City of Largo, Florida
December 30 Story of the Week
December 30 Story of the Week
Ten New Year's Resolutions for Your Business
Every year around the holidays, it's natural to start thinking of a New Year's resolution. You may have started a list of goals for your personal life, but what about resolutions for your professional life? Before you start counting the ways in which you can improve your bottom line, try to make your goals achievable so you can feel good about reaching them at the end of next year. While you will want to tailor your resolutions to your own business, here are some ideas to get your started.
Dust off the old business plan. Figure out how to move forward and set some new goals. If you want to increase sales, or increase your client base, set a quantifiable number that is feasible. Look over your past years of sales and aim just a bit higher. If you were able to get a new line of credit, what would you do with it? Re-evaluate your range of services or offerings, and take another look at your marketing and advertising budget. In Pinellas County, you can receive free counseling and business advice to get your business plan up to date. The Service Corps of Retired Executives, also known as SCORE, offers free confidential business advice in person or via e-mail. You can visit the SCORE Pinellas website to make an appointment.
Work smarter, not harder. There are many tools now available online for productivity and several of them are free or practically free. Look at tools that help you share your documents, track your money, track the time you spend with clients, or monitor visitor analytics on your social sites. Of course, your business may eventually grow out of some of the free tools, but be sure to check out all the affordable upgrade options. If you are a start up tech company that brings in under $1 million annually, Microsoft's BizSpark Program offers free access to software and cloud computing. Free online file sharing and file storage programs such as Evernote and Google Docs, allow you to create and share your work online and access to documents from anywhere. Websites such as Indinero provides money management programs to help make accounting easy.
Learn something new. Learning a new technical skill or engaging in a new unrelated work activity is good for work-life balance. If you participate in a team activity or learn a new instrument you may find your stress level going down. Participating in new activities may lead to meeting new friends, colleagues or customers. The City of Largo offers many classes through the Recreation, Parks and Arts Department for very reasonable rates at various recreation facilities, at the cultural center, parks and sports complexes. Visit www.PlayLargo.com for more information. You can also visit the Pinellas County Economic Development webpage, for information on free or low cost classes about various topics including accounting, Quickbooks, marketing and other class offerings.
Become more active in your community. Find a cause to donate your time or money to. Make 2012 the year to be a mentor or volunteer to make your community a better place to live, work and play. Being involved with non-profit organizations or in civic life will increase your professional reputation and build goodwill. There are opportunities to volunteer in Largo with the Friends of the Largo Library , Volunteers in Policing , SPCA, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and other very worthwhile organizations in the community.
Do your social networking in person. Business is driven by referrals and connections. Join a new business organization or networking group. You may forge valuable relationships and find share advice with other business owners. There are many opportunities in Largo for networking including events held by the Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce, Old Northwest, and through events held by Pinellas County Economic Development. Why not start your own local business association?
Get prepared for tax time early. Take the time this year to get your business in order early or on time. Find a way to organize your receipts, e-mails, and other forms. If you can, organize your books from day one or find a small business to help you with your accounting.
Keep your customers engaged. Your social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are meant to drive traffic to your website. If you want to keep potential customers visiting your website, keep your content up-to-date and interesting. If you blog, keep your posts relevant and easy to read.
Delegate more. There is an old saying that goes "if you want something done right, do it yourself", however, why set yourself up to sweat over the small stuff? Certain tasks are better left to be handled by contractors, virtual assistants, or a staff person. Create guidelines to train staff, or hire someone that is competent and experienced in your field. By delegating tasks, you will have more free time to do what you do best - bring in more revenue. If you need assistance recruiting employes or if you are interested in on the job training incentives and other incentives for employers, contact WorkNet Pinellas for assistance. Each year, approximately 3,500 business call on WorkNet Pinellas for guidance.
Be an expert in your field. You know your business inside and out, why not be the "go to person" in your field? Dedicate 2012 to becoming an expert by being a guest speaker, a lecturer, a mentor, a guest blogger or columnist, and increase your social media presence.
Pledge to shop local whenever possible. If you are an advocate of small business, it makes sense to practice what you preach. Take a second look at your current vendors and service providers for opportunities to find a local provider. Often times, you'll find that local businesses give better service and you'll also encourage local prosperity. Check out the business directory at www.largochamber.org and at www.discoverlargo.com .
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