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New Year, New Business: What are your 2013 business resolutions?

By Sandra Fathi | On January 2, 2013

Many people talk about New Year’s resolutions as they pertain to their personal life or even professional life. But, what about New Year’s resolutions for your business? As a business owner or senior executive, now is the best time to get your business in shape to take advantage of 2013. Here are a few quick suggestions for committing to these changes to set your business up for success in the new year.

1. Stop Working. Stop working on the things that don’t contribute directly to the success of your business. In other words, if you are wearing 10 hats at work that include, sales, marketing, accounting, human resources, operations, etc., figure out how you can delegate or outsource these items and perhaps gain an additional 30% of  your work week back. Maybe you’ll use that time to develop new products, focus on driving revenue or even, take some time off. This is the time for you to plan how to work smarter, not harder.

2. Spend More. Earn More. Although many businesses look at this time of year to tighten budgets, it’s also a good time to evaluate which expenses are helping you grow your business and which ones are just keeping the lights on. If you know that hiring another sales person would increase your revenue and cover the costs of the new hire, that’s where you need to invest. If you saw an uptick in sales after last year’s trade show, plan to increase the number of shows you attend. If your employees seem happier and more productive now that you offer free meals at work, keep the food coming.

3. Experiment. If you are rolling in the dough and completely satisfied with your business, well then, why try anything new? But, if you are like most entrepreneurs, you never feel truly satiated. Take a good look at your businesses and figure out what you could be doing that you are not doing and set aside some financial and human resources to experiment with. This may be an investment in new product or service development, direct marketing, social media or some other activity that could provide a significant payoff if done right. Stagnation is the kiss of death for most businesses so constantly experimenting and finding new opportunities can lead to new revenue sources, productivity increases or cost deflection.

4. Execute. Execute. Execute. If you ask, most CEOs will tell you that they know exactly what needs to be done in order for them to be more successful. The problem is that the business plan gathers dust instead of being executed. Make this year the year of action. Take the business plan out of the filing cabinet and focus everyday on bringing it to fruition. Allocate the time, team and money to make it happen – including aggressive deadlines – and hold yourself and everyone in your company accountable.

5. Meet Your Future Customers. It’s true that it takes more effort to bring in a new customer than to keep an existing customer but, your business can’t expand unless you are constantly ringing the new business bell. Moreover, with natural customer attrition, your business may actually shrink if you are only keeping your current customers satisfied. If you don’t have a plan for new customer acquisition, you need to get one today. Short-lead direct marketing emphasizes trackable, measurable results that call on your prospects to take action now. Long-lead tactics like public relations can help plant a seed of awareness so that prospects will call on you when they are ready to make a purchasing decision. Whether your budget is large or small, there are so many channels to help you reach your target audience that it should never be an obstacle.

I hope these tips help you achieve your 2013 business goals – which I assume you have already set. And if you haven’t, that’s recommendation number 6: Set Your Goals.  And when you meet them, raise the bar even further.

Photo Credit: Tarale

Sandra Fathi

Sandra Fathi has spent the last 20 years helping technology, healthcare and professional services companies achieve their goals. As President and Founder of Affect, a public relations, marketing and social media agency, Sandra has successfully led the company with consistent growth since the agency’s inception in 2002.Sandra is also active in the communications industry and professional community. She has been a board member of the PR Council and has served as Chair of PRSA’s Tri-State District, President of PRSA-NY and President of the PRSA Technology Section. Adding to her accolades, Sandra has been recognized as one of PRNews’ Top Women in PR, a PRNews PR Professional of the Year finalist, and a Bulldog PR Agency Professional of the Year.