In an effort to inspire people for the New Year, Brendon Burchard, Author of the The Millionaire Messenger: Make a Difference and a Fortune Sharing Your Advice, says “Stagnation equals suffering. Your mental perspective about how this year will turn out impacts how this year will turn out.”
The year is half over. How has yours turned out so far? If you’re less than thrilled, it’s still not too late to make a difference by changing your focus. I say we go for it, but what do we focus on?
In “2011: The Year of…” on American Express OPEN Forum, Laurel Delaney lays out seven trends to pay attention to this year, including cloud computing and mobile entrepreneurship. Laurel says, “You’ve heard of small business, big business and global small business. Welcome to the era of ME: Mobile Entrepreneurs.” Check out this and the other trends that she mentioned and see how they play into your small business as you decide what you’re going to focus on for the rest of this year.
For me, it’s the year of websites and emails. It’s not my only focus, but I have learned (the hard way) that I can’t do everything at once—and win.
Simple Website Tweaks
In my opinion, certain old school concepts will always have a place in business. Don’t get me wrong, I know that we need technology and innovation, so I don’t support being a dinosaur in life or business. But some of the things that we learned back in the day can go a long way—today.
I heard this as a child: Charity starts at home and spreads abroad. Well, to me your home online is your website, not your Facebook fan page, Twitter account, Google Places website or some co-branded product like Blogspot or Tumblr. You may choose to have those accounts because they do serve their purpose, but ultimately, you need an online home. And like any home that’s cared for, you’re always working to enhance it. In “7 Website Improvements That Will Increase Sales Now,” on American Express OPEN Forum, Ivana Taylor gives some great ideas for improving the effectiveness of your digital home.
She says, “If your website still looks like an online brochure, then you are missing out on the most effective lead generation tool that you have.” Then Ivana gives us seven simple actions to take. In fact, I double dog dare you (another childhood phrase) to implement or update your site using one of her suggestions today—not tomorrow, but today before midnight. I am working on #3 on her list. Plus, I have commited to tweaking something on my website every week.
Because (potential) clients find and judge me through my website (the same could be happening to you). For a lot of small business owners it’s the modern-day business office or front desk. So make it inviting and informative.
Email Still Matters
In “What’s the Future of E-mail?” Anita Campbell highlights findings from Score’s 2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review. Anita says, “Total Web email usage declined 8 percent in 2010.” In some cases, it declined even more, depending on the age group—among 25-34 year olds, email usages suffered an 18 percent decline, while among teens it dropped 59 percent. Despite this drop, Anita says, “Email isn’t going away, but it is evolving.”
My personal take on this mirrors another old-school phrase, this time from jazz legend Billie Holiday: God bless the child that’s got it’s own. I believe in having your own connections with your people (your customers) including their email addresses and their mailing addresses (because sometimes there is a need for good, old-fashioned snail mail).
The communication tactics we use in email may have to shift into something more personal, but there is still a place for this kind of connection with your (potential) customers. As Anita puts it, “Unless you market solely to teens, I don’t think you have to worry about email going the way of the dinosaur anytime soon. But you do need to be aware of changing marketing trends and make sure your business keeps pace.”
You may not focus on what I focus on for the rest of the year, but in spite of your schedule, choose something and begin to tweak your strategy in that area. It is amazing what a few focused and consistent hours can do.