About the Author
Anne Maxwell is COO at InvoiceASAP.
The end of the year and beginning of a new year is a great time for assessing your business and setting goals for the future.
Here are 5 resolutions that can help you grow your business in 2018.
Resolution 1: Expand Your Social Media Presence
Social media is a great way to market and promote your business for free. But which social media platform should you spend your time on?
The answer to this question depends on 2 things:
- The type of business you have
- Where your customers spend their social media time
Instagram or Pinterest are great choices if your business has a visual element to it, like food, flower arrangement, event planning, design, photography, or landscaping. Even companies like roofing, plumbing, window replacement, and garage doors can show the quality of their work visually. Post beautiful pictures that highlight the work you do.
Twitter is a good choice for social media when:
- You have a technology or information based business
- You sell a product or service
- You’re just better with words
Although you can attach photos to a tweet to give it visual appeal, at its core, Twitter is about what’s said, not what’s seen.
Consider Facebook or LinkedIn if you want to build a community.
- Facebook is great for creating business-to-consumer relationships
- LinkedIn is great for business-to-business relationships
Resolution 2: Get Productive!
No matter how much we may want it, we’re not getting any more hours in the day. So we need to find ways to become more productive with the time we have.
Here are some quick ways to get productive fast:
- Become friends with Siri, Bixby or OK Google. Learn how you can quickly accomplish tasks by talking to your phone, rather than typing on it.
- Use the microphone on your phone’s keyboard to dictate to your phone, rather than typing text. It’s much easier and quicker to speak a reply to a text or email than to type it. You can use simple punctuation commands like “period,” “question mark,” “new line,” or “paragraph” to format your message correctly.
There are tons of apps that can help with productivity. Take some time to find the apps that work for your business.
Here are some examples:
- Apps to schedule your social media posts, like HootSuite or Buffer
- Apps to take notes, like Any.Do, Evernote, or OneNote
- Apps to make lists, like Wunderlist or Todoist
- Apps to manage your email accounts, like Notion, Newton or Edison Mail
- Apps to handle routine tasks on your mobile device, like Automate or IFTTT (If This Then That)
- Apps to master project management, like Trello, BaseCamp or DropTask
- Apps to communicate effectively with your team, like Slack, WhatsApp or Stride
- Apps to help you stay focused on a task, like Forest, FocusList or Momentum
- Apps to easily digitize documents, like Genius Scan or Scanbot
- If you are you still uncomfortable using mobile apps, try Pen and Paper, which lets you hand-write notes or draw images.
And there are many other apps, like time tracking, expense tracking, and (of course) mobile invoicing.
Resolution 3: Use Your Email Signature
Take advantage of an automated email signature to feature a product, offer a discount, or provide your customer with valuable information about your business or upcoming changes.
This is a simple but extremely effective way to communicate with your customers.
And remember to keep your message fresh. Make sure you change the message at least once every quarter.
Resolution 4: Don’t Just Look Forward, Look Back as Well
When you are planning your new year, it’s easy to simply keep looking forward. But there is a lot of value in looking back.
If you’re a new business, the natural ebb and flow of a business cycle may not be evident. But if you’ve been in business for a few years, you can benefit from looking at the past years to identify slow or busy cycles.
For the new year, you want to consider at least 2 areas:
- How can you more efficiently manage your busy times?
- How can you increase business during your slow times?
Answering these 2 simple questions will help you be more productive in 2018.
Resolution 5: Sharing is Caring
Okay, I know this is a trite saying. But hear me out.
One of your biggest assets are your employees and team members. They represent you and your business.
Here are some simple ways to keep them engaged in their jobs:
- Monthly staff meetings. Update your employees on upcoming projects, successful projects or lost contracts. What was good? What could be improved?
- Listen to your employees. Use staff meetings to answer questions and listen to your employees. Maybe they have good ideas, and maybe they don’t. But most people appreciate being heard.
- Celebrate employees’ birthdays and/or work anniversaries. It doesn’t take much to pass a card around and get the others to sign it. Your employees will appreciate that you remembered them.
- In-office celebrations for holidays, like Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, 4th of July, etc. These don’t have to be elaborate, expensive or time-consuming. A box of donuts in the morning or cupcakes in the afternoon is all it takes.
If your employee feels like he or she is appreciated, feels like his or her opinion matters, feels like he or she makes a difference in your business, you’ll have lower attrition, higher employee satisfaction, and that employee will not only go the extra mile for you when you need it, but will represent your company well both on and off the job.
Planning for 2018
Growing a business can be hard. It’s easy to say work smarter, not harder. These 5 resolutions can help you do that.