By Erika Bailey, State Director of the West Virginia Small Business Development Center
Each New Year is the traditional start of good intentions to diet right, get organized and, for entrepreneurs, improve business. Resolutions can be good for long-established businesses as well as those just starting out.
We asked our business coaches to identify the top four resolutions to help business owners move up to the next level in 2018. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Exercise your business plan
Most businesses start with a business plan. This is a document that spells out the business’s unique identity, the industry it serves, its market, operations and financial strategy. Business plans are not made to gather dust on a shelf. As the business changes, so should the plan. Reassess the plan to see what is working and what isn’t, what goals have been met and what new ones need to be set, and what new opportunities await in unexpected directions. Review, revise and update!
2. Get business coaching
Small business owners who seek professional business coaching or consulting from a subject matter expert gives their business a better shot at success.
The national America’s Small Business Development Center (America’s SBDC) reports the average SBDC client counts 15.5 percent annual job growth compared to the national average of 1.9 percent. The average SBDC client experiences 13.6 percent annual sales growth four times greater than the national average sales.
WV SBDC offers one-on-one coaching by appointment. The meetings are free and confidential. The coaches:
- Often have first-hand entrepreneurial experience
- Are certified in areas such as economic development, capital access, innovation and technology, and managing federal contracts.
- Help improve essential capabilities such as strategic planning, market development, cash flow management and financial access
3. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!
Many small businesses face the same challenges you do. Create a network of other small business owners who you can call, meet with and create a support system. They do not have to sell the same product or offer the same service – you’ll find commonalities in the other areas. You even may be able to cross-pollinate marketing and social media campaigns. Also, consider attending meetings and events in your community that are hosted by the chamber of commerce or other community organizations to further connect with people in and out of your field.
4. Step Up Your Social Media Game
In today’s digital age, social media is critical to your small businesses success. Social media is one of the most cost-efficient methods of advertising. Not only can you get more bang for your buck in terms of marketing and advertising, professional looking business social media channels build credibility with your clients, customers and the public. If you don’t understand how to properly use social media services, talk to one of our business coaches or consider hiring an expert who can help you get started or build your channels.
These four resolutions can help you increase sales, enhance visibility and build credibility for your small business. Our statewide network of 17 business coaches look forward to a bright and prosperous New Year as we continue to help our more than 115,000 small businesses continue to create jobs and expand business development in the Mountain State.