New Year’s Resolutions for Small Businesses

As the New Year approaches it’s time to begin thinking about New Year’s resolutions. I’m pretty goal oriented and actually love this time of year–it’s always fun to look forward to new possibilities and make new plans for growth and achievement. I also believe that thinking about and committing our goals to some formal form (whether hard copy or online) serves to formally mark them in our minds and increases the odds that we will actually move forward to achieve them.

Here are my “top 3 marketing resolution recommendations” for 2012:

  • Develop a plan for 2012 and commit it to writing. It doesn’t have to be a “fancy” or elaborate plan, but it’s important for businesses of any size to take the time to clarify their mission/vision/values, identify goals and measurable objectives, evaluate the internal/external environment, development strategies and tactics designed to leverage strengths and opportunities and overcome threats and weaknesses, and establish metrics to monitor success. I’m a strong proponent of strategy (hence the name of my company!) and the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Strategic Planning (Penguin, 2011).
  • Make a commitment to be “they” vs. “we” oriented in 2012. It’s easy for businesses to think they know all there is to know about their customers or potential customers and to base decisions on their own (often flawed or misinformed!) perspectives. It’s not about “helping your customers understand your value proposition” as one client suggested to me a few years ago – it’s about understanding what your customers value and delivering it to them.
  • Measure, measure, measure and don’t waste time doing things that don’t generate results. Social media activities often (but not always) fall into this bucket. The things that are going to make a difference for your company will likely be different than the things that will make a difference for another company — even a company that is a competitor. Make sure you know what it is you’re intending to achieve through your social media efforts, understand the cost (which includes time) and if you’re not producing measurable outcomes, stop. The same is true of any advertising/communication effort you’re using — don’t do things just because the competition does them or because you “think” they make sense. Measure!

Those are my top 3 – what are yours?

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