Tara Gentile, Lab Director and Co-founder of Kick Start Labs (Tweet this!)
13. Reduce, refocus and delegate your workload to new hires.
Whether you need to hire support staff, virtual employees, interns or consult with a specialist on a project-basis, it’s probably time to recruit new talent. Many small business owners tend to become a jack of all trades to the detriment of their business growth and personal sanity.
Evaluate your workload and assess what areas would be better served by delegation. Make the investment in a new contractor or employee. Then refocus your work on long-term strategic business development.
14. Create a plan for evaluating new opportunities.
Growing a small business can seem like a never-ending search for opportunities to increase reach and sales. Many small business owners act on opportunities that result in more work, less focus, and fewer results – all in the name of “growth.”
Take time to determine what you want to accomplish in business next year and evaluate what initiatives have resulted in the greatest positive impact for your business. Let your newfound knowledge empower you to say “no” more often and only embrace opportunities that deliver the return you desire.
15. Spoil your best customers.
You know those customers who are always first in line to buy your new product or walk through the doors of your promotional events? Or possibly you have a group of clients that always deliver kind and constructive feedback?
Those customers should be top of mind when you’re dreaming up future initiatives. Let your top customers know they’re the “center of your business universe” and how much you truly appreciate their partnership. Scale personalized attention by offering special gifts, a phone call, access to beta tests, or sharing an exclusive sneak peek at new offerings.
Like this article to access 6 Bonus Tips to Help Small Businesses Plan for Success in 2013
Christine C. Kirk, Founder and CEO of Social Muse Communications (Tweet this!)
16. Stop looking in your rear-view mirror.
Competition will always exist. Instead of focusing on what others are doing get crystal clear about where you and your company are headed. The best inspiration – directional business clues – will come from your customers. Focus on providing the best offering possible and stop being distracted by outside noise.
17. Establish your personal brand.
As you serve your clients and customers, don’t forget the importance of developing a brand voice of your own. Every entrepreneur should have an up-to-date, ongoing social media presence that is professional, informative, and showcases their work. Think of your social networks as your digital resume. What do they say about you?
18. It’s all about teamwork.
As the old adage says, “It takes a village!” Consider this: Rome wasn’t built in a day or by one person. As a founder, don’t forget you are only as good as your team and the people you surround yourself with each day. Let go of the idea that you can do everything yourself. You can’t. Hire people who are smarter than you, good at things that you’re not and compliment your skills. As Steve Jobs once said, “Other companies hire people to tell them what to do. Apple hires people to tell us what to do.”
Nina Kaufman, Esq., CEO of Kaufman Law PLLC (Tweet this!)
19. Acquire customer testimonials.
Gather testimonials from happy customers and clients to help hone what’s working well in your business. Explore all facets of how you acquired and served those happy clients and look to replicate and scale the experience. Not only will you develop solid business systems, you’ll minimize breach of contract lawsuits and maximize profits. Did I mention its great PR to boot?!
20. Lose excess business weight.
In a still-fragile economy, now is the time to get lean and strong. Stop doing things that are unproductive and not giving you leverage. Release underperforming employees, lackadaisical suppliers, and unprofitable product or service lines. Your body can’t carry excess weight well and neither can your business.
21. Take yourself out to lunch.
Change your environment. Take yourself out to lunch or go for a 15-minute walk. When you’re so busy you have to eat at your desk you are more than likely overworked, understaffed, and multitasking. That’s a recipe for disaster.
Sending Client A’s deliverable to Client B or mistakenly broadcasting confidential information with “Reply All” won’t invoke customer confidence. Not to mention dealing with a “food-clogged” laptop keyboard; which, by the way, adds to your tech expenses.
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Photo: © Olly Fotolia
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