Inspired by the holiday classic 12 Days of Christmas, we’ve put together a list of simple advice for small businesses. By trying out one of these ideas a day, you might develop new routines that increase your productivity and general success.
With only a few weeks left in 2013, now is the perfect time to make some small changes that can lead to a better business year in 2014.
Day 1: Try out a new online tool or application
There are so many great apps available that can simplify your day-to-day business activities. Try Evernote and Dragon Dictation for note-taking, GoToMeeting for remote conference calls, and Dropbox for file-sharing. If you have a specific use in mind, a little research will provide you with an app that works for you.
Day 2: Perform a Google search for key services
You might be surprised to find out where you rank well and where you’re lacking. This will give you a great idea of where your business needs to focus marketing and search engine optimization efforts to increase exposure.
Day 3: Review your email signature
Does it include links to your website, Facebook, blog, etc.? Depending on the amount of emails you send in a day, a few simple changes could drastically influence your online exposure and overall traffic.
Day 4: Sign up for a new social network
Whether it’s Instagram, Pinterest, or Google+, get familiar with the network for personal use and you might get new ideas for business applications.
Day 5: Organize your workspace
When you’re working on a lot of projects, it’s easy for papers and post-it notes to get out of hand. You might be amazed at how much more productive you are when you start the day with a clean, organized desk.
Day 6: Find an industry related blog
Reading the latest news from industry experts will give you general tips and a ton of new ideas for your own business.
Day 7: Make a to-do list
It’s amazing how much satisfaction you can get from crossing things off your list! Plus it will help you stay on track throughout the day. Just remember to focus on a few big things so you don’t get overwhelmed or risk splitting your attention.
Day 8: Schedule your social media
Try tools like HootSuite, Buffer or TweetDeck to manage your social media marketing efforts, or use Facebook’s scheduling feature. This is a great practice to improve time management, just remember not to let your posts feel too automated.
Day 9: Reach out to clients for testimonials
Use them for your website and social media marketing to add a human element and let people know what sets you apart from competitors. You can also ask clients to provide reviews on Google Places, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and other sites that potential customers might stumble upon during an online search.
Day 10: Research the competition
What are they doing that you’re not? Make sure you don’t copy, but you might get some ideas for new practices you can institute in your business.
Day 11: Proofread all of your communications twice
This will eliminate those silly mistakes you catch after hitting ‘send’. Plus it’s a great habit to start! If you’re not the best speller, consider getting someone else to look over your work.
Day 12: Set a new goal
What do you want to accomplish? It doesn’t necessarily need to be long-term, but it will help you stay on track by giving you something to work towards.