I have my mailbox at a UPS store just a couple blocks from my home office. This franchise, takes great care of me, from mailing my Zappo's returns to keeping my packages when I'm out of town.
2013 New Year's Resolutions for Small Business
- Assess your business plan. Wait a minute....do you even have a business plan? How about a marketing plan? This is the time to look at the big picture, set goals for the year and really put some thought into where you want to go in 2013.
- Incorporate new ideas. Even if you’re not in a position to market your products or services to a new audience, fresh thinking reflects your ability to evolve and adapt to change. Better yet, delve deeper into the minds and habits of your customers to find new ways to build longer term relationships.
- Network. Most businesses forget about partnering when it comes to marketing and promotion. Create an informal "coop" with complimentary businesses or, as the UPS folks recommend, just reach out to create more word-of-mouth recommendations.
- Stay current. Spend some time researching the latest technology trends but also try to understand what your competitors are doing in your space, as well as industry trends. Make a commitment to read the latest blogs or newsletters in your industry once a week.
- Make a resolution to market yourself. Too many small businesses fail on the notion that "if we build it they will come." Create a long-term marketing plan that you really believe in. Then don't be impatient, and stick to it. Marketing takes time.
This isn't a comprehensive list of 2013 New Year's resolutions, but its a good one. Here's one last one from me.
Don't be defensive. If you're having customer service or delivery issues, scrap the marketing plan and work on your internal operations first. I see too many businesses spending thousands to acquire new clients, only to lose them right away because of poor service. Or small businesses lose customers because they try to explain away every problem as something they couldn't control. See every unhappy customer or broken process as an opportunity to improve. Grit your teeth and learn how to listen to feedback objectively while asking more probing questions.
Finally, learn to say "I understand why you're upset. How can I make this right?" This is perhaps one of the best 2013 New Year's resolutions you can make as a small business owner.
If you'd like to see The UPS Store's original list of tips, or to find other resources for small business, visit The UPS Store’s Small Business Solutions site.