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, more than half of companies that experience disaster shut down within two years, which is why GEMA's Ready Georgia campaign is encouraging business owners to "resolve to get ready in 2011" by creating a contingency plan. Ready Georgia offers small and mid-sized businesses a free, downloadable plan that takes the guesswork out of getting prepared. Should flood, fire, ice or disease affect your company, the hope is you will know how to stay in business.
31. Recruit & Retain Top Talent
For a successful 2011, businesses should resolve to do hiring and retention of top employees better. As the economy improves, many top performers will be looking to jump ship. Additionally, as hiring budgets slowly unfreeze, it will be imperative that businesses hire smartly and cost-effectively. Follow key players in the social media realm and hook up with a top recruitment marketing agency to ensure you have both areas covered for a successful 2011!
32. Got Goal?
Ask yourself this question on or around January 1st. “How do I make my business goals a living, breathing, dynamic part of my day and week?” Take a stack of 4x6 blank index cards. On five cards write five personal values in BIG LETTERS. On five cards, write five business goals. On the back, write the reasons for the goal. Place these cards in something meaningful. Add ONE thing to your daily routine. Read your cards. Once you embody your values and business goals, you can accomplish them.
33. Don't Be Afraid to Ask
It is so easy to get into "sales mode" that actually stopping and asking if there is something a potential customer wants that I don't have often gets forgotten. My resolution is to ask what I don't have that they would want to buy if I had it. Even if I don't sell something, at least I understand better what customers might want that I have been missing.
34. Bye-Bye Boring Missions!
Bye-Bye Boring Corporate Mission Statements, it's time for the Company Vision Board! Many company missions are too dry and boring to fire up team members.
Why do employees show up every day? Team members can benefit from identifying that personal goal or dream that his/her paycheck will eventually lead to.
Imagine a wall of pictures in the lobby of a building, a mural of personal goals and dreams, empowering the team daily, and attracting the interest and support of clients and visitors.
35. Check Your Positivity Ratio!
Research has found that the highest performing work terms, marriages and relationships all have at least five positive interactions/comments to one negative, so track the positivity ratio in your professional environment. Why does it matter so much? When you are under 3:1, work teams and offices devolve into low morale, little creativity and weak relationships, while being at 5:1 or above ensures superior performance, higher profits, good worker health, better solutions, and superior outcomes.
36. Go For It
My 2011 advice for your business (and mine) is the acronym for "GO FOR IT":
Gear up for success.
Offer your wisdom and knowledge.
Focus on what you do best.
Own your brand with integrity.
Relationship wins out.
Take a good vacation!
37. Are You Thinking Big Enough?
I'm always amazed at how many entrepreneurs don't have a business, marketing or action plan! Don't let this be you.
Have a plan. Set goals and make sure everything is in writing. Don't just keep it in your head.
Find an accountability partner to help you stay on track. It can be anyone as long as they are supportive and don't judge.
Know what you want, know what you need to do, and know where you're going! Think Big! Make a decision and stick to it.
38. Become a Visionary
In the New Year, pledge to surround yourself with people who are open minded, work toward the greater good, and are willing to help and support you. This principle applies to both social media and in-person networking. At the same time, find ways to reciprocate and possibly collaborate on projects. Be selective to hold and work toward the same vision to enjoy the best results. In sales, this is called a win-win - where everyone feels good about working together, as well as the outcome!
39. Be True to Your Goals
Start the New Year right! Take a look at last year's goals. Were they met? Were they realistic? What can be learned from the year - now - when you sit down and write your goals for the upcoming year - you'll have a better grasp of what you can truly live up to. Be sure to add a bit of 'stretch' so you are always improving - but really make an effort to learn from the past, so that going forward - you can realize SUCCESS.
40. 3 months, 3 goals
I do short term goal setting every 90 days and have found this business habit to be extremely effective. And, I only set 3 goals per quarter. I used to make a long list of 1, 5, 10 year goals. But what I want for my life and business changes as I grow and as new, unexpected opportunities appear. 3 goals in 3 months is realistic; I'm proud and energized by my progress, instead of discouraged from making minimal progress on a long, unrealistic list of goals.
41. Clear Measurable Objectives
Every year in January, I write down clear measurable objectives that I have for my business in the coming year. The goals should be a reach for you to accomplish and you should tell several people about your objective. Set a reminder in your calendar for every 3 months, reminding you of how much time you have left to complete your objectives. You'll be surprised at what you can accomplish in a year with focus and determination.
42. Sell Less, Relate More
2011 is about creating a genuine customer experience and staying involved in the customer conversation. Make a list of everything that impacts your customer experience - from the parking lot to the contract. Determine what memory you are creating for your customer in every interaction. Creating a memorable customer experience only lasts as long as they are thinking about you, so you need a system for staying in touch. Ping them with an experience even when they aren't in your store.
43. Make the Ones You Can Keep!
Almost all of us make the weight loss resolution & even join the gym or hire a trainer, but everyone knows what happens in the fifth week (sometime as early as third week)... simply because it's more commitment & effort with little instant results. So, the best resolutions you can make are the ones that are easy to be included in your work & life. Start with small changes; let's say you're an author, how about making a resolution to write a weekly blog versus writing a book in the new year!
44. Spend on Relationships
Instead of spending on tons of marketing materials to customers you have no relationship with, send or give something valuable and tangible to those who have supported your business all year! Invite them to the company Christmas function or a social function with food and drinks; send a valuable gift card in the amount of shipping costs spent with your company or whatever miscellaneous cost that they incurred to support you.
45. Stoking Your Client Pipeline
As a small business owner, your primary goal must be to build your client pipeline.
Consider these simple tactics:
- Offer free information – Demonstrate both your interest and expertise (provide articles, whitepapers, and case studies).
- Become a trusted source for referrals.
When it comes to building long term relationships, few things are better than helpful information provided out of a genuine concern for the other person.
46. Plan a Year in Advance
Plan your marketing budget each month in advance for 2011. If you plan ahead and leave a cushion, you won't run out of funds in December or if a great new opportunity arises.
47. Resolution Rear-View Mirror
The most important thing you can do to prepare for a successful 2011 is to take one last look back at 2010. See if there are any final lessons to be learned, experiences to grow from--what you want to pull forward into the New Year and what you want to leave behind. Once that review is complete, let go of 2010, no matter how tough or successful. Do what you can to learn from 2010 and then make 2011 the best year possible--personally and professionally.
48. Be Quick & Responsive
In today's world of social media and "fast-food" style of shopping, customers and visitors want to receive the best customer service. Caring for your customers, as well as quick and attentive customer service, will be crucial in order to succeed in 2011. People want information fast and if you don't provide it, then they will move onto your competitor.
Interact with your customers, share some knowledge, and care for them. Surely, you will win their hearts.
49. Fast Track your Career!
Fast Track your Career in the New Year!
1 This January, ask your team to bring photos of themselves enjoying their lives outside of work. Create a team board with these photos and sit back while everyone shares about what charges them up outside the office.
2 Take on the task of cutting off cell phone use in meetings.
3 Ditch "Individual Ways" - Join the Team!
50. Embrace Your Imperfectionista
My one suggestion for a business resolution for the New Year...embrace your inner imperfectionista! Allow yourself to make mistakes and *gasp* to even allow those mistakes to go public. I assure you, you won't lose customers and clients. You won't offend anyone. But you will discover two things: 1) you'll get SO much more done because you won't be wasting time & energy on being perfect and 2) you'll be less stressed. And your clients will respect you for being more like them...not perfect!
51. Entrepreneurial Success 2011
It sounds like the same old, same old, but nothing compares with prioritization. You must decide your goals of course, but once you have them in your sight, you must divide your projects up by A, B, C priorities and then break them down further on the tasks to do weekly and daily to make them happen. It will keep you on track and thereby successful.
52. Plan, Don't Wish
Put those goals down on paper and write out your plan to attain them. Anything not in writing doesn't happen! Use bullet points and keep it short, but write them down!
53. Have your BEST Year yet!
See your vision.
Set your goals.
Make the Plan.
And resolve to WORK THE PLAN.
Have a Great Year as Your Vision Unfolds! 🙂
Happy New Year Everyone!
54. Do Best What They Want Most
Everything is changing, your customers included. For 2011, it makes sense to reacquaint yourself with what your customers want most. Ask them. Then, make sure your business does best what your customers want most.
Start by crafting a Reason for Being: It's a one-sentence expression of what you exist to do, for whom, and how you deliver value. A Reason for Being forces you to focus on your customers. Design your operation to deliver more of what they want--and you'll thrive in 2011.
55. The Only Thing You MUST Know
Focus on your customer. Before you start anything, ask yourself “Is this good for my customers/clients?”
Successful businesses have a hard-core passion for meeting customer needs and bringing real, tangible value to the marketplace. They know from the C-suites all the way down, they are in the business of customer service- no matter the brand, no matter the market. Constantly give your customers reasons to stay and continue spending with you.
Eliminate the useless and only focus on what is meaningful and productive, or explorations that expand possibilities.
57. Work Smarter
Before I think about going to any business networking, conferences, lectures, or workshop events, I try to find out if my target market is going to be there i.e. the speakers, topics that relate to my industry etc. This strategy has worked well for my company. Do your homework work before running from event to event; work smarter not harder.
58. Tell Yourself the Truth
Whenever you need to make a decision about spending time or money on a business effort, tell yourself the truth about why you want to do it, what it will really cost, how much time it will actually take and what the outcome is honestly likely to be. When we rationalize to ourselves, we do not use the actual data to make the decision.
59. New Year's Business Advice
Diversify your company from the top down for success because people are no longer listening to traditional white management. When you add minorities at every level, you will see more ideas, advice and opinions that improve your company & then you will sell to a more diverse group of people!
If you choose not to diversify, people will see you as an outdated company with a prejudice & narrow outlook on life & business- then you will sell to less people. (Change with the times or be left behind.)
Get your (business) affairs in order. Make a list of assets, debts, bank accounts, credit cards, the name and telephone of your insurance agent, attorney and accountant. If you are called away, things will be organized so that the business can run during your absence. You will also need a power of attorney to transfer the decision making authority.
61. Entrepreneur's 2011 Resolution
TO HAVE A FRIEND, BE A FRIEND
As entrepreneurs, we are all frantically trying to get the word out about our product/service/talents through the power of social media. But, do we think enough about what other worthy ventures we can support by taking the time to promote someone else?
In 2011, resolve to spend just five minutes each day to applaud the efforts and accomplishments of a friend, colleague, or company trying to make the world a better place.
62. Bring Da Noise
Most small businesses are too shy, too quiet. My advice is to make 2011 the year you commit to standing out from the crowd, making some noise, and getting noticed. This can take many forms, from running an unusual promotion, to publicly taking a stand on a controversial topic, to throwing a series of audacious events, parties, or other fetes. This is Marketing 101-- to be remembered takes repetition, but it also takes volume-- so turn the dial up to 11 and be heard!
63. Control the Purse Strings
Commit to strict accounts receivable practices. Establish a credit limit for each account and enforce it. Process ALL invoices immediately; take action on late accounts right away. Start with a polite but firm personal call and don't get off the phone without a commitment for payment by the end of the next business day. A few days improvement in collections will substantially increase your cash flow. Take your accounts receivable seriously. Protect your business, yourself and the ones you love.
64. Be On the Edge in 2011
Being on the edge doesn't sound right for a successful motto. But when you think about it, that's when we succeed the most. When we are on the cutting edge of marketing, education, products, styles, you name it, we are where our customers are. Being on the edge is not comfortable because it is always new and changing. But if you're there consistently, you will thrive.
65. Think Customer First
There are 'millions' of wonderful business resolutions that one can make. However, putting the customer or client first has to be at the top of the list. Everything we do should be for the client. If it makes the customer experience better - our bottom line will grow. Happy customers tell their friends and associates. Referrals are the most cost effective way to grow a business. And here is a great statistic: It costs 5 times as much to find a new customer as it costs to keep an old one...
66. First, Give Up All Hope
If you're hoping for success, then you already know you're banking on things outside your control. AND you're building in great excuses for selling out on yourself.
To achieve your resolution, you must develop a strategy to leverage the resources and skills available to you. Focus this strategy on filling a current or emerging market demand through expression of your business' unique brilliance and your passion.
This will keep you energized, while providing true value to the market.
67. Goals are the Name of the Game
1. Determine the goals to meet for 2011
2. Plan out how to achieve those goals, be specific
3. Plan deadlines for those goals
4. Mark out times on a calendar when you are not available, and list your deadlines week by week
5. Get an accountability partner to stay on track
6. Do not forget to take a break once in a while to not lose your goal progression
68. 2011 - The Power of 7 Hours
What I've come to realize in 2010 is that there is so much to do, if one spreads his/her time across all of it, nothing gets completed. So, chunking and focusing is going to be my New Year's Resolution for 2011. Get one idea done from concept to finish before moving on to the next. It's amazing how much can be achieved by staying FOCUSED -- even in 1 hour a day consistently! One FOCUSED hour a day will get your idea done and completed in one week or 7 hours!
69. 2011 for Homerun Business Sale
Keep your eyes open for extraordinary business value opportunity, with respect to possible sale of your business, as the economy begins to recover. Demographics indicate a huge boom in likely counts of company sellers over the next decade. The smartest, fastest and most alert sellers will achieve the highest prices in sale of their companies. Remain alert, nurture competition, and use the momentum of upward trends hit the grand slam home-run of a lifetime!
70. What's Your Money Mindset?
Improve your money mindset for the New Year. If you have any negative thoughts toward money hidden in your subconscious, you could be sabotaging your own business success. Your subconscious controls your spending habits, your saving habits, and your productivity at work - which can hurt your profits. Take a few minutes each day to remove negative thoughts about money and self-worth. Then, reprogram your money mindset for building abundance and great wealth. You are worth it!
71. No More Goals...Equal Success!
I think the best way for anyone to get off to a good start is to not focus on goals. The Vision is the blueprint to every successful business. Many business owners have forgotten what their vision is for their company. Once you re-establish your vision, you will have clarity, and it will give you the energy and the drive to attract more customers, establish a successful plan of action, and reach your desired goals for this year.
72. Target Smartphone Generation
Stauer's New Year's Resolution 2011 advice is squeezing productivity from the smartphone revolution. People now use their smartphones for everything. They are a challenge for marketers and managers. The smartphone does not have the capacity of a laptop, but many execs are now eschewing the bulky laptop and going without. It will be important for Stauer and other businesses to figure out a way for smartphones to work seamlessly to increase sales.
73. Do the Math
I say "Begin with the End in Mind" ala Steven Covey. Start with how much money you would really like to make. Not how much you will probably make, but a big number. Then, divide that number by your products or service prices to determine how many times you must make a sale to make that revenue number true. Stare back and forth at the revenue number, and then the number of services and products you need to sell (repeat).
That will give you the perspective you need to succeed.
74. Multiple Ways to Connect
I'm often amazed by advertising, which gives me only a website address. What if I want to talk to them on the phone? Where do I mail a letter? I resolve to make it easier for customers to contact me by supplying multiple ways to connect with my business. I will give them my cell number, my office number, and my fax number, plus my mailing address, along with my website address and my e-mail. Make it very easy for customers to reach you by giving them multiple ways to connect with you.
75. Finishing Trumps Starting
Pick one thing and see it through. Nothing drives in cynicism like starting an initiative and letting it drop because 'we just got so busy'. People respect action, not words. The best excuses are seen as that - excuses. Make check points to keep yourself and your team on track for success.
76. Be Realistic
Be realistic about your business. If it has slowed down because of the economy, stop waiting for it to "get better". Cut expenses and make changes now. If you wait too long, you will be out of business. If the economy has hurt your business, remember that there is no shame is closing shop. Henry Ford went bankrupt five times before he made it with the assembly line. People say that opportunity only knocks once, but I believe that opportunity is always there. It is up to you to recognize it!
77. Employees Must Earn Bonuses
Most small business owners like to give Christmas bonuses & profit sharing bonuses. Christmas bonuses/profit sharing bonuses become entitlements. Under either scenario, employees do not know why they got what they got, but if they do not get a year-end bonus, they become upset.
Giving employees something like a ham for Christmas is fine. Managers and supervisors should be paid on a pay for performance bonus plan, based on a combination of company profit results and individual performance.
78. Remember to Network
For a positive 2011, hire people you worked with before in the early stage of the business and ask them to invest a small amount of money - equal skin in the game. The CaptureCode team will also be surrounded with other entrepreneurs in order to listen to them, attend networking meetings, and hear them out in order to grow our businesses.
79. 2011 - An Eventful Year
2010 was the year of the discount. 2011 will be the year of the event.
Stop offering more discounts or lowering prices (of which you can do only so much). The key to business success in 2011 will be getting people together around exciting events at your place of business. You will create 'buzz' for your business and loyalty to your brand, while price perception will stay intact. Use all new media to promote your events!
80. Refresh the Match
Approach building teams and recruiting talent with a fresh perspective.
Matching skills and experience is certainly important. Equally important, if an individual is to be successful with an organization, is the match between the individual’s values and those of the company. When a company offers individuals a chance to marry personal and professional passions, individual performance becomes aligned and connected, and both parties benefit more deeply from the cohesion.
81. Changing with the Times
The building industry is depressed in our area, so we are focusing on products and services for homeowners who are remodeling or doing simple upgrades. We will be focusing more on the senior market, where people need additional handrails that are not required by codes, but desired by people who need that extra support going up and down a step or two. As the senior community grows, the baby boomers will be our target market in 2011, and beyond.
82. 2011 - The Year of Integrity
In 2011, it will be imperative for businesses around the world to embrace a culture of credibility. Each individual must chose values and virtues which embody their integrity. By bringing like-minded people together under a single corporate umbrella, business credibility is established. Consumers and businesses alike have grown weary of executive bonuses, imprisoned CEO’s, and questionable products. The trust of the customer cannot be purchased; it can only be earned in credible word and deed.
83. At Your Service!
Want your business to flourish in 2011? Find ways to cultivate abundance; return to basics. In addition to email and social media, employ the ultimate approach to service. Resolve to return to basics. Here are some ideas: Call someone with a lead or referral for their business. Send a hand written thank you note to a customer. Take a great employee to lunch and don't talk business! Give a plant to your partner and thank her for helping you grow the business. Send a distant client a gas card.
84. Invest in Yourself
Take care of yourself and invest in continued improvement. Just like investing money, you need to "pay yourself first". Carve out time in the day to exercise or work on personal growth before you tackle your work challenges. Consider it the cost of doing business through good times and bad. If you exercise your mind and body consistently, you will reap benefits that will continue to grow over time. Think of it as exercise cost-averaging. Stay the course and you will continue to grow.
85. Do ONE Thing Well!
After doing my year end reports, I noticed which areas I had invested in that reaped a profit and which didn't. I decided that for 2011, I would focus all of my energy and financial resources to the ONE area that proved profitable every time I spent money on it in 2010. I am determined to do ONE thing well in 2011 and that is to focus all of my energy and resources to building up the niche market for my book, My #1 Is Still My #1!
86. Resolved: Keep Learning!
I'm building my business learning library in 2011. So, I'll be reading at least one business book/journal, listening to an audiobook, following a blog, and/or participating in a webinar or teleseminar every month. It's important to stay on the cutting edge of your field. Topics will include: marketing, speaking, customer service, social media, etc. My new book is about marketing writing for your socially responsible business/organization -- a great addition to your own learning library!
87. Go Big or Go Home
"Go Big or Go Home." In a crunch economy, you have to go way out of the box to grab a dollar or an ear. Folks are overwhelmed, under-funded and scared to spend, unless something really touches their heart. Make your small business a force for social change and watch the magic.
Trust me. Go Big or Go Home, because some seat-of-the-pants, balls-to-the-wall entrepreneur like me will if you don't and you'll be limping home to your foreclosure sign.
Faith Creates! Love and gratitude...Denise
88. Put Yourself First
Having a fulfilling life away from work is one factor that has helped my business succeed. The time I spend doing what I love recharges me and gives me new perspectives that help my business thrive. So often business owners say that they will take time after they accomplish x, y or z. But there's always something to do. It's better to set aside time now and stick to it, or else you’ll never have time. This new year, resolve to put yourself first - schedule you into the day. You deserve it.
89. Death to Distractions: FOCUS!
Get rid of mental clutter and discover the power of focus. Delve deeply into your chosen niche and become the expert of choice. Your name must become synonymous with your area of knowledge, just as Kleenex represents all tissue products. Clarity of one’s vision sharpens focus to create a laser-like force that propels action and makes you “unstoppable.” The magic is in sustaining the momentum to never, ever quit.
90. Look Back to Look Forward
You will be successful in 2011. Look back so you can look forward. Look back on 2010 and see where you were strong at and carry those opportunities over the line into 2011.
91. Less Talk, More Do
Nothing ruffles my solopreneurial feathers more than repeating the same conversation about a business idea umpteen times with fellow small-biz colleagues. While it's smart to be evaluative and reflective, those who stay in this mode are the ones who will never find success because they avoid the risk of failure. If this sounds like you, then do yourself a favor in 2011; stop talking and start doing. It may not be pretty, and it may not be perfect, but jump, man, jump!
92. Sell a Customer Experience
Stop selling a product or service – start selling an experience. Whether you sell windows, widgets or water ponds, the client or customer must have an exceptional experience from the time of the purchase until long after the sale. I’m a big believer in the value of customer service as a way to grow your business and enhance your reputation. Deliver satisfaction: the job’s not done when the product or service is delivered or installed; it’s done when the customer is satisfied.
93. Resolutions - Just Say No
New Year's resolutions are usually forgotten by the end of February. That's why your local fitness place wants you to sign up and pay for a year! If you're waiting for January to come up with a way to improve your business, you're making a mistake. Set well thought out goals in a strategic plan and strive for continual improvement. That's how the best organizations succeed.
94. Master Your Domain
Rather than focusing solely on the usual SEO/SEM, email marketing and shopping cart conversion techniques, marketers should consider developing a strong domain name strategy in the New Year. Domain names can maximize search engine rankings and help capture web traffic and cultivate clients. While big ticket domains garner media attention, many premium names are sold for an average of only $2,000. SMBs can produce premium business benefits with the right domain investment.
Jeremiah Johnston of Sedo
95. Thriving in the New Year!
A successful 2011 will be greatly increased when businesses focus on building more resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back and recover after adversity. Let's take it one step further and Bounce Forward(TM) to build resilient teams, businesses and leaders. Three tips to build resilience in the New Year:
1. Be clear on your goals and take daily action on each goal.
2. Build your team, resolve conflict and strengthen relationships.
3. Learn from the past and celebrate successes!
Do you have “New Year’s Resolution” business advice that wasn’t included? If you do, please share it below. As always, many thanks to everyone who contributed to this article and here’s to a successful 2011!