5 New Year’s resolutions every entrepreneur should make
I like to make a New Year’s resolutions list. When I owned my business, I found that setting goals at the beginning of each year helped us all. Our office New Year’s resolutions usually included some marketing activities we knew we could achieve, a few stretch goals, and at least one big, hairy audacious idea we had no idea how to accomplish. Amazingly enough, we would look back at the end of the year and realize we had kept most of our resolutions and achieved most of our goals. It was a good feeling.
If you’re an entrepreneur (or if your New Year’s resolution is to become an entrepreneur), here are 5 things you should absolutely include on your list.
Learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Your website is the bullseye for all your marketing activities. It can be your first introduction to a prospective customer or client. It can make sales for you while you sleep. It can help you increase awareness and drive traffic to your location. But only if your website can be found. Without understanding SEO, you can put a lot of effort into creating a website that matches your vision but does nothing to generate ROI. In order for your business to succeed, you must master SEO. At my current employer, we study SEO every day and have a couple people who specialize in doing nothing but SEO work. You’ll probably never know as much as they do (I know I don’t and I work with them), but even a beginning level understanding of SEO will put you miles ahead of most small business owners. Wondering where to start? Google has excellent resources. You can even get take tests and become Google certified.
Create a marketing plan. You went into business because you love what you do, not because you wanted to market your business. Unfortunately, if you can’t communicate the advantages of your business or sell what you have to offer, your business won’t last long. If you find yourself wondering why people think your competition is so much better than you, even though you know your product or service is superior, that’s a marketing problem. The only way to solve it is with an organized marketing plan. Think writing a marketing plan is too hard? It’s not. Read What’s your small business marketing plan to get started. Without a marketing plan, you’re guaranteed to put off marketing until you “have time.” Trust me, that time will never come. Just do it.
Take a vacation. I know it sounds crazy, but everyone needs to recharge! Find a way to get away. I used to take vacation around major holidays such as Christmas, Fourth of July, or Memorial Day. Knowing the rest of the world was off too made it easier for me to get ahead before I left and catch up when I got back. You’ll have more energy and better ideas if you take time away from your business.
Read at least one great business book. Right now I’m reading Hidden Brilliance by Katie Rasoul. It’s about being a better leader, dealing with your inner critics and how to tap into your strengths. You can learn more about this book by checking out Are you a Perfectionist, a blog post I wrote after I heard Katie speak. I also highly recommend that EVERY entrepreneur read the E-Myth. Really! If you haven’t read it yet, you must! Check out this post where I explain why.
Expand your network. Networking is one of the least expensive ways to market your business. It is especially important for entrepreneurial service providers such as attorneys, accountants, graphic designers, writers, or anyone else who consults or freelances. People aren’t hiring a business, they’re hiring you. Get out there and let people get to know you. Be sure to perfect your elevator pitch and know how to follow up. Wondering how to get started? Check out these 5 Networking 101 tips.
Start 2019 off right. By making New Year’s resolutions for your business, you’re a lot more likely to achieve your dreams. And isn’t it a lot more fun to dream about business success than it is to make yet another New Year’s resolution about going on a diet?