For many Americans, the start of the New Year is synonymous with resolutions, new beginnings, and vows not to repeat old mistakes. Small business owners should have a similar mindset when looking forward to 2011. Last year, we gave you business goals to focus on for 2010. This year, we spotlight the small business tips that will help you make more profitable gains in 2011.
Work to Win-Over Consumers
As the economy continues to slowly, but steadily improve, consumers and other businesses are starting to buy again - but they've learned their lesson. In 2011, spending wisely is going to be a top priority, so, as a small business, you need to be especially cognizant of your customers' needs and expectations and focus on improving your customer service. If your products or services fall below par, your business will hear about it - and so will the rest of your target audience. Consumers are turning to product ratings and online reviews to determine what and where they will purchase, so keep your customers happy to keep your small business booming.
Invest & Grow Wisely
Business may be on the upswing, but the future of the market is certainly not one that's cut and dry. Now may not be the time to make high-risk investments, but don't refuse to grow entirely. According to Entrepreneur.com, 71 percent of small businesses are still waiting out the economy dip before they expand. This all-too-cautious attitude of the majority is leaving the door wide open for their less-guarded counterparts. Now is the time to take calculated steps toward business growth. It will be useful for you to consult an advisory board when opportunities for growth arise. The insights and recommendations of these stakeholders within your industry will increase the likelihood that your new business ventures will be profitable. But, just in case, have a contingency plan in place in the event that your investment doesn't produce the desired results.
Social Media isn't the New Kid on the Block Anymore
As with most trends, once the novelty fades, only the best and brightest will continue to thrive. Social media marketing is no different. The explosion of social media had everyone itching to join the conversation, which means that now, the channels are flooded with content and consumers can't and won't listen to it all. As social media users become increasingly finicky about who they let into their information stream, the small business brands with lackluster content will get cut from consumers' social networks. Social media marketing is a method that often requires professional guidance in order to be successful, so make these considerations before determining whether or not to start or continue your social media marketing efforts.
Keep Your Eye on Expiring Incentives
In an effort to bolster the economy, many government incentives for businesses have been put in place over the past few years. Though many of these had an expiration date of 2010, some may be extended through 2011. Keep tabs on these tax cuts and other incentives so your business can take full advantage. IRS.gov lists current business tax information so you can stay aware of current and upcoming tax breaks.
By staying informed and making calculated decisions, you'll give your small business the best possible chance for survival. With that, here's a toast to you, your small business and a very prosperous year to come.
Labels: Business Tips