Every year I vow to do things a little differently than the previous year. It’s always good to look back at the year and reflect on what worked, what didn’t work, and what changes you can make going forward.
As with any business though, there are things that need to be done to make sure that these changes will be successful and prosperous for me. These are tips that anyone can apply to make changes to their business and you don’t need a new year to kick yourself into motion.
Until now I’ve privately journaled most of my thoughts on what I want to do in the upcoming year but this year I thought I’d share a few of the ways I’m changing business in 2012.
Set Goals – You can’t expect a new year to come (or a new business quarter) and not have goals in place to reflect it. You should always be thinking about achieving new business goals. Regardless of if you want to increase your income (who doesn’t?) or if you’re just looking to expand your services. Set the goals you want to achieve and map out the steps to make the goal attainable. My goals this year are simple; expand, market, increase income, and educate myself.
More Social Media Services - I love that I’ve started branched out from writing to social media and consulting. It was a natural development from my days of commuting and customer service and it’s given me the opportunity to consult with a few companies this year. Because of that shift I’m going to expand my business to include social media consulting as part of my writing business. So often I’m asked to write for a company or brand and then it gets mentioned that they’d really love to know how to promote that writing on Facebook or Twitter. That’s where I come in and I’m going to show them how to do it.
Expanding by Staying Close to Home - Some of the social media consulting I’ve done has been with local businesses, including taking on a role as social media director. I love having the chance to see the businesses I frequent begin promoting themselves online and it makes sense to me to offer my services to them. Writing for local companies has always been on the forefront of my business and while it’s wonderful that I’ve had the chance to work with large brands, I’d really like to make small local businesses one of my priorities in 2012.
Market More – No one is going to know you exsist if you don’t market yourself. Set up a time each day (or however many days fit into your schedule) just for marketing. Have a list of places you want to market to – for me it’s going to be companies that I believe have a need for quality writing services. In going along with my plans to offer more social media services, I’m going to include those just getting involved in social media as well. I’ve already penciled in 30 minutes 3 days a week into January to scope out new potential clients and let them know that not only am I out there but that they need me.
Set Rates – As the need for your services increases, it’s important to evaluate your rates and even set new ones if necessary. In the past I’ve offered a “per piece” rate for writing but as more companies want more in depth, fresh content that includes social media promotion, it’s become obvious that I need to change how I’m charging for my services. If you’re doing more work then it’s important to make sure your rates reflect the time you’re putting in to get the job done. Think of it this way, would the mechanic only charge you for the oil change if he did that, plus a brake job and rotated the tires?
Keep Learning – There’s always something new to learn and there’s nothing wrong with improving your skill set. In fact, it’s foolish to think that you know everything there is to know about your business and there’s nothing new to discover. If you write within a niche – take the time to learn more about that niche. If you work in marketing, brush up on social media for business. I don’t want to allow a great customer to get away to the guy who is more in tune with what’s going on than I am so I’m scheduling some continuing education classes and seminars that will help me reach the goals I’ve set and give my customers the kind of attention they deserve.
I’m fairly confident that by making these changes that I’ll be able to offer my customers a better experience and better results.
How are you changing up business in 2012?