Don’t plan too far Ahead
Business changes so fast that it’s better to have shorter planning horizons. We typically only make 1-2 month-long investment plans – with a view for the longterm goals – and then revisit every few weeks to fine-tune those decisions. As a result, we were very capital efficient in 2013. We spent wisely – not penny-wise – but definitely not “pound foolish” either. As a result, we were able to demonstrate that to our investors, and that inspired their confidence to invest in us.
Sanjeev Agrawal, CollegeFeed.com
Turn Work Away
I have learned that the worst client or project is the one you only took for the money. If you do not feel passionate about what you are doing, than you will never do the best job you can. When things were slow, I decided to branch out and take on clients that were completely out of my bailiwick. The clients were great but, because I wasn’t emotionally invested in the projects, I felt I couldn’t knock it out of the park. If you core competency is “X” then don’t do “Y” just because the money is good. Wait for “X” to come along and then kick some major booty! I also found that I was spending twice the amount of time on these clients because I didn’t really know what I was doing.. I spent hours educating myself about their business and the market. Way more time than what I was being paid. Coupled with the fact that I wasn’t feeling passionate about the projects…well, it was a recipe for disaster. The clients left feeling somewhat disappointed and I was 10x more disappointed in myself. In short: If you don’t love it, don’t do it! From now on, I ONLY take on projects that I love. I highly recommend it.
Andrea Burnett, AndreaBurnett.com
Be very wary of Outsourcing your Social Media Efforts
When you outsource your social media outreach efforts, you often sacrifice quality for quantity, and in the past year we discovered that if we take our social media efforts in house and spend less time on posting but more time on developing great content and promoting that, we have much better results and feedback.
Jeff Kear, PlanningPod.com/
Nothing Will Ever be Perfect
I plan to focus on growth and strive for perfection with the knowledge that nothing will ever be perfect. In 2013, I always worked hard to make sure that everything was 100% perfect, but I know that if I keep growing at a 90% rate that is 90% perfect, I will get a lot farther than I did last year. In short, I plan to always accept the 95% rule: it will never be perfect, so move on and then circle back at a later time.
Eli Mechlovitz, GlassTileStore.com
Do Not Undervalue Yourself
In 2013 my mindset was that I had to be cheaper to get any business coming through the door, but in reality I was only attracting clients who wanted a deal and were penny pinchers. In 2014 I will throw this mentality out the window and price myself competitively so that I can truly grow my business and attract my target clientele. Just because you are starting a business doesn’t mean you need to be ridiculously cheaper than your competitors.
Jenna Bechtholt, JennaBechtholt.com
Call Instead of Email
I had been emailing an associate trying to schedule a meeting, and got nowhere. I called and got to talk to her-we had a great 10 minute conversation; I learned a hell of a lot more than I would have from any email; and, we are now scheduled to meet with “her people” and “my people” to discuss how to work together going forward. In just the two weeks I have changed this one thing, I have seen things moving forward much faster (no longer waiting for them to email me back; partial messages; no personality involved; etc., etc.) and I feel more connected to them when we are done. Back to the old; out with the new! Technology is great to get certain things done, but I got away from personal contact too far, and I can now see it had a negative impact on my business.
Bill Parker, CPA, ParkerGaleTeam.com
Pay Less Attention to Facebook
Dare I say it…but yeah…Facebook has become the largest collection of random statements no one cares about. It is great for staying in touch with real friends and family, and that is all. The ultimate trend I have spotted is that there is going to be a movement towards people creating things offline again, and using online tools to connect with “people” to work with them offline. Why? Less than 30% of consumers trust what they read online. We want face to face reassurance that the people we talk and work with are human
Steven Lowell, Bodalgo.com
I plan 33% of my time to work ON my business and not in it: new leads, nurturing client relationships, strategizing and reviewing my numbers. Based on this above assumption: I will NOT play things as close to the vest: assuming a client will pay on time, that our latest promo will knock it out of the park. By assuming things will cost more money and more time and the revenue will be lower I’m going to have automatically created a nice time/money bonus cushion with little extra effort.”
Marley Majcher, MarleyMajcher.com
Many small business owners try to do it all, but leveraging their time is what will help their business grow. Last thing is don’t be attracted to the shiny objects that are time killers. Stay focused on the strategy you have already laid out, follow through and adjust along the way when needed. This will help you achieve goals.
Brian Ford, BlessedWithBusinessGrowth.com
I learned not to try to focus on EVERY social media platform, but rather to focus on a few and make sure to keep up with those consistently. Twitter and LinkedIn are the two I focused on primarily in 2013, with Google+ right on their heels. It may vary based on what your business is, but when you try to focus on too many, you tend to get overwhelmed and end up doing little or nothing. This happens with many of my small business clients.
Michelle Messenger Garrett, www.michellegarrett.com
Work ON my Business, Rather than IN my Business
I’m a self-published author, and while writing more books is great, I also need to focus on selling the one that is already out there to as many distribution platforms as possible. This includes selling foreign rights to different countries. While my artistic-self wants to keep writing and being creative, I also need my business-self to prioritize the marketing and sales strategies. I can survive with little money, but I cannot thrive. I want to thrive in 2014.
Derek Padula, TheDaoofDragonball.com