Three New Year's Resolutions For Your Business in 2013
A resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something. For those who hate making New Year's Resolutions, just think of ringing in the new year with making a firm commitment to finding new ways to grow your business in 2013.
Be More Social
If you are not using social networking, I will repeat what I have been saying for years: start today. As I (and many others in the SEO business predicted) many search engines are now factoring in social branding and popularity into their algorithms. In fact, three are now search engines that return results based entirely on social networking results. No longer is a website enough to be top dog with Google. Even if your website is doing well now, it might start to slip if you are not found on Twitter and Facebook. Google seems less impressed by Facebook, a competitor, but is pushing Google +.
Google+: People hated the original Google+. Determined to take Facebook on, Google continues to pump resources and energy into trying to create a new social media monster. Despite having a long way to go, in search, Google is King. Ignore their own products and you could be shooting yourself in the foot in 2013.
Twitter: Easy to set up and master, Twitter can offer an amazing wealth of referrals, and website traffic. There is no excuse for a business not to "Tweet" and the old excuse the "it's a stupid waste of time" no longer applies.
Pinterest: In many image searches, Pinterest is now reigning king. Although Pinterest is not a social platform ideal for many types of businesses, it is an up and coming social network that cannot be ignored.
- Marketing Your Business With Pinterest
- Create a Virtual Notice Board With Pinterest
- Are You Pinterested?
Facebook: No longer a simply water cooler to connect with people, Facebook now offers apps, features, ad campaigns, and highly customizable business pages.
So you don't have time to drive all over the place and attend face-to-face networks? There is still no excuse for not taking advantage of online networking. Linked In and Plaxo are just two of the "hotties" right now. Build networks and connections in your pajamas. I declared 2012 the year to Network More Aggressively, 2013 is the year to deepen those connections by creating more online contacts. The more your name is "out" there, the faster you will build your brand. Search engines, including Google, now return listings for many directories for businesses and individuals. Make sure you name is listed in at lesast the following, two major players.
Tip: Avoid adding your business to "junk" directories. Directories with low page rank, or are penalized will only drag you down. Remember, when it comes to networking you are building relationships -- not developing inbound links to your website.
Get To Know Your Competition
Obviously, you need to assess your own business for its strengths and weaknesses. You need to evaluate your own sales, costs, customer satisfaction, and general industry trends in order to stay strong and competitive. But you should know your competition at least as well as your know your own business -- or even better.
- Using Google To Study Your Competition and Consumers Interests
- Feasibility Study to Identify Competition
Turn Ideas Into Plans
Many people mistake an idea for a plan. An idea is found in your head, a thought, or is jotted down on a paper napkin during a power lunch. A plan is an idea fleshed out, mapped out, and something that can be put into action. A plan serves as a concrete roadmap to turn your ideas into cash.
- Write a Business Plan
- Business Foundations Questionnaire - Cash Flow
- Business Foundations Questionnaire - Internet Sales, PR, and Advertising
- Business Foundations Questionnaire - Customer Service
- Business Foundations Questionnaire - Manufacturing, Production & Distribution
Going on "gut" instincts alone will only get you so far. It is important the every business owner resist the temptation to keep business secrets in their heads and be willing to share ideas with others. You never know who might be able to add something to your idea to make it even better -- or, who might have the solution you have been looking for.