20 Ways to Jumpstart 2020

A new decade dawning. Does it feel newer than a regular old middle-of-the-decade new year? Probably not. But why not use it for what it is – a beginning — the start of a calendar year. And as good a time as any to think about how you can jumpstart your business.

 

Based on our combined 50+ years in business, we offer the following 20 ideas for making 2020 your best year yet:

  1. Focus on focusing. Don’t try and accomplish more than you can reasonably accomplish. Better to do a few things really well than a bunch of things half-assed.
  2. If you make a mistake, move on. If you’re lucky enough to be in business long enough, you’ll make lots. That’s how we learn!
  3. Surround yourself with smart people.
  4. LEARN from the smart people around you.
  5. Hire people with the skills you don’t have. So you can focus on what you do best.
  6. Learn to network. If you already know how, finesse your skills.
  7. Master a new skill. Or a few. Podcasting. Speaking gigs. Seminars. Blogging. All meant to increase your visibility and put you in front of new audiences (and potential clients).
  8. Ask for help. No one knows everything there is to know about an industry. Learn from people who know what you don’t.
  9. Think about mentoring someone. You will get back at least as much as you give.
  10. Take vacations. You need a business break now and then. Working a 7-day week will not make your business better. It WILL make you burn out faster.
  11. Volunteer. Get out of your own head and share your time to help others — local community organizations, homeless shelters, rescue organizations, foodbanks….the list is endless.
  12. Read. A lot. Not just business books but all kinds of books. The more you read, the better you write. And the easier it is to solve problems.
  13. Exercise. A little every day if you can. Not necessarily lifting weights or running. Walking works too. Anything that gets you up and moving and not thinking about work problems.
  14. Get more sleep. We’re not going to quote all the studies but you KNOW that you operate better on a decent night’s sleep.
  15. Take some risks. If you want to grow, you need to step out of that safe circle. There’d be no inventions if the inventors hadn’t decided to find a better way.
  16. Be pro-active. The last decade has seen far too many businesses suffer because new technology made their products or services obsolete (thanks, Amazon). Don’t ever get too comfortable.
  17. Treat your employees like the critical business assets they are. And if they’re not, let them go.
  18. If you don’t have a solid email program, stop wasting your database and make this the year you nurture your soft connections.
  19. If you’ve avoided social media (yep, we’ve seen companies that are still waiting to see if it works!), time to jump in. Be smart. Learn one platform well and then add others. Or hire someone who knows how to do it.
  20.  If your budget allows, bring in experts to do the things you can’t do, don’t want to do or need help with.

If you only implement a few of these 20 ideas, you’re bound to see some success.

And if you need help with anything web, digital or marketing-related, give us a call. We’re looking to grow your business too.

 

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Network your way to more business.

2 people talking at a networking event

Networking has always been at the top of our marketing list for building business. It doesn’t require much of an investment, other than time.

For small businesses, it’s a great way to meet fellow entrepreneurs. Getting out and talking to people who might have a need for your product or service. Or….just as important….who know other people who might need your help.

2 people talking at a networking event
Are you an authentic networker?

How many times have you been to a networking event where you were casually engaged in a conversation that led to a really interesting discussion — one you wanted to continue? It might not even be that this person needed your service. Maybe you just really clicked.

Networking events offer a limited time to connect with someone other than superficially. At a 2 hr event, if you want to meet more than 1 or 2 people, your chat time is limited.

So, your next step should be to tell the person you’re speaking with that you’d like to continue your conversation over coffee or lunch. Set a date or exchange contact info to do it at a later time. Then move on to meeting some other people in the room.

When Networking Works

I’ve met some dynamite people at events where casual conversation led to collegial friendships. No one was selling. We were just talking about business challenges or sports or hobbies….in no particular order. In the course of conversation, we found that we really liked talking to each other. Cards were exchanged and within a few weeks, we met over breakfast so we could get to know one another better.

Not all of these encounters led to new business. Some introduced me to colleagues who did what I do. A writer comes to mind. I keep her contact info so I can refer her business I can’t or don’t want to do. I’m always happy to refer business to others which is why I like having a full network.

I’ve also met some really outstanding people who’ve become close business associates. We refer business to one another and support each other as much as we can. Sharing job leads. Introducing colleagues to friends where there might be potential work. Contributing to the local networking community.

If you look at networking as getting to know people, the process often becomes organic. You’re focused on learning about someone and not selling them something. You’re being authentic rather than trying to impress the other person.

Watch the Skilled Networkers

The best networkers are not selling. You’ve seen the hard-sell types. They have trouble holding eye contact because they’re looking around for someone better to talk at (not a typo).

On the other hand, those people who are genuinely engaged in the conversation you’re having are the type of networkers you want to connect with.

Think about the most successful networkers you know. Odds are they’re super nice, always willing to answer questions and, once they know you and your reputation, happy to refer business to you.

If you’re new to networking or not comfortable in the “how to”, read this Lifehack post on helpful networking tips.

The upside: while you’re growing your business, you’ll be building relationships. That’s how What A Great Website came to be. We met in a networking group eight years ago. We liked one another and started doing projects together. Three years later, we started a company. You never know where networking can take you.

For more networking help, here’s an article I wrote back in 2005 called The Nuances of Networking. It still applies today.

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