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.

New Year ♦ New Career – Save Up To 15% on Select Courses ::: Leading Provider of Continuing Education, Certification & Career Skills

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 🙂


FREE 2018 Marketing Calendar Template DOWNLOAD H-SHADOWDownload your FREE 2018 Marketing Calendar in excel for your small business planning.


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

GET RESPONSE EMAIL MARKETING: I love it because Get Response lets you grow your lists, increase conversions, and optimise your audience engagement with beautiful emails and autoresponders, high-converting web forms, laser-sharp segmentation, and unique delivery tools.

Increase ROI with video emails, free online surveys, list segmentation, analytics and more! Open your GetResponse account today!

You can also create and publish high-converting squeeze, video, and promo pages with our drag-and-drop editor, advanced optimization tools and integrations, and more than 100 mobile-ready templates. Get 2018 started off right with this robust and affordable marketing tool!

 

POWERFUL NEW DESKTOPS AT NEWEGGBUSINESS: It may seriously be way past time to get a new computer. I know you don’t want to hear it but there it is.  I’m excited to share news about the awesome pricing for the new ABS N-Series over at NewEggBusiness.com.

All New ABS N-Series: Powerful Desktop PCs at Neweggbusiness.com

Optimized for performance and packaged in a slim case for minimal desk space usage, ABS N-Series desktops provide superb value and the reliable, business-grade performance demanded by professionals. The 4th Generation Intel Core Processor with Integrated Graphics and premium high-speed memory multitask business applications with ease. Combined with the swiftness of a leading SSD, the communications speed of gigabit Ethernet, and peripherals connected using a screaming USB 3.0 interface, this desktop will ensure you and your team can transact business at peak productivity.

 

GET A 800 NUMBER FROM FREEDOMVOICE: Do you work with customers and clients outside of your local area code and want to let your professional side shine? Get a professional 1-800 number or local number with virtual attendant & mobile app to make calls with your business number as caller ID. Know what is awesome? You can TRY IT FOR 30 DAYS FOR FREE!

CloudNumber is a professional phone number easily managed through your smartphone.  Personalize a greeting for your business to answer and send your business calls to you or your team.  Get our free mobile app to easily check voicemail or faxes from anywhere and make calls showing your business number as caller ID.  Turn on an announcement to tell you when you’re answering a business call so you can greet your customers with something better than, “Hello?”

Virtual Phone Service from $9.95/Month. Free 30 Day Trial!

 

CAMPAIGNER EMAIL AUTOMATION FREE TRIALCAMPAIGNER FREE TRIAL – TURN EMAIL INTO REVENUEQuickly create custom templates to show off your brand in email marketing campaigns. Start with one of Campaigner’s 900 templates or upload your own code directly into our Full Email Editor for a unique template. Campaigner custom templates allow you to leverage your HTML experience to create the most customized emails with minimal time and effort.

Campaigner has made effective email marketing easy for small business owners. Start your FREE 30 day trial today.

Use conditional (or dynamic) content to personalize each email and target groups of recipients with email campaign content that is specific to their needs. Dynamic personalization lets you send multiple, customized versions of an email campaign in the time it takes to create one email. Our user-friendly WYSIWYG editor and fully customizable email templates make it easy to add conditional content, including images, text, and other rich media.

 

eRELEASE IS THE SMALL BUSINESS LEADER IN PRESS RELEASE DISTRIBUTIONReach 347,617 Journalists, Reporters, and Bloggers nation-wide who want your story. Other companies claim to send to a “newswire” but have very limited distribution. eRelease is the only full-exposure, nationwide partner of PR Newswire, the oldest and largest newswire service for press releases. That means they reach all major national print, online, radio, and TV outlets and the Associated Press.

What’s great about eRelease is they don’t just target the big players. Most major media outlets get a significant percentage of their stories from local media outlets, so we’ll send your story to smaller outlets as well.

Build Traffic, Rankings, and Business with Online Press Release Distribution!

You can choose up to 3 Industry Targets to ensure that your PR is sent to the audience most interested in your story. Our editors will gladly advise you about targeting. Further, we hand-pick good matches from our exclusive list of subscribing journalists, who’ve asked us to send stories to their personal email inbox.

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.

INBOUND MARKETING WORKS!

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.

Why Have a Writer on Retainer?

writer-on-retainer-say-more-services

You can have a dedicated writer on retainer!

writer-on-retainer-say-more-servicesIf you have specific planned long term content needs you can benefit from having a writer on retainer.  Clients who plan to have sizable writing needs or businesses planning a bigger writing workload for a period of 3, 6, or more months can hire a dedicated writer on retainer at discounted prices.  See monthly Blog Packages as an example of savings.

Contact us about bundling services into a cost efficient monthly and quarterly packages.

 

Why have a writer on retainer? 

⇒ Get lower rates, guaranteed availability and priority status for your projects when you contract to have a writer on retainer.

⇒ You work a writer knowledgeable about your goals and products, who understands your audience and is invested in your success.

⇒ The longer you work together, a better understanding of expectations and results is developed which means better planning and faster turnaround with fewer revisions.

Retainer agreements are subject to availability and available for the following services:

Social Media. Creating, updating and managing social media profiles.  Writing and publishing posts.  Creating social media calendars.  Writing social media and PPC ads to grow followers and increase engagement.  Monitoring and responding to comments and conversations with users and customers.  Engaging influencers with comments and reposts.

Services include: Writing profiles and bios, setting up social media pages, writing and publishing posts, social media calendars, and comment/engagement monitoring.

 

Newsletters and Email Marketing.  These inexpensive ways to develop relationships with prospects and keep clients informed and engaged need to be delivered on a regular basis and with a consistent voice.

Services include:  Writing newsletter and email content.  Industry research.  Developing an editorial calendar.

 

Online Content.  Educate and entertain your website visitors with information, tutorials, stories, and advice in the form of web page copy, articles, blog posts, email courses and other online content.  Good and plentiful content helps you rank high in search engine results and brings focused traffic to your website.

Services include:  Content calendar development.  Web page content.  Industry research.  Blog posts and articles.  Guest blog posts for influential websites.  Case studies.  Press releases.  White papers.  eBooks.  Video and presentation scripting.  Sales and landing pages.  WordPress blog management, optimization, and posting… and more.

 

Have you gotten your FREE copy of the 2017 Marketing Calendar Template?

marketing-calendar-banner

 

INFOGRAPHIC: Data Generated Every Minute

Every Minute Infographic SayMoreServices

Domo has put out its third installment of the Data Never Sleeps infographic and the numbers are a real eye-opener. 

Data Never Sleeps 3.0 shows just how much information is being produced and consumed every single one of the 1,440 minutes of the day.
In the time it takes you to read this intro there will be almost 350,000 tweets sent, over 1 million Vine videos played, and over half a million Tinder swipes.
I’m sharing this not as a reminder that there was a funny Facebook post (out of the over 4 million sent in the last-minute) that you forgot to like and repost.
What I am asking you to do is think about your customers.  Your ideal customers are online, and they are feeding these numbers.  Is your business present where your customers are hanging out online?  Because they are hanging out online and doing it a lot.
So ask yourself…

What are you going to do in 2016 to ramp up your online marketing and reach your customers and prospects where they spend so much of their time?

 

infographic

Holiday Marketing Tip 1 – Have an Event

Holiday Marketing Tip 1

Small Business Holiday Marketing Tips

Have a Promotional Holiday Event

It’s that time of the year again! Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are fast approaching. If you don’t have your holiday marketing scheduled you are already behind. With less than four weeks between Black Friday and Christmas, small businesses have less days to make a tangible impact with their holiday marketing.

Planning has to be done! Create a marketing calendar specifically for the holidays that spans the two months of November and December. Mark the key dates of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, and add a countdown of days until Christmas so you are continuously aware of the amount of days you have left to attract holiday buyers.

Add action items for each day that get you closer to your marketing and sales goals. Now schedule time on your work calendar to do the work needed to meet deadlines that must be met for marketing task such as creating copy and ads, as well as meeting publishing, printing and mailing deadlines.

 

HOLIDAY MARKETING TIP #1

HOLIDAY EVENTS – PLANNING AND CREATING A BUZZ

What them can you create to tie what your business is or does to the festive season? Some are easy like demonstrations of the products you sell, giveaways or raffles for prizes and gift cards, or fundraisers for non-profits. Others are going to take some thinking so make time for that and look at what your competitors are doing in other markets to get some ideas of how you can capitalize on the holiday theme.

Create simple but bold storefront advertising far ahead of your event, add an event reminder to your receipts, have your sales associates and cashiers tell every customer about the upcoming event, ask neighbor stores if you can advertise your event in their windows, etc. This is the time to pull out your guerilla marketing tactics.

TO DO LIST:

Select a Goal and Plan Your Event.

More foot traffic, customer appreciate, higher sales on most profitable products, raise awareness of special holiday services or discounts, fundraising community service, collect email addresses? Pick a specific goal and structure your event to successfully get you there. Asking yourself if what you are including in or working on for your event is getting you closer to your goal will help keep you focused and cost down by avoiding unnecessary extras.

Marketing.

Make the three weeks leading up to your event the focus of all your online and offline advertising. Make it impossible for anyone seeing your business online, in print or in person to NOT know that there is “YOUR EVENT” on “THIS DAY” and they don’t want to miss “WHY ITS AWESOME”. Create a landing page, send out email invites to your email list, “JUST 8 MORE DAYS TIL” countdown reminder on social media with link to landing page, all leading up to the event. On days 2,1, and 0 double up your social media reminders, remind your email list, and ramp up your networking to stay top of mind for the day of the event.

Media and Social Media Attention.

Are you doing something so new, crazy or heartwarming that others will want to see, hear or read about it? Create a press release and reach out to the local media to see if they are interested in stopping by. Send an invite to key personnel at local television and radio stations, as well as local newspapers and magazines for some free publicity.

Have someone designated to take a ton of pictures and some videos during the event.

If possible periodically post pics on your social media accounts. Additionally, it’s possible to have a story run after the event and the media outlet will want any of the really good photos or videos you have of the event.

Follow Up.

Immediately after the event reach out and thank the people who attended your event, and thank the people who supported the event. Hand written notes are a nice touch, but not always efficient, so if you use email take the opportunity to include pictures and special offers. Aim to give the reader a reason to come back to your business. This is also a good opportunity to get some feedback or conduct a survey on your business or the event. Just remember to keep everything as clean, concise and easy as possible for people to do.

 

Talk to me.  Let me know the one thing you wish someone had told you about promotional events before your first one.  And if there is a topic you would like to see covered in the blog just ask.  I’ll see you in the comment section.