Every New Year, we make plans and jot down resolutions that many of us tend to forget as January comes to an end.
Although we are quick to write down our personal goals, many small business owners shy away from outlining their business objectives or development plans.
Some of my entrepreneur friends believe that writing this year's business resolutions down will not aid much in developing their strategy, but will be only another time-wasting task. What they overlook is that without development plans, their businesses become stagnant.
Textbooks and websites are filled with numerous tips on how to boost your business. I picked up some that have aided me in running my small fashion business and writing career over the past three years.
A lot of businesses come down as their owners fail to properly plan their marketing goals for the year. A good tip is to have a master plan, which highlights where you want to see your business in three years, which you could then update regularly.
There is no specific time period when one should do this, but since we are at the beginning of the year, it is good to set a six-month marketing and development road map. This could include media and public relations goals, a projected sales figure and ideas on how to expand your business.
Revive your business website. Your website is your international brand face. Adding more modules, customer information, and changing the look and feel of it is always a good idea. This also applies to your business page on Facebook or Twitter. Update the content regularly, add more pictures, run a contest or post items that would engage your customers and fans.
This brings us over to the importance of social media use. If your business is not on the social media sphere, perhaps it is about time it was. My business and writing career would not have reached where they are today had I chosen to overlook this powerful medium.
Not only that, but at a time when businesses are on the lookout for ways to cut costs, social media can help reach a wider global audience and also helps you to establish a one on one relationship with your customer. It aids in brand awareness, helps to generate instant feedback from customers, is an excellent way to spread word of mouth and provides a great global reach.
If your finances went crazy last year, then it is time to tighten your belt and prepare a budget. A good plan would be to divide your finances to the following: prioritise your business spending, make sure you leave an amount dedicated to developing your business including your employees' packageand training if applicable.
If handling administrative tasks is taking up too much of your time and distracting you from focusing on your development plans, then perhaps it is a great idea to outsource. Many agencies provide competitive rates to handle your logistics, PR and administration. Perhaps you could also collaborate with a sister company to share those tasks.
Finally, if your main goal is to expand your business this year, then partnering with like-minded business owners can be very effective. Not only are two brains better than one, but you will be exposed to new potential clients, which is beneficial for both parties.
Look for companies or business people with whom you share an audience or customers. Team up, and you could find that both sides benefit from the partnership. Once you find a potential partner, draft an agreement outlining what both parties expect and wish to accomplish as well as a marketing plan.
There are countless tips on how to boost your business, excluding your own business goals for the year. We are still in the year's first quarter, and there is no time like the present to start implementing those goals.
Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati fashion designer and writer based in Abu Dhabi