This time of year always brings new goals and new starts. If 2012 was a great year for you, congratulations and let’s keep it going! If you were excited to see it go and thrilled to welcome 2013, now is the time to create a plan to make it the best year possible. I’m always asked about the best things to kick-start the year, so here are some small business goals for 2013 to get you motivated.
1. Take advantage of technology to save time and money. We know have access to so many tools to help us simply many things in our business to allow us to spend our time on high-value tasks where we make money. Learn how to use that smartphone, laptop, and whatever apps are necessary. Some of my favorites are Dropbox.com, Evernote.com and Mail.vu.com.
2. Update your marketing plan. Depending on your goals for the year, you’ll need to take those goals and translate them into quarterly and 30 day goals to ensure action. If you know how many sales you need to make in a certain time frame, you can reverse engineer how many leads you need to generate in order to deliver against your closure rate. This kind of planning will get you towards those revenue and growth goals. It’s also a good idea at this time to put these planning sessions into your calendar. We’ve all heard how important it is to work ‘on’ your business, rather than just ‘in’ your business.
3. Update your marketing routine. Like above, you need to allocate time on your calendar to get these marketing activities complete. Developing a marketing routine is the best way to do this. Plan how many times a week you will blog, write articles, and deliver content on your social media channels. Things like sending out hand-written note cards can also make an important contribution to your marketing plan. Planning and budgeting the kinds of lead generation campaigns you’ll deliver are also important. It’s one thing to have a marketing plan, it’s another to actually deliver against that plan and that usually takes a routine to ensure consistency and momentum. Consistency and momentum are what produce results.
4. Check your Keywords. Using a content strategy is an important part of developing your online presence. However, it’s only as good as your keywords. What people search on and how they search those topics changes over time. Be sure to use either Google’s Keyword Tool or a tool like Wordtracker to ensure you stay up to date on the search trends in your industry.
5. Go MOBILE! Stats today indicate that more and more internet traffic is initiated by mobile devices. (And take a look around you–everyone is actively communicating and searching on a mobile device.) Be sure that your web site is able to handle traffic coming from these types of devices. Check out the user-experience on your site and make adjustments if necessary. And this really shouldn’t be that difficult, especially if your website has been created in a CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress.
6. Look for Growth Opportunities. Every year you see gaps in the marketplace. These gaps are opportunities for new products or services and could be areas of growth for you and your business. In order to take advantage of these known gaps, it takes planning out your new offering and delivering it with a marketing plan.
7. Watch Your Metrics. Measuring growth isn’t possible unless you’ve got some stats to benchmark against. Your web site is a great place to start. Using Google Analytics to understand the behavior of your web site visitors is important in guiding them to the actions you’d like for them to take. Keep an eye on the most popular kinds of content and work to create more similar content. Understand the topics that resonate with your audience and drive them to take next steps to becoming a client. Use this information to deliver more of what your audience is looking for.
You may not choose to focus on all of the ideas here because there is a good deal in here. Select those that make the most sense for you and your business and really focus. Being accountable to yourself is challenging, but critically important to the growth process. You might think about joining a Mastermind program or using the services of a coach to help you through this process. Everything doesn’t have to happen in January and shouldn’t, but getting some help to ensure you plan your success has been an important part of my business.