ADVICE

Resolutions for the new year

Posted 1/7/13

Want to put your business on the growth fast track this year? Here are resolutions that can get you there, along with some tips and strategies to help you pull each one off:

• Fix my website! In this age of social media and digital everything, you can’t afford to be a website weakling. Look for ways to add high-quality content, improve your keywords and metrics, integrate your Facebook page and other social media, and make it mobile friendly.

• Improve our customer service! Take the initiative to find out when customers need (or will soon need) service or help – before they have to ask. Make it clear to each and every customer exactly how they can get service or help from your business when they need it – including a name and contact information.

• Nurture our leads! Lead nurturing is the process you use to follow up on leads and ultimately turn those prospects into customers. How well businesses do this varies radically, and so do results. The goal of lead nurturing is to keep your prospects engaged and moving through the purchasing funnel.

• Keep better books! Millions of business owners and startup entrepreneurs are masters at creating great products and services, building awesome teams and winning over customers. Many of them, however, would probably flunk basic bookkeeping. What do your accounts receivable look like? Are you constantly paying your bills late?

• Get serious with Facebook! Facebook is finally figuring out small business (and vice versa), offering new ways for you to acquire customers on this social media platform. As social media pages become more like “storefronts,” now is the time to get more involved.

• Improve my networking skills. But build connections selectively. Don’t confuse networking with simply being friendly or socializing. They are very different. For example, you shouldn’t expect a neighborhood block party to change your business.

• Review our pricing. Start by recognizing that the right price isn’t a multiple of wholesale. It’s tempting to price by simply using a fixed-percentage markup from wholesale. But that strategy assumes all expenses of a sale are determined by the wholesale cost. To price correctly, you must do it individually and by feel, with consideration given to the total expenses of the sale, customer price sensitivity, competitive options, and the sale’s potential contribution to other business. •

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