The New Year is almost upon us. Unless your small business is dependent on holiday traffic (and if you haven’t planned that marketing element by now, it’s too late), the next few weeks may be slow times. It’s okay to slow down, enjoy the holiday season, and connect with family and friends.
Year’s end is also a great time to plan for the New Year, and take stock of the old year. Put aside some time to pull your bank statements and receipts together, because the New Year will bring tax time along with it.
Also, use the slower time to tidy-up your business, so you can begin 2014 renewed. All of this suggestions can be done one at a time, so you have plenty of time left over for festivities.
1. Refresh your boiler-plate description of your business that you use on your website or in your media releases. It may be as simple as changing copy from “a talented so-and-so for three years to “a talented so-and-so for four years.” Review your client list. Is it up to date?
If you list your capabilities, reconsider their order and importance. If you’re an attorney who provides estate planning, real estate services, divorce mediation, and patent law, for example, and patent law and divorce mediation are your bread and butter, list them first. When you refresh, reposition to market your strengths.
2. Update your Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter profiles. Make sure your photo is current, your contact information is up-to-date, and be certain there’s a synergy between your capabilities (as in item #1) and your social media presence. To drive business to your various sites, it’s fine to provide links to them under your signature in an email.
3. Speaking of social media, change your passwords. It’s a tough world out there in cyberspace, and we all should be very careful about guarding our passwords and our online security. If you don’t regularly check the “comments” on your blog or the posts on your timeline, now’s the time to remove any obvious spam posts, off-target posts and anything that negates your image or position.
4. Merge/purge your database (mailing lists, email lists). Most mailing programs have easy applications to do this with a point and click, but keeping your database up to date is good business. If you want to update your email list simply, write a short email thanking your clients for their support this year and wishing them a happy and healthy New Year, and watch for the mailer-daemons in your in-box.
If you don’t use a program to manage your email, now’s the time to consider one. I personally like Mail Chimp. I can sort my media lists by category. I know who opens my stuff, who deletes it, and also get notification when an account changes. http://mailchimp.com/
5. Back up your files, especially your Quicken accounts. You never know when a computer crash will erase everything. After you save everything, review what’s on your computer. Do you need correspondence from former clients of 10 years ago? A little housekeeping can be very practical as well as therapeutic.
Speaking of therapeutic, as you head towards the New Year and things slow down, do something nice for yourself. You work hard all year. You deserve it. Season’s greetings and best wishes for a happy, healthy, and successful (in whatever terms you use to define success) New Year.
Mark G. Auerbach is principal at Mark G. Auerbach Public Relations, a Springfield, MA, based marketing, public relations, development and events consultancy. You can find more information about Mark at Facebook and LinkedIn.