For Bartercard 2014, it has been all about growing into bigger shoes. We’ve taken our company and turned it into a public listed entity, which has come with the weight of greater accountability and transparency right across the business. This has provided the stepping stone to bigger, more exciting developments and new markets. It’s been a year of technology, marked by the launch of a complex new platform that’s only the beginning of new ground to conquer.
With the conclusion of 2014 just around the corner, I thought it would be timely to share with you seven resolutions to consider for your business in the New Year.
1. Find out what hasn’t worked and let it go
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world, Richard Branson and Oprah included, have admitted to failings and shortcomings within their business empires. Making mistakes is a critical step to growth and has its place in building a successful business. Mistakes also shouldn’t be underestimated for the powerful changes they can bring about if learned from. Perhaps your product was out of date before reaching the market or was undercut by a disruptive competitor. If a new product hasn’t worked like you envisioned or your company structure has let you down in achieving your business goals, it’s time to reassess, let go and start making changes.
2. Invest time (and additional resources) in marketing
Your business may offer the best product or service in town, but without marketing no one will know about it. At Bartercard we continually talk about the importance of effective marketing, but many business owners find they don’t have the time to invest in a well-mapped strategy, or just find the process daunting. Consequently, it’s something they stumble through or do on an ad hoc basis without any real planning. Planned marketing is critical in reaching your customers and so it needs to be a priority in every business. We can offer all the support you need, or put you in touch with great members that work in this field of expertise.
3. Go digital
This comes under the banner of marketing but are you doing everything you can in the digital space? Having a presence digitally is so important in building credibility and customers –if you are not there you are not communicating to a huge slice of your market.
Every entrepreneur knows that having a strong network creates invaluable contacts, partnerships and attracts new clients and referrals. Mixing with industry leaders is critical to gaining new ideas and exposure which can provide invaluable opportunities for your business. So if it’s the only resolution you stick with in the New Year, get yourself to more networking events.
5. Learning something new
Ask any successful entrepreneur the importance of personal growth and every one of them will tell the vitality of continuous learning. Read literature about your industry, enroll yourself into an online course or seek out the mentorship of someone more experienced and successful than you. Make it a priority to become an expert in your field so that you can offer a higher level of service and knowledge to your customers.
That said, running a business is demanding and you do not need to be an expert in every aspect of it – such as accounting, legal and PR all in one. Hire experts where you are not, so that you can focus on what you truly do best – this is achievable with Bartercard and it’s what we are here for.
7. Commit to planning and future-proofing your business
I’m sure you have heard from at least one business owner that they only ever have the time to work ‘in’ their business rather than ‘on’ it. As hard as it can be, finding the time to plan for the future and creating contingency plans for unexpected events will reward and ensure that you are in control of your business, not vice versa. Planning allows you to take stock of what worked and what didn’t so you can ensure you stay on track with your business plan or adjust your goals accordingly. Make the time to plan and reassess each week rather than quarterly or yearly.
Take a bird’s-eye view of your business and start planning for the year ahead in January with these New Year resolutions.