Your initial business plan served you well. Your business is on its way to becoming all it can be. Plan to make 2019 your best year ever, both personally and professionally, by striving for a better work-life balance. This is the perfect time to analyze your business’s progress to date and formulate a growth strategy for the new year. Consider these strategic suggestions, then check out CUE Marketplace for the latest and the best software and services available to achieve your small business resolutions and goals.

1. Delegate More

Delegation is not a synonym for “lazy”, nor is it just a means of passing on unwanted tasks. In a small business, it is about efficiency and a method of a business owner’s commitment to valuing employees. Delegation allows you to hand over tasks to others whose skills are better aligned to accomplish that specific task. Relinquishing tasks and responsibilities may be difficult at first, but with time, it will get easier.

2. Upgrade Marketing

Online newsletters can be an important marketing tool. They are an easy and convenient way to announce a new product or service, as well as promote a special occasion quickly and easily. They are cost-effective, and they establish credibility. 

Email is a popular way to communicate with current and prospective clients. Create an email marketing list and send emails to your customers with discount codes, coupons and “preferred customer” perks using email marketing software.

3. Regular Staff Meetings

Meetings are inevitable, even for a business with only one or two employees.  Keep them focused and on track. Regular meetings foster collaborative efforts towards a specific goal. They create a platform for sharing ideas and giving each other feedback.  Think of them as an opportunity to clarify business objectives, revisit resolutions for your small business and keep everyone on the same page and going in the same direction.

4. Continuing Education

Continuing to expand your knowledge should be a lifelong activity. Since you took the plunge and began your business you have probably learned how to develop a business plan, recruit and train staff, and work within a budget. There is always something to learn that will help you run a small business, be it corporate tax liabilities, innovative technology updates, or improved marketing strategies. Making it a business resolution to earn industry certifications can help to increase your business’s credibility and attract new customers.

5. Networking Via Professional Organizations

Meeting people face-to-face is a powerful business tool, and meeting the right people can help move your business forward. People like doing business with people they know. Every community has organizations where business leaders gather. Source a few, then get out and meet some new people who can help you grow your business by:

  • Becoming a referral source
  • Helping you find good employees
  • Providing products or services you need
  • Offering sound business advice
  • Partnering with you in co-promotional opportunities

6. Community Involvement 

When a small business gives back to the community by volunteering or through charitable donations, people notice. Make your small business resolution to create a culture of philanthropy and give your company a competitive edge. Consider organizing a food or clothing drive, sponsoring a Red Cross blood donation day, or hosting a fun-run to benefit a local charity.  Include a statement, such as “Proud supporter of ….” on your emails, websites, and social media postings.

7. Leverage Your Expertise

Send your local media and professional organizations a press release offering to be a spokesperson on your specialty. Civic groups, community networking clubs and local men’s and women’s guilds hold regular meetings and are often on the lookout for speakers. This is a wonderful opportunity to both network and promote your services. 

8. Eliminate What is Not Working

Business growth brings with it exponential complexity. Not every idea or product will be self-sustaining or profitable. Track your progress, and eliminate any product or service that is not showing a profit. 

9. Ask for Referrals

Never assume that satisfied customers will tell others about your product. It is quite possible to dramatically increase your client base by actively asking satisfied customers for referrals. Make it a resolution of your small business to leave extra business cards with a person to make it easier for them to pass your name and contact information to someone else.

10. Give Your Image A Makeover

Your image matters. When a potential client connects with your online professional image, what do they see? Make this the year that your small business revamps their social media sites, marketing materials, and business cards, with a professional headshot or updated logo.

Publicity photos speak volumes about you and your company. Competition is tough these days so turn up the volume, display photographs that showcase the professionalism of your company and highlight your personal commitment to excellence. A professional photographer understands how to make your visual presence come to life. When you appear approachable, the more likely it is that people will reach out to you, your services, and your company. Don’t trust an amateur with your career.

11. Amp Up Your Social Media

According to Statista, 77 percent of the US population has a social media profile. Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are pathways to interact with potential customers on a personal level. Resolve to make social media a priority for you and your employees. Developing a business-to-customer strategy is worth the effort. Start off simply and focus on just one or two platforms. Facebook allows small businesses to make a brand page, post targeted ads to a specific demographic, and track their success. Twitter can be used for customer support – this platform allows businesses to respond to consumers’ questions and concerns in a timely manner.

Whether you post weekly, or daily, the key is to be consistent. A great way to start might be with a series of “frequently asked questions.” Don’t be afraid to check out what your competitors are doing, then brainstorm on how you can do it better.

12. Improve Your Business Language Skills

A powerful vocabulary is a must-have business tool. We are all judged, like it or not, by our language. People will make assumptions about our education, confidence, and competence based on how and what we say. Improve your vocabulary by reading a wide variety of material related to your field or business. Watching television programs hosted by experts in the field of business is an easy way to improve language skills and expand vocabulary. In just a few minutes you will not only become familiar with new terminology, but you will hear the correct pronunciation and proper usage.

13. Stay in Tune with Technology

Embrace automation. It is not unusual for small business owners to spend over 10 hours a week on tasks that can be automated. Look for customized solutions that will save your company both time and money. Discover, purchase and manage the best services and software for small business all in one place. CUE is always there to point you in the right direction.

Have a Great Year

As a small business’ owner, you are in a unique position. Your products and services are niche, your business operations are agile, and you hold a place of trust in your local community. Keep up the good work.