The start of a new year is always a great opportunity to improve how we approach business. Here are the to 5 tips to get you started in the new year.
1) Communicate, always!
Whether you receive an email or a phone message, get back in touch! An unresponsive attitude will brand you in a very negative way. Remember the saying “The way you do one thing is how you do everything”… well, it’s true!
Make sure your communication goes hand in hand with how you want your business to be perceived: Receptive? Engaging? Caring? Whichever perception you want to convey, show it across all your communications touch points!
2) Learn a new digital skill
This is similar to ‘working on your business’. Whether or not you engage professionals to help you out in those areas you are too busy to do yourself, learning a digital skill will empower you to see opportunities to grow or consolidate your current business. Things you could learn:
- How to use Social Media. And for this, you’ll need to learn how to update and brand your personal and business profiles. Which channels are most appropriate for you. In the digital age, there’s no separation between you as a business and you as a person. People will look you up online, what are they going to find?
- Email marketing systems: to allow you to be in contact with your clients. Did you know you can integrate these technology on your business website? This helps automate the process of capturing emails and create and grow your precious marketing list.
Learning how this works will give you a strategic advantage! See MailChimp, Constant Contact, Campaigner.
- Organise yourself using apps (app is short for application): do you keep on forgetting things or need to get organise? There’s an app for that! Check out Evernote and Trello. Or, do you struggle remembering your passwords? There’s Lasspass. Or, tired of using an outdated accounting system? Check out Xero.
3) Focus on optimising your business systems
Chances are, there is something that can be improved but you are always too busy to implement. For example: how are your invoices working? Are they easy to read by your customers? Think of integrating an automated credit card payment link onto your invoices. What does this have to do with branding you might think? Well, a big part of a business branding has to do with the ‘journey’ you take your clients. Make it easy and accessible (and get paid faster!).
4) Engage in Social Media
If you haven’t yet started, make 2017 you starting year. Your world will broaden and if you are socially smart, you will also see business opportunities happening naturally for you. But before you jump right in trying to promote and sell services or products, you need to develop your personal branding. This starts by networking. Good places to start are LinkedIn and Facebook business groups (did you read point 2?)
Building your personal brand in social media takes time. Why not start now? You’ll then have an asset when the time comes to sell your business: your social media brand active and thriving.
5) Invest in professional photos of you and your business.
Avoid glamorous shots (unless of course, your daily working life is glamorous!) There’s nothing worse than meeting somebody in person, and not being able to recognise him/her from their online profiles. A natural photo goes a long way when connecting your business to your audience. Keep it real.