5 Gifts to Give Yourself (and Your Business) for the New Year

5 Gifts to Give Yourself (and Your Business) for the New Year

5 Gifts to Give Yourself (and Your Business) for the New Year

The new year is a time for new beginnings — and what better way to start 2014 off right than by giving yourself (and your business) a few gifts? After all, you’ve worked yourself ragged in 2013. It’s important to take a moment to recognize all of your achievements so that you can feel excited and inspired for the many ways you’ll continue to grow your business in the year to come. Here are five great gifts that will be as good for your business as they are for you, both now and throughout the year.

1. Evaluate Your Online Reputation

In 2014, give yourself the gift of a good impression. From big businesses to small, your online reputation matters. Consumers spend a lot of time researching businesses online before entering into a relationship, and if there’s even so much as a little confusion about whether or not you’re a good company, they’ll be hesitant to move forward. This effect is so strong, one study found that consumers were 40% more likely not to buy a product they really loved and wanted, just because they disliked the company.

While you may never be able to fully control the conversation online, it’s important that you at least be responsive to all feedback so you can demonstrate to potential customers how polite and caring you really are. This is especially effective when a negative comment is poorly written and hostile in contrast to yours. Responding cheerfully and helpfully is just as important for positive feedback as well in creating customer loyalty.

There are services for reputation management, but you can probably do a great job on your own. If you’ve never done so before, start with a full audit, Googling your company name and searching social media sites to see where you’re mentioned. From there, put together a management plan. This should include regular checks of review sites like Yelp, and time set aside to respond to comments on your website and social media. You should also set up Google alerts so you’ll always know when you’re being discussed.  This will be an effective way to address criticism, and it will also feel great when you see someone saying something nice about you.

2. Spruce Up Your Website

You may love your website, but just like everything in life, it needs a little fix-me-up now and again to keep it feeling fresh, modern and relevant. Doing so doesn’t have to mean a complete overhaul. You could do something as simple as adding a few new photos to your main slider, whether they’re of your employees, your products or your successful customers. As you take stock of your business in the new year, make sure to add details about any new product or service you’re offering, and to update old listings so they adequately reflect just what it is you do. You know how your company is constantly evolving; give yourself the gift of effectively communicating all that you do to your customers.

3. Do an Analytics Review

When you’re caught up in the day to day of running a business, it’s easy to lose track of the progress you’re making. Hey, just getting the phones answered and keeping the reception candy jar stocked takes up enough time as it is!

But if you never take the time to step back and really take stock of all that you’ve accomplished this year, you’ll put yourself on the fast track to disillusionment and burnout. To get 2014 started on the right foot, stop for a moment for a little analysis. If you haven’t done so in awhile, take a look back at your many Google Analytics reports and Facebook Insights for the year to see how your web traffic has grown. Did you see a big boost in referrals thanks to an excellent Facebook campaign? Did a well-conceived Thanksgiving sale up your conversions in November? Has an excellent content strategy increased comments on your blog? Having this data in hand will help you really visualize all of your hard work.

4. Outsource Your Social Media

These days, social media is a must. But just tweeting out something random when you’ve got a spare moment every couple of weeks isn’t going to do much good. A social media strategy requires presence on multiple platforms. It also should follow the 80-20 rule, with 80% of your content acting more like media than marketing and only 20% devoted to self-promotion. This means taking a lot of time to find or create photos, articles, infographics and videos that are highly relevant to your audience — one you’ve gotten to know well and with whom you engage on a regular basis.

All of that takes time — and if you’re like most business owners, that’s the one thing you don’t have. In the new year, stop stressing over your social media activities (or your lack thereof) by outsourcing your social media activities to a reputable firm. It’s up to you whether that means having the firm cover all of your social media or just lay the groundwork so that you can hit the ground running. The important thing is getting someone else on your social media team to keep thing consistently high quality. Alt Creative offers affordable packages to cover a wide range of budgets and individual needs.

5. Snap a Few Glamor Shots

Sure, that old selfie you’ve posted on your website was sufficient when you were just starting your business. But now you’ve got a chic new do and are looking for something a little bit more professional. Reward yourself (and your business) with a set of professional headshots. Not only will they make you feel great about yourself, but they’ll also look a better on all of your marketing materials, whether that’s your website, online networking sites, business cards, posters, book jackets, flyers or pamphlets. Potential customers will be much more impressed, too, and you just might get a compliment on that new cut.

The Takeaway

In the new year, there’s no better way to reward yourself than creating more efficiency in your business. Doing so in turn will carve out more time to devote to the things you love about your business. So go on, reward yourself, and have a happy New Year!


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