Solopreneurs Should Resolve to Focus on Growth and Efficiency to Prosper in 2015
Start the New Year with a fresh marketing initiative or an investment in technology that saves you time and you'll reap returns for years.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
2015 is here and that means resolutions need to be made, even for you professionals out there. Service industries are getting competitive, so resolve for 2015 to focus on getting your business ahead of the pack.
Resolutions are not meant to be fun – they are a change in how we typically operate meant to improve results. So here are some core resolutions that service professionals should make focused around helping your business grow, improve efficiencies and save money.
1. Go mobile.
More and more businesses are going mobile today, including small businesses. More than one in five small business owners now use mobile apps to help run their business. Mobile tools enable you to run your business from anywhere, at any time. Mobility empowers you to respond and stay close to your clients, no matter where you are. At the same time, business apps save money by cutting down the need for physical office space, a secretary, clunky business software or even a desktop computer. We built the PocketSuite app for this very reason, and there are other specialized business apps out there as well to explore.
Related: 9 Things Small Businesses Should Know About Amazon's New Mobile Payments Reader
2. Adopt a new technology.
New business technology can be intimidating. The term "business technology" just sounds complicated, and new systems change up the way we are used to doing things, and – let's be honest – not everyone embraces change. But the truth is an improved technology can save both you and your clients time and effort.
Start off with something simple for 2015. Take payments, for example. Find a technology that lets you accept Apple Pay and use Apple's secure and easy technology to delight your clients. Find scheduling software that makes the back-and-forth process of setting appointments quick and easy, freeing more of your time to focus on growth. You may not expect it, but improvements like these bring a world of enjoyment for you and your customers. Don't be afraid to adopt something new!
Related: 4 Ways Adopting Apple Pay Can Benefit Small Business
3. Identify one cost to cut.
Not all money is earned from sales. Money can also be made on the expense side. You probably spend most of your time focused on your clients and trying to grow your business. As we start 2015, identify one area in your cost structure that could be improved. On the payments side, if you're paying 3-4 percent per transaction on credit cards or PayPal, try to bring that percentage down. Or if you're paying monthly fees on multiple software services, try to cut out the one monthly service you use the least (you probably know which one as you're reading this). Even if it's just a few hundred dollars a year, you can use those dollars to attract more clients in new ways.
4. Leverage online ad tools to grow.
Speaking of attracting more clients, there are other ways to attract new customers than the standard client referral or "word of mouth". You don't have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a single platform in one fell swoop. But spend $50 here and there and see what the results are. Be patient – different strategies work for different businesses. Maybe buying Google Adwords works for you; or purchasing potential leads on Thumbtack; or paying for ads on Yelp or Angie's List. Spend the first couple months of the year measuring the best ROI (Return-On-Investment), and spend the rest of 2015 acquiring customers at cost-effective rates.
Related: The Ultimate Email Marketing Strategy for a Small Business in 7 Steps