I have never been one to make NY Resolutions for myself. I find them to be redundant. To expect, all of a sudden, that one day later in the year should cause us to make ourselves into a ‘better’ person doesn’t seem realistic. But setting goals is a different beast altogether. Especially setting goals for your business.
As small business owners, my husband and I have goals for daily, weekly, monthly and annual achievement. You have to set up realistic goals that push you but are attainable. In order for an IT company to stay alive two words that you don’t use are ‘always’ and ‘never’. So let's set some fluid goals for us to achieve this year.
Resolution #1: Do More with Social Media
Where are you at with Social Media? Do you have a Twitter but don’t use Facebook, or do you not have your Instagram linked up to share your posts and forget to load your message into all media platforms? One option is to use social media management with Hootsuite Pro. Designed specifically for small and medium-sized businesses, Hootsuite Pro is packed with intuitive features that make it simple to manage, engage and measure your social media activity without losing a huge chunk of your day to the Twittersphere.
Your to-do: Get your clients involved. Ask for reviews and ratings. Boost your Google postings and refresh your web content with calls-to-action embedded in your posts. Start by focusing your attention on one network. Sign up for Hootsuite’s free, 30-day trial. Use the service to schedule your posts in advance and hone in on relevant conversations about your brand. Follow with management tools in Facebook page manager - which posts resulted in the most follower engagement? How can you use this feedback to strengthen your social media activity?
Resolution #2: Get a Leg Up on the Competition with Continuing Education
Continuing education is a must for small business owners, but unless there’s a certification renewal required for our jobs, most of us put these classes off on the back burner. The result: from accounting to marketing, we keep doing things the same way we always have–often times missing out on better, easier solutions. From public speaking to grant writing, make this the year you conquer a professional fear, learn a new skill, and grow your professional network while doing so.
Your to-do: What skill would you most like to improve? What is your weakest spot as a small business owner? Maybe you’d like to brush up on your accounting basics, take an industry mastery class, or finally master the basics of online marketing. Start by committing to learn one new skill. Sign up for a class at a local community college or enrol in an online training course. Challenge friends or colleagues to expand their skillset by taking the class with you. It’s great to have an accountability partner!
Resolution #3: Networking
Join your local business networking group. Networking should be a fully integrated component in the life of every business person. It will lead to stronger contacts and friendships that can help in every aspect of your work.
Your to-do: Talk to your Chamber of Commerce, City Hall and other business owners. Where are they going? Find out and join. It’s a great way to meet other business owners from your area. Let’s talk connection, ideas, marketing or simply make some new friends.
Resolution #4: Put an End to Project Collaboration Woes
When your small business team of freelancers are spread out over the city, county and even country, minor problems like timetables and miscommunication can throw a job off track. This year, get everyone on the same page from day one with an easy-to-use project collaboration platform. StudioCloud is a free version, but the two of the most recommended are Wrike and Trello.
Your to-do: Get all of your contract workers to join on the same platform from day one. Do a trial run and set up the real-time workspace for document sharing and dynamic collaboration. Stay on track with a birds-eye-view of your team’s workload and deadlines, so you know weeks out (rather than hours out) if a delay will affect an on-time and on-budget project completion. Happier clients and happier team members make for a much more enjoyable work environment.
In 2016, my business goals are to streamline my bookkeeping process, put more focus on marketing with email and online media, and get out there and meet other business owners. I want to continue contributing to schools, teaching IT and networking programs, and helping out the community with our donations to non-profit groups. What are your professional resolutions for 2016? I invite you to share them in the comments section below.