Ten Resolutions of Your Home Based Business
By: Charlene Davis
The beginning of the New Year is the time to reflect on the successes and disappointments of our respective home businesses during the past year and resolve to make changes in areas that need improvement. Sometimes just a little tweaking is all that is necessary, while others may need to consider a complete transformation. Consider implementing some of the following resolutions for a more profitable business year:
1. Start by making of a list of the previous year’s successes and failures. What strategies worked and which ones didn’t? What steps can you take to improve some of your techniques? Which methods should you discontinue?
2. Have a business plan and follow it. You can’t make changes without a clear plan of action to make them happen. The devil is in the details and if you don’t have a well-articulated business plan to follow, your chances for success are diminished. You can start off with a mini business plan, which is more like an enhanced executive summary. However, if you are seeking funding you will need a detailed, comprehensive business plan.
3. Take time to continue your education and add a new certification to your credentials. Peter Davies said, "Motivation is like food for the brain. You cannot get enough in one sitting. It needs continual and regular top up's.” The best way to do this is to learn everything we can about our craft and business in general. Go to a seminar about tradeshow presentations or take an online course about website development. Develop inspiration by embracing knowledge.
4. Update your technology using the most efficient tools for your business. This can be done by adding a new software program to your computer or implementing better security measures. Add a back-up system or update your hard drive. Purchase a PDA to keep track of dates, phone numbers, and other important information.
5. Don’t waste time spinning your wheels. In the "Entrepreneur’s Almanac: 2008-2009” (Entrepreneur Press, 2008), author Jacquelyn Lynn advises to make your time count by reducing the amount of time you spend on activities that don’t generate revenue. "Take an inventory of how you’re spending your time,” she writes. "Then go through your activities list one item at a time.” The key is to decide if that activity is essential; if so, decide if it can be systemized, delegated, outsourced, or consolidated.
6. Broaden your horizons by selling complementary products or aligning with a similar type of business. Offer to speak at professional and service organizations around town so that you will become known as an expert in your field. Join professional associations affiliated with your business for great networking opportunities.
7. Create a website if you do not already have one. An online presence is an important marketing tool that can reach a far wider audience and expand your overall growth potential.
8. Get organized and keep track of your finances. It doesn’t matter if you prefer a sophisticated computer system or a simple spreadsheet kept in a notebook. Just make it a routine practice that is easy for you to use on a regular basis.
9. Develop a new marketing strategy. Start an online newsletter or join a social networking group like Facebook or Twitter. Send out press releases about new items in your product line. Offer to teach a local workshop on how to make candles or design beaded jewelry. Participate in craft shows or approach gallery owners to showcase your work.
10. Find a mentor who you can be accountable to regarding your resolutions. Preferably this person would be a home-based business owner like you, but it could also be your spouse, other family member or friend, colleague, or coach. It should be someone whose opinion you respect and who you can rely on to let you know when you’re slipping.
Creating resolutions are the same as setting goals for your business. They will be a lot more effective if you make them sensible and reasonable, instead of lofty and unrealistic. If nothing else, ask yourself to commit to one thing that will improve the success of your home business.
Here’s to a happy and successful New Year!
CHARLENE DAVIS (http://www.thewriteessentials.com/) is a internationally published writer specializing in business, retail, e-commerce, and food. She has written Design and Start an Online Travel Business in a Week, Start Your Own Photography Business, Start Your Own Clothing Store, and How to Sell Clothing, Shoes, & Accessories on eBay, as well as two additional books co-authored with Jacquelyn Lynn, Make BIG Profits on eBay and Start Your Own Senior Services Business (all published by Entrepreneur Press). Charlene wrote this feature article exclusively for the Association of Artisan Businesses (http://www.artisanbusinesses.org/), an organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the artisan industry.