15 Top Tips for Small Business Success in 2014 – Part 1

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As small businesses review this past year and take stock of what worked and what disappointed, even more importantly we will be planning for success in 2014.  In order to make the most informed decisions possible, I wanted to gather together some advice – tips, if you will – on what small business folks should take into consideration as we all plan and prepare for the new year.  

I asked the Google+ Community to share their top tips for 2014, and was once again hugely impressed by the number of smart people who are so willing to help and share their knowledge.  In fact,there is such a wealth of incredible advice that this post is divided into 2 parts.

Their tips  have been  loosely grouped into categories, along with  some golden nuggets from other G+ experts that I have gleaned from posts and hangouts.

Today’s post focuses on tips and strategies that relate to what I call Success Planning. There is some truly outstanding guidance here to get your small business speeding full steam ahead in 2014! Many thanks to those who commented and so generously shared their ideas and expertise!

Success Planning

Mary Ianotti 

1.  Determine your business goals for the upcoming year. Then create marketing initiatives that contribute to your business goals. All of your marketing initiatives (offline and online) should be set up to contribute to your goals.

2. Next, set up key performance indicators (KPIs) that include benchmarks and how much you expect each initiative to contribute to your business goals.

3.  Finally measure and refine your campaigns to improve performance. Weed out marketing programs that didn’t help your business grow.

4. The next time a sales person tries to sell you a marketing service or advertising, ask the person to explain how it will contribute to your business goals. If the person doesn’t give you a good answer, don’t buy the service.

Lena Sinclaire 

5. Think about where you want to be at the end of 2014. Have at least two versions of the outcome: A very grounded, realistic one and a wow-this-is- beyond-my-wildest-dreams one. Choose the goal that is in between.

6.  Now come up with intermediate goals. Think about actionable specifics, how will you measure your progress, what will you do if things will not go the way you have planned. Spread them logically throughout 2014 as short – 1-3 week bursts of activity – and sprinkle laying-low/recovery time in between.

7. In the beginning of  every day ask yourself what will you do today to move a bit closer to the completion of one of your intermediate goals.  Set time at the end of each day to analyse your actions.

Michael Nelson

8. Make sure that you’re able to communicate your unique value proposition simply and efficiently.  If not, you need to step back, and drill deeper into your objectives and goals. (excerpt from HOA with Jason T. Wiser)

Rachael Alford:

9. My biggest tip that transcends time is to be intentional. In order to be intentional one must plan strategically.  It sounds easy and a bit cliche but it’s not.

10. One must always look at the goals and plan to fulfill those goals. Goals without action plans are just dreams.

11. (For business) The first step in the planning process should be to know your customer acquisition cost (CAC) as well as understand their lifetime value (LVT). Without understanding these points, your goals may not be aligned properly with the outcomes you are seeking for your business.

12. (Business & Personal) Everything that you do should move you closer to those goals. This means putting a system in place to provide for the intentional measurement and calculation of ROI and ROT.

Gina Fiedel 

13. What I find is that there is a climate of overwhelm and pressure among those working in business and non-profits, particularly those in any leadership or high contribution role. The changes we’ve seen in business and the web are increasing our need to perform in more and more ways.

Every day we are bombarded with new ideas, approaches, actions, solutions. More to do. More competitive landscape. It’s all about more of just about everything.

14. In order to have an impact and succeed, it’s important to take a step back and consider your business holistically. Determine what you can do with the quality and level of focus that’s required for it to make a difference, the ROI for your efforts and then pull back on the less important efforts, yet don’t entirely abandon them. If need be, postpone, but don’t forget. Less than quality can do more harm than good. Do less if it means doing it better. Learn to prioritize, build your team, delegate, streamline, get outside help wherever possible. We don’t all need to be the best at everything even if we think we do.

Paul Cooley 

15. We are just about to hit a new year where you will be faced with implementing your goals or letting them slide on by like previous years… Let me share with you some of the questions that I sat down (with a mocha) and asked myself on a weekly basis…

  •  What was my greatest accomplishment last week?
  • What did I not accomplish that I wanted to? & Why?
  •  What is the #1 thing I need to accomplish this coming week?
  • What can I do right now to make this week less stressful?  (excerpt from “The Secret of Staying on Track & Growing Your Business“)

This is seriously spot-on advice from some top G+ contributors!  A huge thank you to Mary Ianotti, Rachael Alford, Lena Sinclaire, Michael Nelson, Gina Fiedel, and Paul Cooley for outlining ways that we can plan for success for our small businesses in the new year.  I know I am definitely going to be incorporating these ideas into our 2014 plans!

Next up:  Part 2

23 More valuable tips coming in Part 2 on:

Using Google+ for Business, Search, Content/Relationship Marketing, and Guiding Lights from John Dietrich, Stephan Hovnanian, Heidi Bouman, Al Remetch, Kristoffer Howes, James Fierce, Unique Websites, Ambar L. and more! 

photo credit: Wikilmages/pixabay

  • Great post Marilyn. I agree KPI’s are essential however do you think more businesses should regularly pay attention to their business plan? A lot of businesses start out with a plan and then never return to it- I personally think by referring back to the plan constantly, a business can stay on a more solid path

    • Marilyn Moore says:

      Hi Ben Black, My apologies for my tardy reply! I quite agree that many small businesses do not really take the time to develop a business plan, or if they do, let it go by the wayside. Sticking to your plan is of primary importance – and takes a fair amount of self-discipline to accomplish.