Originally written January 1, 2005. Updated May 7, 2021.
It's never too late to look at what you are doing and how you can improve your processes. Growing a small business, maintaining your current clients, is usually at top of mind, and here are seven evergreen tips to get you started.
You're not a one-person show, so consider delegating your responsibilities. You are the expert in your industry, but that doesn't mean you should continue to focus your efforts on things best left to others—this includes marketing, website maintenance, legal matters, even purchasing office supplies! You may save money and learn something in the long run.
It's easy to get lost in the day-to-day operations of our businesses, but that doesn't mean we should stop planning. Take some time on a regular basis—you may find weekly, biweekly or even monthly works for you best—to search out new opportunities, read an industry magazine online, attend a seminar or revise your business plan. It's always better to plan when business is up, rather than when it's down.
Share your expertise or product with a needy group; you'll get a write-off and great exposure, and they'll get your much-needed work. People always remember where they got a break...
Promote your business often, and consistently.
Check out how your logo is represented on your web site, your stationery, your marketing materials: Is it the same throughout? Differing looks confuse viewers [is this you, or your competitor?] and confuse your brand. Update your web site as often as you can, with success stories, expert tips and articles and fresh design elements.
Take time out for yourself, and let your employees do the same.
If you or your coworkers are overworked, it's not a good recipe for furthering your business. Schedule some downtime in every week.
Take stock of your current marketing and networking efforts, and drop what's not working for you. What can you do in the new year? Keep reading my newsletter (signup is below), and give me a call if you need some suggestions.
Visit a new networking group... even virtually.
One of the best networking tips I've ever heard advised one to join or visit six different types of networking groups if you really want to be seen: Two for your specific industry or job, two for general networking, and two in industries that have nothing to do with what you or any of your clients/competitors do. You never know where that next great lead or friendship may develop.
What's your go-to tip?