“This year I’ll lose weight, start exercising, and enjoy life more!” Sound familiar? Yep, it’s New Year’s resolutions time! As an entrepreneur, look beyond your personal goals and make business resolutions that can strengthen your bottom line in 2020. Here are several resolutions tailor-made for entrepreneurs.
Now is a great time to refresh your marketing plans and pledge to increase consumer awareness of your brand. Great customers might be out there but unaware of what you offer and what makes your products or services better than others. Here are a few solid ways to elevate your brand’s profile:
- Seek out public relations opportunities. Has your company been covered in the local media? From local radio shows to regional publications, reporters are hungry for content and small businesses get covered frequently. If this isn’t an area of expertise for you or members of your team, consider hiring an outside PR professional. A freelance publicist or an established agency can help craft your story and pitch it to appropriate media outlets.
- Use calendar observations. These days, there are tons of fun calendar observations that you can usually find trending on Twitter. Days like National Coffee Lovers Day, Hunt for Happiness Week, Women’s History Month, National Small Business Week, and more are held throughout the year and get lots of social media attention. Use the comprehensive SmartBiz marketing calendar to plan specials and events around days that relate to your business: Marketing Calendar 2020: When to Promote Your Business.
- Sponsor a local sports team. Local sports leagues are always in need of funding or donations. The players and coaches may need funds for equipment, tournament travel, or uniforms. Look at your budget and approach the league with ideas. Get the most bang for your buck with a prominently displayed banner or a branded patch on the uniforms. You can even have your team of employees show up at a game to cheer and pass out snack bags. You’ll enjoy giving back and supporting healthy community activities.
- Claim your business on free review sites. A cheap and easy way to connect with potential customers is to claim your page on review sites like Yelp or Google My Business. Once you’ve established your page, you can put up contact information, tout your products or services, and interact with current and potential customers.
For more ideas, read How to Get Your Business Out There: 10 Smart Ways. You’ll learn how to make an impact through strategies like networking, hosting an event, donating to charity, and more.
Collaborate with other small businesses
Small business owners that only focus on competition could be missing opportunities to build new business. Networking with other business owners can offer big benefits like:
- Saving money on shared expenses like marketing or advertising
- Expanding your customer base
- Utilizing business expertise
- Having a trusted advisor
For example, a catering company could partner with a florist to work on events together and cross promote each other’s services. Check out Ways Your Small Business Can Work With Other Small Businesses and Cross Promotion Ideas for Success for more information about business collaboration.
In addition to teaming up with others, go out of your way to support other small businesses. “Shopping small” supports entrepreneurship and improves the overall economy.
Clear the clutter
Dedicate a day – or more – to simply get organized. Turn on your paper shredder, call a local donation agency, and clear out the clutter. In addition to organizing your physical space, look for ways you can digitally organize. Business apps can cut down on paper and streamline operations. Review our top picks for apps that can make your life easier: Business Operations Software for More Efficiency.
Explore your work/life balance
It’s no secret – running a business can be stressful. Entrepreneurs are often on call 24/7 making it very difficult to take time off or relax. If you manage to craft a good work-life balance, your business can run more smoothly and effectively. Our blog post, 4 Essential Tips for Avoiding Burnout as a Small Business Owner, has easy tips you can implement.
Many small businesses aren’t proactively saving for unforeseen expenses. A recent survey found more than half (53 percent) of small business owners don’t have a business savings account – with many opting to keep all their cash in their checking account or a personal savings account. Having money in a savings account can act as a safety net in case of unforeseen expenses or help you invest in business building opportunities that come up suddenly.
Start building your savings by cutting expenses and funneling the extra cash into a dedicated account. Here’s an article on cost cutting to help you save money: Don’t Forget These Sneaky Expenses When Starting Your Business. You’ll get information on how things like credit card processing, office décor, and utilities can add up – and what you can do about it. To help you stay on track, download a budget template here: Small Business Budget Templates for Download.
Review your company culture
Do you know what kind of culture your company has established? Review these types to pinpoint your business style: 10 Types of Company Culture Explained.
Your company culture is one factor that can make or break its success, whatever your business size. A high-performing company culture leads to happy employees, an engaging environment, productivity, and open communication. Here are some articles from the SmartBiz Small Business Blog to help you establish a positive culture and avoid employee turnover:
Address bad business debt
There’s good business debt and bad business debt. Good debt has low rates, long terms, and manageable payments. Bad debt has high rates, short terms, and payments that cut into cash flow. If your business is weighed down under bad debt, consider strategies to reduce that debt and strengthen your bottom line. Our blog has steps you can take now to cut down on debt and strengthen your cash flow: How to Reduce Bad Business Debt.
Improve your credit rating
Good credit is key for small business owners. Your credit scores help you qualify for low cost funding. The right funds can help to expand and strengthen your business. Read Business Credit Reports Explained to learn about the three major credit bureaus and how your scores are calculated. If yours needs some work, review How Small Business Owners Can Improve Their Credit Scores. You’ll learn strategies how to monitor your business credit file and use credit wisely.
Could additional funding help you grow and meet business goals? Covering business expenses while remaining profitable and paying yourself a salary can be difficult. To help ease the burden and expand their business, many entrepreneurs take out a loan. Depending on the loan, proceeds can be used to refinance expensive debt, for working capital, to purchase inventory, build savings, and more. Learn about types of loans available for small business owners so you can weigh your options and find the best fit here: 5 Types of Loans for Small Business Owners.
Not sure if you’re ready to apply for a loan? Try SmartBiz Advisor™, an online, educational tool. You can assess key criteria banks consider and where your business stands on each. Learn more about SmartBiz Advisor here.