New Year’s Small Business Booster Plan
It’s almost upon us. Can you feel it? The New Year, that is. This time of year brings more than those dreaded resolutions. It provides entrepreneurs with the chance to re-evaluate business and to plan ahead. Luckily, each month of 2012 allows you the opportunity to put real steps into action; consider your next free calendar a chance to build a business boosting plan for the New Year!
January: Evaluate the Good & the Bad
When the calendar flips to January 1st, you get a shiny new year to fill up with business excitement. Before you start selling in the new year, however, take a peek at the year just left behind.
What sold well and what didn’t? Now is the time to weed out the dead-weight products that didn’t pull in enough sales. Focus, instead, on what did sell well, and brainstorm ways to build on those best-sellers.
February: Create a Product Plan
Every business needs a big dollop of fresh offerings from time to time. Now that you know what your best selling products are, think of fresh new products to add that will compliment what already sells well. What can you add to your business that is new and exciting? Consider products and services that pique the interest of repeat customers and new ones, as well.
March: Perfect Your Marketing
Your 2011 marketing efforts deserve a good going-over, too. Consider all of the marketing you did in 2011, both free and paid, and see what netted the best results. If you’ve decided to change up your product line a bit, think about new avenues of marketing to reflect the changes you’ve made. Make a list. What marketing will you stop doing? What will you try again, and what new marketing efforts will you participate in?
April: Arm Yourself for Summer
The summer months can be lean for some businesses. If yours is one of them, now is the time to figure out how you’ll keep your business afloat. Take a look at your financials for the upcoming year and see what changes you can make to keep more money for slow-selling times. Consider cutting expenses or finding lower-priced (but still effective) service providers, like internet services or suppliers.
May: Pitch the Press
Spring and summer are great times to start talking to the press about your business. Many magazines and blogs are looking for products and businesses to feature in winter editions—namely, holiday editions! Grab your list of marketing musts for 2012 (that list you made in March) and start pitching the media on your list. Don’t forget to include radio and television media if they apply to you, as well as print and online magazines and blogs.
June: Search Engine Optimization Time!
Search engine optimization, as you know, is time consuming to implement. And it also takes time for any SEO changes you’ve made to show up in search engines. Go ahead and tweak your SEO now; change keywords or add new ones and start building back-links with other related websites and blogs. By the time the busy winter shopping season begins, your SEO changes should be in effect!
July: Fine Tuning
Six months of the New Year have already passed! Can you believe it? Take a peek back and see how the changes you’ve made are working. Have you found any major glitches or mistakes that need to be fixed? With the winter shopping season coming up, make any needed business tweaks or changes now.
August: Get Ready for the Holidays
Only three months to go until the busy holiday shopping season! Now is the time to roll out any additional new products you may be adding to your mix. In addition, start preparing to build inventory on best-selling items so you have a good stockpile for holiday shopping.
September: Social Media Month
Have you been keeping up with your social media circles?
Social media can take a lot of your time, but it’s a wonderful promotional tool not to be overlooked. Immerse yourself in your social media groups, like Facebook and Twitter, with intention. Have great content and ideas to share, to keep your followers engaged. Make time each day to work on social media, but don’t waste time (stick to your social media time budget!) If you blog, be sure to update frequently and increase your reader following.
October: More Holiday Preparations
Alright. Now holiday shopping really is right around the corner. Prepare your business by stocking up on essentials, like packaging materials, business cards, office supplies, and any inventory you haven’t ordered yet. If you sell handmade products, boost your production to finalize your inventory if possible.
November: Get Help
If your business typically experiences a surge in sales during the holiday rush, now is the time to consider getting some help. Each year is different for holiday sales; however, if you’ve experienced a rush in the past or expect to in the coming year, it’s time to hire an assistant. Consider getting help with packaging and shipping, emails, phone calls, or any other tasks that can quickly get out of control.
December: Tidy Up
Your business year has come full circle! As the month of December winds down along with the holiday buying rush, take time to finish loose ends and restock your store. Don’t forget to breathe and take time to relax. December brings the chance to look back on 2012 and see the results of your changes and efforts. Then, you can start the circle over again by looking ahead once more.