10 New Year’s Resolutions for Small Business Owners, Entrepreneurs and Freelancers

2018 Small Biz Resoluations

2018 New Years Resolutions for Small Business Owners FreelancersNew Year’s Resolutions to Make This the Best Year Yet!

It’s a new year… YEAH! So what are you going to do different this year to get you closer to your goals? Making some new year’s resolutions will get you on the right track.  Commitment to a well thought out plan, and the flexibility to make changes and corrections when needed will greatly contribute to your personal and business success.

2018 New Year’s Resolutions for Small Businesses

Make 2018 the best year yet by committing to these Small Business Owner New Year’s Resolutions. Grow your business and find your zen with these 2018 resolutions, quotes, and recommendations for great resources and low-cost deals for your Small Business or home office.

1. Analyze the last year. 

Find what is broken – and fix it or get rid of it. Find out what worked great – and duplicate it or multiply it. Through success and failure, we find out what works. This is true in business and in life and applies to the physical and mental aspects of both.

Did your lax policy of employee cell phone use increase customer satisfaction and profit? No? Then fix it. Does that clearance rack desk printer that keeps breaking save you money or time? No? Then don’t buy cheap equipment that cost you in the long run. Does getting up an hour earlier on Mondays get twice as much work done? Yes? Then do it Monday through Friday. Did the bowling alley next door close and a big box gym move in? Yes? Figure out what you can sell to the new demographic of foot traffic.

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. – George Bernard Shaw

2. Let go.

There are more things to do than hours in the day for the small business owner. And guess what? You are not superhuman. So your resolution this year is to do all that is humanly possible and then find a way to get the rest done. That means delegating and putting some trust in other people to do what they know how to do (at home and at work).

You can also outsource the things you don’t have time for or just aren’t good at. If an hour of your time as a business owner is worth say $60, and you spend 8 hours a month doing the payroll that’s $480.  If you suck at it, why not pay a payroll service who can do it in twenty minutes for $50 a month.  You will save time and money.

 You can do ANYTHING.  But not EVERYTHING.  – David Allen

3. Replace the word “perfect” in your vocabulary with the word “spectacular”. 

Chasing perfection is eating up time you just don’t have to spare. Don’t spend four hours on the PERFECT flyer or proposal. Instead, spend 30 minutes on a SPECTACULAR flyer or proposal that is pretty darn close to the perfect one you spent half the day on. This year, a new resolution is to realize that perfection is a myth and pledge to do your amazing best. Customers and clients want your spectacular products and services! And your best is spectacular, or you are in the wrong business.

 If PLAN A didn’t work.  DON’T STRESS OUT.  The alphabet has 25 more letters.

4. Calendar Everything.

You know you need to do it, so why are you putting it off? No more! Pull out that unopened 2015 planner, look at the entire month January. There are 31 days. Pick one day and block two hours for “Marketing Plan”. Pick another day and block two hours for “Organizing Computer Files”. Pick another day and block two hours for “Business Plan”. Pick two days a month to schedule two hours for “Accounting/Payroll”. Take your Must Do list and make them appointments on your calendar. Mid-January, schedule time to do February’s calendaring.

You know what you NEED to get done.  These business requirements should not be handled in a “fly by the seat of your pants” manner. Lock yourself away.  Keep these appointments like you would an appointment with a doctor or a lawyer. You wouldn’t just not show up, it would be rude! And the funny thing is you pay THEM when you show up. But missing these appointments to handle your own business will end up costing you much more.

  Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.

5. Market your business every day. 

There are hundreds of ways to market and promote your business, so there isn’t a day that goes by that you should not be doing something. You have (or better be working on right now) your marketing plan.  A resolution you can stick to is to make one section of that plan a list of twenty or so impactful marketing activities (less than 10 minutes each) that you can execute every day.

Understand that this is on top of your large scale advertising activities and promotions. Post a tweet, write a thank you letter, or call an old client.  Send coupons to your best customers or respond with appreciation to glowing online reviews.  Maybe even go to a Q&A forum in your industry to use your expertise to answer someone’s question. Just make sure you are doing something each day. Put it on your calendar so you don’t forget.

The grass is greener where you water it. -Neil Barringham

6. Mean what you say and say what you mean. 

Are you reliable? Consistent? Honest? Be realistic about what you can do. Keep your promises to your customers, your staff, and most importantly to yourself. To provide transparency and build trust, make sure that your communications are clear and honest.

Forget “under promise and over deliver.” Keep it simple and authentic. Remember why you are doing what you do, and make surround yourself with people who understand your purpose.

 A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination. –Nelson Mandela

7. Continue your education.

I know, I know. You don’t have time to go back to school. I’m not suggesting you get another degree. Take a look at your business skill set to see what is lacking.  Find free or low-cost courses, workshops or books that help you develop important skills.  Be a better business owner, a better manager, a better marketer, a better salesman. Either online or in person, promise yourself two or three hours a week spent on making you the best you that you can be.

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Don’t know where to look? Go old school.  Ask at your local library, community centers, and adult learning centers. Also try Open CultureUdemySmall Business Administration,  and Alison for FREE online learning.

To succeed in business, to reach the top, an individual must know all it is possible to know about that business.  – J. Paul Getty

8. Get out more.

Meet your business neighbors and make them your business partners. Join industry groups and go to meetings, and sign up with your local chamber of commerce. Even if you work from home. Networking and making connections with like-minded people provides a resource that supports your success on many different levels. Discuss best practices, learn from others’ horror stories. Or maybe mentor a new business owner who is where you were five years ago. These relationships enrich your life, build your reputation and can lead to referrals.

 If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go with others.  – African Proverb

9. Schedule ME time.

Where are you going to find ME time? I don’t know, but it is there. Maybe it’s behind that wall of unfiled expense receipts. Or it’s that 8 hours you freed up by outsourcing your payroll. Where ever it is, pick it up and put it down on your calendar. My one-page weekly planner has a small (very small) “What About Me?” box that I made to write something in each week.  Otherwise, it’s not even a thought in my business or home planning. Whether your ME time is two hours at a matinee by yourself, the batting cage, a pedicure, or spin class – make it one of your 10 priorities each week. You can’t enjoy the success of your business from an insane asylum (or jail). So remember to take time out for you before you are forced to take a timeout.

Sometimes you need to take a break from everyone and spend time alone, to experience, appreciate, and love yourself.  – Robert Tew

10. Be gracious.

In short show kindness and be generous.  Show gratitude, share joy, say please and thank you, and treat people how you would like to be treated. You could skip this one but I have it on good authority that there is some truth to this karma thing.

No act of kindness is ever wasted.  – Aesop

It’s out with the old, and in with the new! If 2015 was great, make sure that 2016 is amazing. Make a commitment to yourself by sticking to your Small Business New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve included some links to things I really believe can help you achieve your goals.  Some of those links are affiliate links which means I get some pennies on the dollar if you choose to make a purchase, nothing if you click to check it out and don’t buy anything, and you get an opportunity to get in on some cool stuff. Mostly the affiliate links help me buy venti iced white chocolate mochas on the days I need it most, but full disclosure, I wanted you to know there were some here 🙂

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 My Favorite Resources, Tools, and Deals to Get the New Year Started Right

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Last Minute Holiday Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

Small Business Holiday Marketing HEADER

It’s Not Too Late to Cash In on the Holidays with Last Minute Holiday Marketing Ideas

Christmas is almost here, holiday marketing was planned out in July, and consumers are spending money like there is no tomorrow.

Are they spending it at your business?


Did you forget to set up your holiday marketing campaigns?

It’s not too late! There are things you can do right now – as in TODAY – to make a tangible impact on your holiday marketing effectiveness. Most are free and the ones that aren’t, you choose how much you are willing to invest.

ALSO READ: 5 Big Holiday Marketing Ideas on a Small Budget

Last Minute Holiday Marketing PINTEREST

Check out these 6 Last-Minute Holiday Marketing Ideas:

Blog Content with a Holiday Theme

What keywords are your potential customers putting into search engines right now? You need to figure out how to take those highly searched words and create RELEVANT content to bring traffic to your website. Don’t waste reader’s times with poor or even average content. Make it WOW content that makes the reader want to do some clicking around (we can help you with that). For example, a pet boutique can write an informative blog about what Christmas decorations are deadly to household pets or a tax preparer can post a blog on how to turn holiday purchases into small business tax deductions.

Email Marketing with a Holiday Countdown

If you sell products or services online, you can focus on the last day someone can order to receive their product by Christmas making sure to highlight your best sellers every day or sign up with Free Shipping Day (December 15, 2017) or FreeShipping.org to promote your site.  Other business can set up daily tips, relevant to their subscribers, leading up to Christmas, remembering to create “I gotta read this!” headlines followed up with great and fast reading content so they want to open your email every day. You will stay top-of-mind with your buyers, create a sense of urgency for purchases and boost sales.

ballet bundle online marketingGet Rid of the Old Stuff with Bundles

Having a bunch of old inventory at the end of the year isn’t just bad for business, it’s depressing for business owners. These poor sellers are making no money on the shelf so now is the time to make drastic cuts in your pricing and bundle these less popular items with your best sellers.

Maybe even consider giving away free gifts with purchase to really wow your customers. Bundles are really popular sellers, especially around the gift-giving time when people are looking for more bang for their buck. Blog, blog, blog about your bundles so when anyone searches “[your product] bundle” your blog shows up in search results and they end up on your website.  Also, create a landing page, email your subscribers, and maybe even purchase a little advertising to highlight these amazing bundles.

The word “bundle” is often tied to video games and software so when a customer is searching for your product in a bundle there could be much less competition for topping search results when you blog about “[your product] bundles” with your non-electronic products.

Create Shareable Holiday Posts

Your holiday season social media post should NOT be just sales ads. While promoting your holiday specials be sure to spread some holiday cheer with funny, thoughtful or thankful season appropriate posts that people will want to share. Show your personality and let customers in on what is important to you and your company. This is a great opportunity to highlight non-profits you support, causes you champion, and people you know that are doing good things in the community as well.

Have a Private Sale or Specialprivate sale graphic say more services

Show appreciation for your best customers with special offers, discounts, and free gifts. Creating a good feeling about your business and your product reminds people what a great gift they could give to someone else. To increase exposure and broaden your market consider a friends & family promotion that gives special discounts or free products and services to customers who bring in or sign up another person. For example, if you run a consulting service give a holiday discount if the customer connects you or gives a gift certificate to a friend or family member for a free 20-minute consultation. Exceptional service to your first customer is the best marketing to introduce you to referred leads.

Christmas Cards and New Year’s Cards

It’s a little late to start ordering and mailing custom printed Christmas cards. And maybe that is a good thing because these pre-printed holiday cards are rarely read or kept, as the receiver knows that laser printed message within isn’t for them, it’s for anybody. Make a real impact by buying blank cards and personalizing a hand-written message of appreciation and well wishes to your customers. Obviously, there is a number where this tactic because unrealistic. But a small customer base can be enchanted, and a pool of potential customers will receive a memorable first impression that serves as an impactful introduction. Sound overwhelming? You can also automate with e-cards, or direct mail on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, sending holiday greetings that strengthen connections with customers and partners.


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5 Big Holiday Marketing Ideas on a Small Budget

5 Big Holiday Marketing Ideas on a Small Budget (1)


5 Big Holiday Marketing Ideas on a Small Budget (1)5 Big Holiday Marketing Ideas on a Small Budget

The holidays are approaching – quickly. Take advantage of the festive and giving atmosphere by positioning your business to be top of mind with your customers.  According to the National Retail Federation, 20 to 40 percent of yearly sales for small and mid-sized retailers take place within the last two months of the year.  How are you going to optimize your marketing efforts in November and December?

Try out one, or all, of these holiday marketing ideas without busting your marketing budget.

Customer Appreciation.

Encourage repeat business and spread the holiday spirit by showing how much you appreciate your customers. Faithful customers should get special attention during customer appreciation and new customers or prospects should get your top-notch, above and beyond, holiday customer service. Why not do some of these:

  • Send holiday cards and contact your customers offering special appreciation pricing, sneak previews, or special offers.
  • If you have a physical location try a customer appreciation event or day where you can show off what is available for the holidays, give out special coupons, hand out samples, offer free cider, candy or treats, and really lay on the charm.
  • Encourage repeat business by offering a 10 to 20% discount off the next total purchase price if the customer presents a Customer Appreciation Day receipt of purchase at check out by Christmas Eve.

Weekly Specials.

Designate each week between the week of Halloween and the week of New Years as having a special theme with discounts for, and focus on, one product or service. Do inexpensive in-store/storefront signage, website/blog/email promotion, and advertise (per your budget) in a clear calendar style format that showcases your specials. Put your best of the best money-makers, or introduce something new you are excited about, on the ever important Thanksgiving week (to include Black Friday and Small Business Saturday) and the week leading up to Christmas. If you are heavily online – give the special bonus of extending the Thanksgiving week special to Cyber Monday in addition to the special for the week of Cyber Monday.

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Community & Charity.

While non-profits could certainly use your money, they are equally in need of volunteer time and services, as well as free supplies. Without touching your marketing budget you can assist a non-profit or the community in any way your expertise helps or with anything your hands can do.  Not only are you doing a good thing, it is a great opportunity to network with other contributors and possibly have your business mentioned as a sponsor, contributor, donator or volunteer. Focus on a specific event or program and regardless of what the organization can provide for you in return, make sure your customers and community know what you do for the community through your blog, press release, community paper/magazine, or simply placing photos in your place of business.

Promote Thy Neighbor.

The holidays are the perfect time to partner with other businesses. Think of what businesses compliment your business or look to your physical neighbors for cooperative opportunities if you are a brick and mortar shop. Some ideas include:

  • Split a larger local advertising space
  • Swap in-store or online advertising space
  • Give a coupon for the other business with a purchase from your business and vice versa
  • Set up a small display of free samples with your store information.

Gift Certificates.

Gift Certificates are great because they are inexpensive to create, can be managed easily in-house, and don’t require any fancy point of sale programming or extensive training to implement. But probably the best thing about Gift Certificates is that they are so often not redeemed because they are lost or forgotten, but you already have the money. Keep in mind these key points:

  • Create extremely professional looking gift certificates and packaging.  Someone is receiving this as a “gift”, so make it special.
  • Have a system in place for dispersing and redeeming gift certificates.  They should be clearly numbered and tracked at all stages from creation, sale, and redemption.
  • Once you have created your gift certificates, treat them like cash money and properly secure them from theft and mismanagement.  You don’t want to have to honor a gift card that was not properly purchased.
  • You can create gift certificates for a certain dollar amount and treat it as a discount for point of sale purposes. Or you can create a gift certificate for a specific product, service or package but remember you will need to create a point of sale procedure for redemption.
  • Consider including some fine print such as a two-year expiration date, noting that gratuity is not included but appreciated, contact information for inquiries or appointments, etc.

Do you have a great idea for low-budget holiday marketing? Please share in the COMMENTS!

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Download your FREE 2018 Marketing Calendar in excel for your small business planning.

Why Small Bussiness Needs Inbound Marketing

Imagine being able to take the money you spend on newspaper and magazine ads, or radio and television commercials, and put it back into your business.  That is a real possibility when you switch your marketing towards more effective and less expensive long-term inbound marketing strategies.

Why Small Business Needs Inbound Marketing Say More Services

Why Small Business Needs Inbound Marketing

Your Inbound Marketing Efforts are Working for You 24/7

With traditional advertising and online advertising, you are paying a set amount for a defined period for a guestimation of people who might see your ad.  And when that defined time period is over, or that one-time print ad or mailer has been distributed, that money is gone. The advertising you paid for is gone. You can start over and spend more money on a new ad or give up.

But check this out: With Inbound Marketing you have the opportunity to develop online content of value that brings customers to your website.

  • A blog post that answers a question EVERYBODY is looking on search engines for.
  • A free booklet or video that shows people how to do something.
  • A look inside what you do or customer success story that makes people feel good about your business.

These are the type of content pieces that draw customers to your website and give you an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise on a subject where they have a need.

With Inbound Marketing You Spend Less and Earn More

Developing and publishing this type of content on your website (AND optimizing it for search engines) is a long-term investment that works for you around the clock for as long as you have your website and the information is relevant.  And all this marketing cost you is the one-time expense of creating that piece of content.

Looking at the return on investment, HubSpot reports that the close rate on Inbound Marketing is almost 15%, compared to the 1.7% close rate for traditional outbound marketing.  Apply that math to the ROI you’ve seen from your traditional marketing and see if your head doesn’t explode.

Inbound Marketing is a Shorter Path to Sale for Customers

Here is the thing about ads: They are great for building awareness, but they suck for closing a sale.  It’s tough to get a person to see an ad from an unknown business and trust that business enough to click on their website or visit their location, much less make a purchase.

With Inbound Marketing you are GIVING something of VALUE to people.  That gets them to your website where you have other awesome content, demos, reviews, and testimonials that make them trust you and choose your business for their next purchase.


When you design and deploy content to the exact audience of people actively looking for help around the products and services you provide, you get skip several expensive and ineffective steps in the traditional marketing process.

That is why you should be building and Inbound Marketing Strategy that gets your business in front of people working on their next solution (purchase) right now online.

Want to Talk About Your Inbound Marketing?

You just got the quick summary on a big topic.  If you’d like to discuss how Inbound Marketing can help your business, give us a call at 866-419-3902 or send an email to SayMore@SayMoreServices.com and we can chat.

Read This Week in CONTENT MARKETING – Sep 17, 2017

This Week in Content Marketing SAY MORE SERVICES

This Week in Content Marketing SAY MORE SERVICESThis Week in CONTENT MARKETING – What’s new out there in the land of Content Marketing that is going to make you a better writer and marketer?

Content. Content. Content. It’s everywhere, all the time, unfiltered and unranked.

Much of it half-hearted and half-assed – just thrown at the wall to see what sticks.  Like a pig in the mud, this is where I live… blissfully covered in content whether good or bad.

When I run across something that could really educate, push, or entertain YOU, my clients and readers, I want to share that rare unicorn. So here it is… the best in content marketing content for this week.

If something is missing that can help other professionals (and even dabblers) reach their goals or if you’re sure something on here isn’t delivering on its promises LET ME KNOW! Real conversations are our favorite type of content here at SAY MORE!

Read This Week in CONTENT MARKETING – Sep 17, 2017

9 Content Marketing Trends to Look Forward to in 2018

NEIL PATEL – Being able to anticipate trends, as well as the change in audience behavior based on technology trends and updates, can help you adjust your strategy and get ahead of the wave.



The One Skill That You Need Need To Master in Content Marketing

JEFF BULLAS – There is one skill that all content marketers need to learn. The art of writing. Good writing skills underlines and supports video and even audio. The headline, script, and description are just a few. Crafted words and considered communication are important in changing minds and moving hearts.




CMI TWEET - This Week in Content Marketing SAY MORE SERVICES

Measurement Framework: How to Document Content Marketing ROI

NEWS CRED – At NewsCred, we talk about how the goal of content marketing is not to be good a creating content, but to instead be good at business by using content. In this new age of performance content marketing, clearly defining a business outcome is critical to success.



5 Tips to Create a Data-Driven Content Marketing Strategy

SEARCH ENGINE WATCH – Content marketing has become the secret weapon in a successful marketing strategy, with brands using different types of content to add value and grab their audience’s attention… and market with intent, using content and SEO to raise awareness, engage and convert.



One Ridiculously Easy Way to Enhance the Power of Your Blog Posts

COPYBLOGGER – The overall aim of your blog is to help your audience with the issues they struggle with while also educating them on what they need to know to do business with you. That’s too much responsibility for just one article, so each blog post you publish can be thought of as a piece of your content marketing strategy puzzle.



35 Lesson You Can Learn from Great Business Blogging Experts

ENVISION CREATIVE – Blogging tips should be simple, helpful, and effective. In this post, you’ll learn the top 35 tips used by the best bloggers and content marketers in the world to create amazing posts that keep readers coming back for more.




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You’ve got a lot to say…

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Better Email Open Rate – 5 Tips

Better Email Open Rate

Email Open RateAre your subject lines, previews, and email content enticing people or do you need help increasing your email open rate?

There are few people who buy, much less take a bite out of a cake with ugly icing and no clue on what flavor of cake it is.

Your emails could be one of those ugly cakes, and to make it worse there are a million of them to choose from.

It could be chocolate cake, your favorite, but why risk it? It is the same with emails except that you are getting offered a hundred cakes a day. Which is actually, even more,

Make sure that your email has an enticing and informative subject line.  Plus it needs to be concise, it must get to the goods FAST, and deliver what you promised.

Increase Your Open Rate with Better Emails

Tip #1

Effective Subject Lines get Emails Opened

Construct brief, specific, and relevant headlines. Why would someone want to open this email? Get personal and use their name. Tell the benefit – reveal the surprise inside. “John this is the Networking Contact Sheet you need”.


Tip #2

Short, Concise and Packed with Good Stuff

It’s not an essay. Give the information they want and need and clearly.  But still supply a way for them to can contact you or link to where they can get more information. Your email is also not a full page ad about how great you are. If your email contains very little useful information and a whole lot of advertising readers will avoid you.  Your emails will get marked as spam, unsubscribed or just deleted without opening.


Tip #3

The Brain LOVES Bullet Points

If you have more than two things to say, break it up. Clearly separate those thoughts with…

  • Bullets

1. Numbers

Bold Lettering

…so the reader knows he can dig into the parts he wants without dedicating too much to your email. If they like what you are saying on one point, they are likely to read the rest and open your next emails.



Email marketing

Tip #4

Watch Your Tone Young Lady (or Young Man)

Perception is reality. This is especially true online where words are floating outside the confines of a deliberate context. Misunderstandings and assumptions are abundant online.  You’ll see a simple statement like “Americans are doing this all wrong” misconstrued as “I’m a democracy hating expat sick of lazy American ways and I’m going to correct what is wrong with your little minds.”

That’s a broad jump, but as an example it shows the easy misinterpretation of words. Be mindful of your audience by knowing their hot points and the issues they are sensitive to. When constructing your message write what you would say if you ran into this person in the grocery store instead of a sales meeting. Is your tone pleasant and appealing? If you can comfortably smile while saying the words out loud you are probably in the right tone.


Tip #5

Don’t Distract from the Message

You are a professional and your emails should be representative of that.

  • Professionals don’t have typos
  • Professionals don’t put every recipient’s email address in the “To” field for everyone to see
  • Professionals don’t reply all
  • Professionals don’t over use exclamation points and all caps
  • Marketo has an all inclusive email marketing checklist that covers just about everything you can think of atThe Secret Email Marketing Checklist

Take a look at what you are doing and if you aren’t getting the engagement you want from your emails make changes.  Big or small, there will be no improvement without change.


Don’t forget to download the FREE 2017 Marketing Calendar Template in Excel.

We’d love to hear from you.  Leave a comment or contact us!