2012: The Year Of The Dragon

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According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2012 is the year of the Dragon. The Dragon is the mightiest of all signs symbolizing dominance and ambition. A Dragon is a powerful leader that is driven, unafraid of challenges and willing to take risks. So much so that a Dragon’s passion and enthusiasm can leave a Dragon feeling exhausted.

As a business owner, you too can feel exhausted, especially at the end of another year. As you sit back and reflect on 2011, you think about all that you accomplished and all that you didn’t accomplish. You wonder what you should do to make your business better and more successful in the coming year.

To help you with this, below is a list of 5 key steps you can implement to ensure that 2012 is a boom year and not a bust.

1. Review Your Goals

The first and foremost thing to do is to sit down and go over whether you met your goals. If you have been in business for a short time, did you grow according to what you had planned? If you have been in business for a while, how has 2011 compared to previous years? Did you have more revenue, more customer issues, or more operational complications in running your business?

If you did not create a plan, then do so. You cannot arrive at a specific destination without a plan for getting there. Do not let another year pass you by without getting the things you want in your business.

A great way to do this is to create a checklist setting forth each goal that you want to achieve. Your checklist should include what you want to improve upon, new initiatives to implement, expected outcomes, and your budget for such checklist.

If you don’t have a defined budget, you won’t be able to accomplish each item specified on your checklist. The best way to prepare your budget for 2012 is to review your budget from 2011, which is the next step.

2. Review Your Budget

Taking the time to review your budget can make or break your company in the next year. If you found 2011 to be a difficult year, then ask yourself what your budget aspirations and constraints were.

For example, if you are a newer business, may be you had difficulty in growing to the level that you had anticipated. If you are an established business, you may have had difficulty with expanding your company, such as hiring employees, office space limitations or even new product lines.

Whatever the case, take the time now to create a detailed budget for 2012 to serve as your roadmap. This roadmap will help you to deal with any unexpected issues that may arise.

Once you have created your budget for the coming year, stop and look back at what worked and did not work with your marketing efforts.

3. Review Your Marketing Efforts

Marketing is a key component for any business. We all know that you really never get a second chance to make a first impression, so make sure that the first one counts.

For example, did your brand meet your customer’s expectations? Meaning, if you made a promise, did you deliver? If not, then ask yourself what you can improve upon to make sure that you do so in 2012. Can you automate your marketing?

With technology today, it is easier than ever before to get in front of your customers. From collecting email addresses to sending out discount coupons electronically, to integrating your marketing message with mobile devices, or to using social media to network. By incorporating technology into your marketing strategy, it will help your business to have long-term success.

4. Review Your Social Media

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, these are the three social media giants today. With millions and millions of users, social media continues to grow and is not going anywhere anytime soon.

So, how much social media presence did your business have in 2011? If the answer is not much, you need to look at how you can utilize social media in 2012.

For example, look at how you can use social media to promote your products or services, to post links to your newsletter, articles you have written or industry news, and to network with others to introduce your business. By using social media, you can quickly and effectively increase awareness about your business, increase traffic to your web site, and reinforce brand recognition, to name a few.

Besides social media, you should also review your web site to make sure it is up-to-date.

5. Review Your Web Site

Often times, web sites become stagnate. You get busy doing other things that you forget to review or even update your web site with current information.

So, take a close look at your web site and ask yourself some of these pertinent questions:

- Do all of the hyperlinks work?

- Is all the information contained on your “About” page still relevant?

- Have you optimized your web site with keywords to help Google find you?

If you answered “No” to any one of these questions, then it’s time to take action before 2012 and update your web site.

By implementing these 5 key steps in your business, 2012 will be YOUR year of the Dragon!

To learn other ways to increase your revenue this coming year, then make sure you sign up for the special Business Mastery Training webinar.

For other business strategies on how to grow your business, then check out a free business startup and growth training program.  If you haven’t signed up for that free course yet, I highly recommend you check it out too.

*Originally published as Issue # 55 – December 27, 2011

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