New (or not so new) Ideas For The New Year
By Janice Byer, CCVA, MVA
Docu-Type Administrative & Web Design Services
Welcome to a New Year and a time for new beginnings.
At the start of every year, most of us make resolutions or have thoughts about making some changes to our lives. From telling ourselves that we need to lose weight or eat healthier, to quitting smoking or any other life-changing task, we all wish we could profess these wishes and then actually stick to them.
Unfortunately, New Year’s resolutions are one of the first promises that we make to ourselves that we inevitably seem to break. So we decide to either make tiny resolutions that we know we won’t break, or we don’t make any at all.
Well, why don’t we make a resolution (don’t worry, this is an easy one) to make our businesses more efficient, productive, and thus, more profitable this year?
I know what you are saying to yourself, “But I am already doing that. What can you possibly tell me that I am not already trying?”
Well, these ideas may not all be ‘new’ ideas, but they may be ones that you haven’t had a chance to implement yet. So let’s get started….
Most of us sent our holiday sentiments to our clients and contacts in the form of greeting cards or gifts. But, how often throughout the remainder of the year do you make an attempt to keep in touch with these valuable business associates? This is one resolution that you should make this year to help increase your business. After all, these professionals have seen your work and know that you are worth recommending to others.
Try sending a monthly or semi-monthly newsletter to them and fill it with news about your company, any new product or service you are offering, short helpful articles that they will find useful, and plugs for your clients (they will love that!).
We at Docu-Type send out a newsletter at the beginning of each month. It is only one page with information on both sides. It is laid out in a newspaper format with an Index on the front, along with an introduction section and anything new that is happening with our company. On the back we usually include 3 very short articles (with a tiny graphic associated with each) that most of our small business contacts will find useful.
Somewhere in amongst all this useful information, we try to plug at least one of our clients or associates. It is either to announce a new client’s website, announce an associates open house, or to rave about an association we belong to, we try to include our clients in our newsletter. When they read it, you just know they will be happy. Actually, we did a piece on our local Brampton Board of Trade in a previous issue and, a few days after it was mailed out, we got a call from the President to thank us for the mention.
If you are unsure as to how to set up your newsletter and what to include, it might be best to contact a professional who can guide you through the process.
Another new (or maybe not so new) idea to help boost your business is to try gaining free exposure. And, one of the most common ways to do this is to write articles. Write about what you know and submit it to online ezines that are related to the topic and printed publications as well. It may take a while to get noticed by those that you want to be your future clients, but this form of marketing will help you to be recognized as an expert in your field and, in turn, trusted by your audience and potential clients.
One word of caution, be sure to read and reread what you have written. If possible, have someone else read it to see if there are any errors that you may have missed. Also, if you are going to use statistics in your articles, be sure to include where you received your information (in the form of a bibliography or footnotes) and that it is from a reliable and accurate source.
Press Releases are another terrific way to gain exposure through the media. When you start your business, add a new product or service, win an award (see our Press Releases for some if our awards at http://www.docutype.net), or have any other newsworthy happening, be sure to let the media know and they in turn will let their readers (your potential clients) know.
And again, a word of caution with regards to Press Releases, make sure that it is newsworthy and does not come out sounding like an ad. Editors are very particular as to what is included in their publications. If you want to advertise, you will have to buy the space. But, if you truly have something worthwhile to say to the readers, then there is a much better chance of it being published.
Now, the final idea that we have (for today anyway) is to try to alleviate some of your workload. As small business owners, we wear all the hats when it comes to running a company. Unfortunately, some of those hats take us away from the tasks that actually generate revenue. We need to get back to the important aspects of our business… its success!
To accomplish this we need to be able to have an extra pair of hands when the workload gets to be too much. So, why not outsource some of your administrative tasks to a Virtual Assistant? These highly experienced professionals specialize in everything from general word processing to website design and can handle the more time-consuming tasks that take you away from building your business and increasing your profits.
These are just a few ideas that don’t cost a fortune and can contribute to the success of your small business. I hope you will implement some of these ideas (if you haven’t already done so). They are all wonderful ways of increasing the productivity of your business.