Have you set your goals for 2014? Here's an article that was in a newsletter I received from Microsoft Canada SMB Canada that has some helpful tips for growing your business in 2014.
"2014 has arrived and what better time than now to resolve to do eight great things to grow your business this year? From setting goals to socializing more online, here are eight quick tips to help make this year your businesses' best: 1. TAKE STOCK. How's your business doing? January is the ideal time to assess your performance for the last calendar year. Do inventory (if you sell product). Catch up on your payables and receivables. Or schedule a meeting with your accountant to crunch numbers and discuss how to reduce costs and improve margins. 2. SET GOALS. Setting monthly or quarterly goals for your business will keep you focused on the big picture. Establish lead generation, sales or cost-cutting targets. Identify operational goals, such as finding a new supplier or improving your IT. Then commit to a monthly/quarterly review of these goals to track your progress! 3. REVIEW STAFF. If you're like many businesses, you might not sit down with your staff and give them formal feedback on their performance often enough. Take this time to schedule a meeting and provide a written review of their performance. A formal review will give them concrete direction and let them know they matter! 4. UPGRADE TECH. The technology you use can make or break you. If you've been holding out on upgrading your computer or mobile solutions, January's a great time to take "IT" on. Software and hardware has never been more powerful or affordable, so explore an overhaul yourself or talk to an IT consultant and get started! 5. SHOP AROUND. How often do you check out your competition? Doing objective competitive analysis is a great way to pick up new ideas. Review their websites. Visit their stores. Read their reviews. Try their products. And don't just look at companies competing with you directly – investigate companies in other cities for inspiration. 6. INSPIRE LOYALTY. It's always cheaper to keep a customer than find a new one, so why not brainstorm new ways to inspire loyalty in your business relationships? Maybe it's as simple as scheduling a lunch with an important client. Or trying out new ways to motivate your customers to repeat or refer business your way? 7. DO A SALE! No matter what type of business you run, introducing a clever new promotion will generate excitement and translate into new revenue. Even luxury brands do it! And you don't have to discount prices either. Be bold! Be creative! Brainstorm ideas on how to get that cash register ringing this winter! 8. SOCIALIZE. Love it or hate it, companies who do social networking maintain relationships, build their reputation and create new opportunities every day. Do you socialize? Set up a profile for your business using the same username on popular networks. Then go for it! And don't just follow or like, contribute your ideas."