It’s the start of a fresh new year, with 2012 less than a week old. Here are 20 actions to do over the next few weeks to ensure your business gets off to a flying start for the year ahead.
- Call one of your biggest clients and wish them a happy new year. No catch, no sales spiel, simply call and thank them for their business and wish them a happy new year. This will be genuine and a great way to reinforce your relationship.
- Run a report in your accounting package to determine who spent how much with you last calendar year. Print out the top 10 clients and ensure you give them extra special treatment.
- Using the same list, look at the bottom ten spenders. Do you see a few that seem to take up a lot of your time, yet their spending doesn’t reflect this? Perhaps you should consider letting these clients move on, so to speak. Don’t leave them in the lurch though – send through names of suppliers that will look after them well.
- Schedule in a time in your calendar every week to spend on marketing. It could literally be half an hour to write a blog post, or an hour a week to attend a networking event.
- Call a client that you haven’t done any work for in the last twelve months and say hello. Offer to catch up over a coffee (your shout) and enquire how their business is going, and how you could help.
- Cast a critical eye over your own website. Can you spot any improvements that you should be making? Schedule some time over the coming month to get these done, and ensure your website is in tip-top shape for 2012.
- Look at overhauling your email signature, to include a line with services you offer. It’s amazing how often clients don’t realize the full spread of services a supplier may provide.
- Rekindle a relationship with an old friend. If there’s someone who you haven’t seen socially for a while, call or email them and invite them to meet for a coffee or meal. Being happier in your social life means you’ll be more productive in business life too.
- Schedule your leave for the year. That’s right: I’m ordering you to take a holiday. Plan when a good time would be, and mark your calendar with the dates now. It gives you a goal to work towards, and ensures you take time to refresh yourself.
- If you have employees, take a moment to share your vision for the year ahead. A ship with the whole crew working towards the same goals gets there faster than a ship with a crew kept in the dark.
- Buy yourself some new professional attire. It’s important to always look the part, and if you haven’t bought some new shirts or clothes in a while, this may be just what you need to feel more confident in what you do.
- Write a list of goals for the year. I’ve written about this a few times, including my last newsletter for 2011. Take time to have an action list and stick to it.
- Start a new healthy habit. Maybe an early morning walk or making time for a healthy lunch each day. Whatever it is, the start of the year is a good time as any to build a new habit. Healthier means more productive and happier too.
- Thank your employees. A big complaint amongst full time workers is the lack of appreciation they often feel. Take a moment to verbally thank a colleague or employee for their hard efforts – they will appreciate the gesture.
- Look at your top ten clients (point two above). What makes them different than those further down your profitability list? Look at ways you could advertise or market yourself to more of those sorts of clients, and less of the low spenders.
- Ask a colleague to review a recent proposal or pitch document. Get them to provide critical feedback on what works and what doesn’t. Make changes to your documents to make them sell and read better than the ones you used in 2011.
- Buy a book on a topic you want to learn about this year. It could be developing mobile sites, a how-to primer for HTML5 or more accounting or productivity knowledge – order it now and start reading it as soon as it arrives.
- Using the same list I mentioned before, look at the next group of clients, the ‘B group’, so to speak. What services are our ‘A Group’ using that your ‘B Group’ should? Contact them and market these particular services to them: you’ll end up with more clients in that A group than before.
- Look at the list of goals you had at the start of 2011 – is there still one or two you haven’t crossed off? Make a point to dive into these straight away.
- Take time to enjoy life – your world shouldn’t just revolve around work. Learn a new language, take up a hobby or visit with friends more often.
If you complete all 20 of the actions above, I am absolutely positive that you’ll be putting your business in a better stead for the coming year. Best of luck with 2012!
As Director of Bam Creative, and Chairperson of the Australian Web Industry Association, Miles spends his time managing his business or speaking about managing businesses. Recently awarded as one of the top Western Australian entrepreneurs under 40 years old, Miles can also be found writing at his blog.
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