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It’s that time of the year again! Time to make those New Year’s resolutions!

Most of us already have a few ‘to-do’ items on our personal resolution list – but do you have resolutions for your business yet?This is a great opportunity to take inventory of your professional goals and strategies!

Here’s a quick list of ideas for your New Year’s resolutions:

New Year’s Resolution #1: Commit to 15-30 minutes of inspiration & education – every day.

Who doesn’t have 15 extra minutes a day? Professional development keeps you on top of trends and in a positive state of mind for your business. These mini-sessions are easy to manage and add up to nearly two hours a week of entrepreneurial education!

On the treadmill? Driving to an appointment? Pick an article, read a chapter in a book, or pop in a podcast!

Here are a few of my favorite podcasts to get you started:

Wright Stuff Radio – Small business for small business! This program offers strategies for success, tips on trends, and inspiration from fellow entrepreneurs.

SCORE Small Business Success  – Different challenge areas are addressed in this series, you’ll find something for every business!

StartUp School Radio – A great program, powered by the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.

Veteran on the Move – For my veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs – hosted by a former USMC pilot who has been through the transition from military life to the civilian business world.

New Year’s Resolution #2: Get to know your trade association.

Your trade association will most likely be a goldmine of information on trends, research, and analytics for your industry. This information is invaluable in your business planning!

Your trade association will also most likely have networking events and seminars to keep you sharp and connected. Some trade associations even offer elite certification programs that can give you an edge over your competition. Do a little research and see what kind of programs your trade association offers to members. You may be surprised how far that investment will take you!

New Year’s Resolution #3: Commit to six seminars this year.

This one sounds daunting. Seminars and conferences can be expensive and time consuming.

However, with the rise in digital media, small business owners have access to several webinars or internet-based courses to supplement their professional development. Suddenly, two to four hours every 60 days doesn’t sound so bad!

Need a place to start?

1. The Small Business Administration has a few online courses to check out.

2. You can also visit your trade association for webinar and conference ideas.

3. Stay on top of your local business community calendar for relevant seminars in your area. These great networking opportunities don’t have to cost hundreds of dollars – stay local and save money!

New Year’s Resolution #4: Get serious about consistent competitive analysis.

What is your value proposition? What makes your product or service unique? If you can’t boil this down into a sentence or two – you’ve got some work to do!

Hopefully, you went through the process of writing a business plan and performed a preliminary competitive analysis when you first launched your business. It’s important to revisit that plan and make sure that your information is current.

Have new competitors entered the market? Are there new delivery methods that could make your process more efficient?

Things you need to consider in 2017:

1. What is your market share today?

2. Who are your direct competitors?

3. Who are your secondary competitors?

4. How important is your target market to your competitors?

5. What barriers stand between you and your target market today?

6. How is your competitor overcoming these barriers?

7. How are you going to overcome these barriers?

Make sure you’ve established what sets your business apart in the current market, and create a branding plan around that focus.

New Year’s Resolution #5: Boost your content game.

Are you on top of your social media accounts? Are you posting once a week on your blog? No entrepreneur is perfect, and you’re going to have times throughout the new year when your brand outreach lags a little.

Storytelling is still a key element for any effective marketing strategy in 2017. That means your content needs to be consistent, compelling, and conversational.

Take the time to create a content strategy plan for your business. You’ll need to know:

1. Important dates/events/holidays/opportunities to connect.

2. How many times will you post per week?

3. What will you post each day?

4. Email newsletters, blogs, or both?

5. How many press releases will you need? When do they need to be in the media?

6. How will you keep your business top of mind?

Do you need help putting together your content plan? Schedule your FREE consultation today!

What’s Your New Year’s Resolution?

There you have it! Each of these steps are easily manageable, but can make a substantial impact on your business.

Don’t feel confined to a list you found online, be sure to add one or two New Year’s resolutions of your own. Every business owner is different – set goals that make sense for YOU.

Whatever your resolutions, we’ll be here to cheer you on your entrepreneurial adventure.

See you in 2017!

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