Next year, you’ll be more fit and frugal. You’ll read more, stress less, take up that hobby, and finally set off on the big family vacation. As of Jan. 1, if all goes to plan, your life is going to change for the better.
Since that’s all settled, time to make another resolution: one to improve your small business. Not sure what needs resolving? We have 10 ideas—plus, articles and resources to help you get started. Happy New Year!
1. Get more organized and productive.
When it comes to cleaning your closet, you’re on your own. But with organizing your business processes, there’s hope—and help. Try these eight productivity hacks, including tools that schedule your social media posts, digitize your paper documents, organize your contacts and more. And make the workday more efficient by automating routine office tasks, like handling documents, sending appointment reminders, and even taking coffee orders.
2. Spruce up your email list.
Some customers who subscribed to your emails at one point will inevitably go M.I.A. at another. If readers haven’t opened or read your messages in the last few months, it’s time to take action with a re-engagement campaign. It’s important: Emailing unengaged contacts can leave your company vulnerable to spam complaints and harm your company’s reputation with your email service provider.
3. Get the team on board with a CRM.
Step one: Invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. Step two: Actually use it. A CRM helps you organize your contacts, track your leads and ultimately close sales. But small businesses owners say the biggest pain point of a CRM is adopting the system. Check out our Small Business Field Guide to Accelerating CRM Adoption for tips on encouraging your team to embrace the software.
4. Recover your lost leads.
When a prospect disappears during your sales process, you might declare the lead to be a dead-end. But did you initially respond to the lead within five minutes? Follow up a dozen times? Keep in touch over the next year? If the answer is “no,” maybe your lead isn’t dead—only lost. Get on the case with the help of our Lost Lead Road Map.
5. Improve your post-sale follow-up.
A sale isn’t necessarily the end of your customer’s experience with your company. It should also mark the beginning of the journey to his next purchase. Encourage repeat business and stay connected with customers by implementing these ideas for post-sale follow-up, like sending a thank-you note, sharing helpful resources and inviting them to connect with you on social media.
6. Create a content marketing strategy.
Advertising is so last year. Today’s marketers are all about using content to earn customers’ trust (and eventually, their business). But before you start blogging away, let’s talk strategy. In this episode of Ignition, the Infusionsoft video series, marketing expert Andrew Davis talks a small business owner through creating a content marketing strategy that includes focusing on a target market and considering the customer’s mindset.
7. Brush up on SEO best practices.
If it seems like Google uses a confusing mix of 200 different factors in its search rankings—well, you’re right. Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t an exact science, but following best practices can ensure better visibility for your website and content. This article explores three important components of an SEO strategy: writing techniques, keyword data and on-page optimization.
8. Learn how to delegate.
What’s more difficult than running a small business by yourself? Allowing other people to help. In this episode of Ignition, Lynn Perkins, CEO of the babysitting website UrbanSitter, shares her advice on how to delegate—a sometimes uncomfortable but necessary step for growing your business.
9. Make the most of networking.
Expand your knowledge and your network by attending one of the top conferences for entrepreneurs in 2016. Once you’re there, take action beyond listening to speakers and swapping business cards. Follow this advice for making the most out of a networking event, like telling new contacts whom you want to help and automating your follow-up the next day.
10. Work on your balancing act.
You might not ever cross “achieve work-life balance” off your list of goals. Consider this resolution a work in progress that starts with smaller, more actionable steps—like learning how to say no or breaking free of what productivity expert Samantha Bennett calls “the myth of busy.”