You know what you need to be doing to market and grow your business because you resolve to do it every year. You might be including goals such as: Find a mentor, update business plan, find new ways to promote the business, get organized, and plan better. As you begin to list your resolutions for 2017, think about adding these less considered items, to your list:
Invest in social media. This might have been on your list for 2016, but you'll benefit by looking at this powerhouse marketing tool in new ways. Digital marketing is changing how the world works and is impacting daily life at all levels. Did you know that a majority of businesses have dedicated teams for their social media to market their products and services? If you don't have a strategy that takes digital marketing into account, your ability to compete effectively is greatly diminished;
Engage politically. The laws and policies passed by the local, state, and Federal governments, along with the unpredictability of elections every few years, can significantly affect how you run and grow your business. Stay in tune with upcoming legislation that can potentially impact your operations and strategy, ability to take risks, and to recruit and hire employees. Know who your legislators are and follow your chamber's news and updates.
At the nonpartisan MAHCC, we encourage our members to be active in the political process, to give support to candidates and political parties of their choice and even to run for public office if time and family life allow it. However, we caution our members to be careful not to mix business with partisan politics and to shy away from strident and polarizing positions or to be perceived as ideologues. Most small businesses serve local communities regardless of their customers' political affiliations;
Give back to the community. Networking is a trusted method for generating contacts that can benefit your business, but giving back to your community through volunteering is another kind of networking opportunity that can offer unexpected rewards. Share your expertise with others in youth, political, or environmental non-profits, to name a few, and encourage your employees to do likewise. You'll receive more than you give when you offer others the benefits of your leadership skills and life experiences. You'll find yourself in touch with other leaders which enables to you make connections that produce synergies and benefits well beyond what you might have thought possible;
Make reading a priority. You never know where a good idea is going to come from that will lead to new market strategies, products, or services. Moreover, you'll gain insights on how to improve your leadership and management skills, and you might even be inspired to blaze new trails. Furthermore, by reading a wide variety of local and regional newspapers and journals and books in multiple genres, your horizons will broaden which will enable you to benefit from the wisdom, education, research, and life experiences of experts, leaders, and trailblazers;
Get creative with capital. From the traditional SBA loans to crowdfunding and community banks, the possibilities for getting a critical infusion of funds are becoming more varied. Allow your chamber leaders to connect you with banking officers.
Most importantly, learn how to communicate effectively with bankers so that they can understand what your needs are. This requires some basic financial information about issues such as business debts, IRA returns, financial reports prepared by a certified public accountant, etc. For more complex needs, inform your banking officer of your plans in advance so s/he is better prepared to let you know which documents you need to bring when applying for a loan;
Rethink the value of "happy hours." Promoted as networking events, happy hours all too often offer little bang for the buck. Consider more judicious forms of networking such as personal introductions to business leaders who have the potential to provide you with expertize and fresh perspectives. These are the types of purposeful connections that can add value to you as you grow your business. Moreover, because business is becoming less local and more regional and global, consider joining organizations that have a broader orientation and a proven record of connecting people in meaningful ways;
Practice environmental stewardship. Regardless of which side of the fence you are on regarding climate change, only good can come from being mindful of our planet's resources where we live, work, and play. A long-term strategy for building sustainability in business that preserves our natural resources will have a positive impact on future generations—our children and our grandchildren.
The onset of the industrial age caused the deaths of many who worked in polluted factories, mills, and mines and who lived near manufacturing centers. In a somewhat parallel way, our business practices today will adversely affect the health of our children if we recklessly use our planet's natural energy resources and pollute our rivers and streams.
Fortunately, with open-mindedness and necessity as the mother of invention in environmental stewardship, benefits are emerging through the creation of new products and services and new employment opportunities and career paths. One way to pubicly signal that you believe in environmental preservation is to register your business in local Green Registries;
The MAHCC is a regional, thought-leading organization. We are here to help you and to develop a relationship based on trust, experience, accountability, and reliability because, in the end. your success is our success. To learn more about the MAHCC please visit us at www.MAHCC.org and/or see us on Social Media at www.Facebook.com/MAHCCwashingtonDC or www.Facebook.com/MAHCCdelaware.