Every New Year, we make plans and set goals for what we'd like to accomplish. Our enthusiasm to accomplish those plans and goals, generally lasts about as long as it does for us to create the list. Why not keep things simple for a change and focus on doing one thing better than we did last year? Do something different. Step out of the box not only with the goal you set, but HOW you go about achieving it. Take one goal and break it down into the smallest of steps, work on it daily and stay committed to its completion. Here are 10 innovative ideas that you can focus on in the New Year...
Plan for a BIG announcement. We will "dangle the carrot" at the end of 2010 as an introduction to the launch announcement in January 2011. The event is in June but in this economy you have to offer early bird incentives, multiple payment programs and lots of lead-time for planning. It is a big change from the impulsive nature of people 2-3 years ago. Extensive planning, multiple payment plans, doing things for your customer instead of expecting them to “take the bull by the horns.” Karen Schaefer, www.APSDmembers.com
Take technology by storm. I've been writing iPhone apps since earlier this year. It's been a great experience and a new way to pick up extra income. I've got one app on the market, another on the way and a bunch of ideas in the head. It seems that's much easier to pick up revenue this way than the traditional way of pitching editors, waiting for their response, getting an assignment, writing the piece and then waiting another 45 days to get a check. Mary Beth, http://tiny.cc/wFJK6
Reach out for professional support and guidance. My 10-year-old medium-size transcription company does about $2 million a year. In preparation for 2011, I am for the first time assembling a "Board of Advisors." I have drafted 4 questions regarding pressing issues we are having (one on sales, one on finance, one on technology and one on succession). I'm having dinner with 12 advisors from my networking contacts who have accepted my invitation to meet and give input on these questions. It is a great way for professionals to meet each other, but also I get feedback that helps me set goals for the coming year and take those ideas back to my executive staff and plan for a banner 2011! I pay for dinner/drinks, but otherwise the input is free. Examples of invitees: CPA, financial planner, IT company owner, social media expert, outside sales veteran, business valuation expert, HR professional, and my personal business coach. Lisa Pike, www.scriberighttranscription.com
Position yourself as an authority! 1. Stand for something different. 2. Be a provider of free and valuable information. 3. Jump into social media but remember, social Media doesn’t work unless you do it right! Michael Van Osch, thinktankmen.com
Budget more. Worry less. Connect more. I plan to budget more conservatively, utilize social networking more, not expect the economy to grow quickly and join two more professional organizations. Diane Katz, www.TheWorkingCircle.com
Open your borders and adjust your business model. We are finding the money in other countries rather than wait for it to come in. I have participated on several trade missions this year to Russia and have spoken in London and attended a show in Paris, etc. Also, this year saw the development of a new business model including different pricing, less resources, etc. next year might require re-tooling again. The real watch-phrase is "new normal". What was odd in the past will seem normal today. Lloyd Princeton, www.dmcnyc.com
Mobile marketing. Mobile marketing is growing at lightning speed, faster than even social medias growth. So it must be tapped into quick! I am developing Apps for my perfume sites and signing up with companies through which I can send instant offers. Sonny Ahuja, http://www.grandperfumes.com/
It’s all in how you say it! Small business owners can always work on their message and find a better way to tell their story. I can't say enough how important this is. Mission? Vision statement? Business Plan? Forget it. We spent countless hours refining, honing, and debating. For 2011, we have brand essence: "Tombolo connects" and a call to action: "get outside & live!" Anything else just muddles the message. Jimmy Tomczak, www.paper-feet.com
Who’s watching the money? With the New Year quickly approaching, there are many important business decisions that we are focusing on in an attempt to position our company for continued future success. The management of our finances and our existing banking relationships is an area that we are currently evaluating. Our company has had a long-standing relationship with a major commercial bank, however, in evaluating the interest rates that we are currently receiving from them, we are considering a change right after the New Year. Local commercial savings banks are providing better interest rates that will help our money grow in the New Year. It is imperative that you keep an eye on these business relationships and not get complacent. Adam Rauch, www.onelineagency.com
Work smarter, not harder. In 2011 small business owners need to invest in developing human capital. While it seems at first blush to be counter-intuitive, the truth is that small business owners have already invested in the software, infrastructure and processes that are designed to streamline their business. The next step for them to take is to assure that they, and their people, are working "smarter, not harder" and gain efficiencies in their own performance. Melissa Thomas-Dubois, www.azzarellogroup.com
Got an easy innovative idea to share? Post it in the comments!
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For over 18 years, Simplicity Mastered™ founder and CEO A. Michelle Blakeley has owned or managed small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Expert in her field, Blakeley personally guides her clients out of their Business Brain Freeze™ to streamline operations, increase return on investment, and attain quantifiable results. Forbes.com and FinancialPost.com each recommended her as one of 30 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter, joining the experts who know that Blakeley is a master at growing small businesses … and doing it with “Simplicity.”