New Year's Resolutions From the Experts
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
So the new year is a couple of weeks old now. Plenty of time to have broken all of your resolutions for your business. The good news is this: We asked our experts what entrepreneurs' resolutions should be, and they delivered. The even better news is this: You still have 50 weeks left to implement these resolutions and make this year better than the last.
Focus on planning as management. It's not just a plan, but a planning process including regular plan reviews with course corrections. Note changed assumptions in order to steer your business through constant change without losing sight of the long-term goals; which is, in a nutshell, getting back to the fundamentals of planning, or "plan-as-you-go" planning.
I think mompreneurs should make just one resolution in 2009: Be present in whatever you do. When you're working, don't answer the home phone, change out the laundry, etc. When you're with your children, truly be with them. Don't answer e-mails, sort through your mail and check your phone when you're spending time with your children. And when the best plans fall through, just laugh.
If every individual in the U.S. would reduce their consumption of gasoline, electricity, plastics and beef by 20 percent, we'd achieve the United Nations' target for 2020 carbon dioxide emission reductions this year while also putting $500 to $1,000 annually in each of our pockets. To achieve this result try making Friday your "save to gain day" by not eating red meat, buying only locally grown food, doing something other than commuting to work in your car, not consuming anything that comes in a throw-away container and turning your thermostat up or down five degrees in the direction that will reduce energy consumption.
I hope that all of my entrepreneurial readers will dedicate themselves to taking care of the most important aspect of their company: their employees. Treat them wisely.
Get your conversation started. Sign up and learn by doing. I'm talking about Twitter and Facebook. Using social media can be the biggest impact for your business in 2009.
Search Engine Optimization
Look at challenges and downturns as opportunities to fine-tune your business, reach out to your clients, seek out new relationships, cut waste (money and time-wasters) and add new products or services to your business that will benefit your customers and help you stand out from the crowd.
Lesley Spencer Pyle
Pay yourself first. Your financial capital is likely to be in flux this year, so differentiate yourself from your competitors by investing in your health capital. Daily practices for sleep, nutrition, stress and exercise are foundational to sustained high performance--pay yourself first by making daily investments in your well-being and you're calm and confidence will differentiate you in the market.
Healthy & Wealthy
Make sure your core business model is working well before selling more franchises.
Franchising Your Business
Resolve to make 2009 the year for building relationships with customers and influencers as well as offering the best value--because in a tough economic year, we'll all choose to spend our limited dollars with the people and companies we know and trust.
Kim T. Gordon
If you've been thinking about buying a franchise, make 2009 the year to stop pondering and start researching. Read everything you can about franchising, make lists of what concepts interest you, get Franchise Disclosure Documents, talk to franchisees and franchisors, look into your financing options and start taking legitimate steps toward buying the franchise that's right for you. Many franchisees are succeeding even in this economy and will continue to succeed in 2009, but risks are arguably higher and preliminary research is more important than ever. Resolve to start this year by launching into your own in-depth, full-force franchise research.
The Franchise Insider
Resolve to get every single customer to come back and buy from you more often, because repeat business equals referrals and profits.
Create real, measurable goals and specific action plans for achieving them. No more wishful thinking--prioritize it, plan it, do it!
Be strong of heart when all the news seems bad. In the worst of times is when you'll find the best of opportunities.
Buying a Franchise
Don't lose your optimism and opportunism. Someone has to be opportunistic in this market and if entrepreneurs can't do it, who can? There's still room for optimism.
Get more traffic. Convert more traffic. Sell more to existing customers. Put everything you can on autopilot.
Show people they can trust you before you encourage them to buy from you. Make guarantees and don't rush to shoot them down with caveats and limitations. Never use PowerPoint presentations--they bore people to death. Tell stories that engage your customers and prospects. Provide exclusives--even when you sell commodities. Make offers that people can't refuse and stand by them. Always control the agenda. Never ask for business during lunch.
The Heat-Seeking Sales Machine