new years resolutionsHere we are at the end of another year, and time to think about New Year’s Resolutions. If your business fiscal year matches a calendar year then by now you’ve probably looked back over 2013 – but have you looked forward to 2014?
Here’s 5 resolutions for your business and website that will help you and your business grow and be more effective.

Resolution #1 – Review your website

quicksproutTimes change and audience interests and perspectives mutate. When did you last really look at your own website? Is it current? Is it fresh? Does it still have appeal?

  • Does it load fast enough? Load time of your website is a factor with Google placement. Try Pingdom and test your website speed.
  • I recently found Quicksprout, an automated analyzer that helps me see which parts of my website needs work. If you’re not technically inclined you may want to pass this on to your tech guy and then review again after they’ve made changes. Quicksprout shows you where your website needs help and offers suggestions to improve it. It’s a great place to start.
  • Are your keywords still relevant? Quicksprout also allows you to compare your website to three competitor websites and see what they are doing and how you stack up. I found this invaluable because I can learn from my competition and maybe get some new ideas.

Resolution #2 – Review your marketing

marketing-calendarI’m pretty well done mapping out my marketing plan for 2014. I have an overall goal which I break down into each month and what activities need to be accomplished that month. There’s several marketing calendars available out there that can help you with this, both online and offline, and if you use WordPress I recommend the WordPress Editorial Calendar to manage your blog postings.
If you haven’t done so, designate a marketing budget – specifically allocate some resources to getting the word out.
Spend a little time and find a marketing method that works for you, then use it.

Resolution #3 – Review your Social Media plan

social-media-marketingWe have all heard about “Social Media Marketing” and probably have a Facebook page and Twitter blog. However you may want to look again; trends change and audiences move and refocus. 15 – 18 year olds don’t use Facebook as much as they used to:

Children and teenagers are increasingly communicating through newer contenders such as Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and WhatsApp” –

Are you still at the right place for your target audience?
Do you actually have a plan for Social Media? Social Media marketing does need time and constant maintenance.

Resolution #4 – Be able to Recover

canada non profit cloud backup serviceI know you don’t like to think about this, but if your business is your income then you must protect it. If your laptop died tomorrow, or your server failed, could you get it all back? As we offer a backup service we would be remiss to not mention disaster recovery. The bottom line though, is protect yourself. Do something, anything – and make sure your business will survive a disaster.

  • Know where your data is. You can’t protect it unless you know where you keep it
  • If you have an office and network, have someone document it. A disaster is not the time to try and guess your router settings and other little details.
  • Don’t just backup to a local disk, keep a copy somewhere else. Take it home or somewhere else, or used the Cloud.
  • If you had to buy equipment where would you get it? Keep a list of suppliers and know what equipment you have (see documentation, above) – write it down so you have it.

Resolution #5 – Motivate yourself

sitting-womanWe all have slumps from time to time. How do you keep yourself motivated and moving forward?

  • Be accountable to yourself. I use the Getting Things Done method to track what I need to do and always know what needs to be done today. I manually have to push an item to the next day if it doesn’t get done, or it shows as overdue at the top of my list. I use Gmail for this.
  • Are you visually oriented? Try a motivation chart – something to look at throughout your day to remind you what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. There’s many charts to choose from but I find that a simple cork board works, mine fits about 4 8.5×11 sheets and I put goals or images or quotes that help me focus. When I need to refocus I just create a new page and tack it up.

Be wary of motivational “tricks” but do seek out and find something that works for you and keeps you going. It doesn’t have to be a complicated multicoloured kit – maybe you just need to look yourself in the mirror and say; “c’mon Guy – do your best today”.

5 Resolutions – 12 Months

calvin-hobbes-new-years-resolutionsYou don’t have to accomplish all your 2014 Resolutions in one day or even one month. To accomplish them though you need to write them down. As Yogi Berra said; “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”

Write your resolutions down and put them somewhere where you will see them and be reminded of them, your motivational cork board maybe. Resolve to end up in the right spot by the end of 2014 by having goals and plans. Just going through the process of writing them down will make you feel better, and completing them will make your business better.

The best of 2014 to everyone!