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Another Year, How'd You Do?

Tips to Make 2014 Business Better

Ready to make 2014 look different and better than 2013?  Here are some of the things I plan to change as well as some practical advice.  Perhaps some of it will resonate with you. This applies to any and all types of businesses. 

2013:  Spent way too much time working with businesses that had no real potential or worst of all, they weren’t committed to making things better.

2014:  Will work with businesses that want to move forward and are “committed” to make their business grow.  When interviewing small business prospects for my media / marketing consulting business, make sure they have set aside a “real budget” to move forward.  And it’s not the amount of money budgeted, but rather a commitment to move forward with a plan to see it through and not change their minds during the process.

2013:  Spent time working with business folks who are “dreamers” and not business people.

2014:  Nothing wrong with dreams but if you’re seriously in business, you better have goals and objectives that are real.  I plan to interview prospective new clients and ask hard questions to determine the reality of their situation.

2013:  I wasted a lot of time in networking groups that didn’t and will never benefit my business.

2014:  Research the best networking groups that will benefit me by looking at member rosters.  Join groups that invite the type of businesses that make up my primary group of prospects.  

2013:  I worked with too many businesses that drained my energy and time. 

2014:  Work with prospective clients who have positive energy and a clear cut willingness to move forward with their businesses even if it calls for some tough changes.

2013:  Never sign full year agreements with anyone for advertising or marketing programs without first testing for results.  

2014:  You are much better off paying full rate for a test when using new media or marketing program or channel.  Don’t look for discounts when testing programs.  It may cost you a little more, but you’re far better off in the long run if the results just aren’t there after a 3-month trial period.

2013:  Don’t spend ANY dollars on programs that haven’t lived up to your expectation in 2013.  EVALUATE results from media/marketing/social media.  If it didn’t move the needle, then DROP IT! 

2014:  Open your door to ALL new ideas for on-line and off-line media and marketing programs.  Make promotional decisions based on fact, not fiction and certainly not HOPE.  Corollary:  Don’t feel like you have to participate in promotions because other businesses are doing it.  What works for YOU?

2013:  Did you work with vendors that didn’t deliver what they promised?  Drop them.

2014:  Always check out vendors head of time by asking their existing or past customers.  And don’t get all lazy and ask the vendor for referrals, they will only give you the ‘inside guys’.  Find out for yourself.  

2013:  Did you measure results on all the advertising/marketing, on and off line?  This is especially important with social media.  It’s great to see your posts on Facebook and get Twitter messages —- but don’t be swayed by a thick report of metrics that you don’t understand.  The answer is simple:  did it make a difference that YOU CAN SEE???

2014:  If you can’t measure it – DON’T DO IT!

This is the time to discover and test new media and marketing programs.  There are lots to choose from both in traditional media and social media.  A smart idea is to use multi-channels, off-line and on-line that work to support each other to deliver your brand and your message.  

Whatever you decide to do in 2014, make it different than what you did in 2013 unless your results were excellent.  In that case, don’t change a thing.  Most importantly, be honest with yourself and make choices that increase your business.  Trust your intuition:  if it feels right, it’s probably smart to do, but it you have ANY RESERVATIONS, and I mean ANY, just don’t do it.  You’d be surprised how smart you are if you just go with your gut.  

Happy New Year everyone.  Make this the best year ever!