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New Year’s Resolutions For Small Businesses In 2011

10. Get more face-time with your clients. In a globalised marketplace, you probably have clients you’ve never met. If you can’t meet them face-to-face (they’re based in Abu Dhabi), phone them, even if it’s once and that international call costs you a mint, it’s an investment. No budget? With Skype and Google Video Chat, there’s no excuse.

9. Build and monitor your brand. Don’t roll your eyes, brand-building requires diligence. Set aside an hour a week to ensure your social network feeds are updated, including your website text, and identify new marketing opportunities. When last was your LinkedIn profile spruced up? Your ‘About Us’ presentation? Have you set up a Google Alert for you and your company’s name?

8. Take your skills to a new level. When last did you go on a course? Pick up a book written by a subject matter expert in your line of work? How about a new qualification? Don’t get so wrapped up in running your business that you fall behind the thought leaders in your field.

7. Be inspired, renew your passion. Take a morning off to go to an exhibition or listen to a speaker. Remind yourself why you love this business!

6. Get out that yardstick. Set a goal – realistic or extravagant; don’t blunder into 2011 without a plan. It could be to double your earnings, increase your client base or your profit margin. Print out a giant barometer to stick on the wall and colour in as you progress, if it’ll help.

5. Do you have a hobby? Often your small business started out as a hobby, or a passion on the sidelines. Now it’s your job – get a new hobby.

4. Leave the bookkeeping to the pros – unless you are a bookkeeper, that is. Even if you are your sole employee, don’t shove receipts into a shoebox and hope for the best. A good bookkeeper will A) help you set up an easy-to-manage filing system for receipts and invoices and B) save you money by giving you advice on the most efficient way to manage your taxes and claims.

3. Give your rate card a makeover. The recession made small business owners fearful of increasing our rates, often working for bread crusts just to keep the doors open. The time is now. Nudge the bar up a little – a little, mind you, and your current clients won’t complain.

2. That old chestnut – work/life balance. You can’t provide a service to your clients with a stomach ulcer and your kids leaping in fright because a stranger (you) occasionally shows up for dinner. Here’s an unusual concept… office hours. Stick to them.

1. Go on a holiday! Enough said.

Georgie is Creative Director at Ideaseed, a specialist presentation design studio based in Sydney. As Creative Director she herds an international gaggle of creative geniuses who put the ‘wowzers’ back into presentations, motion graphics and design. Visit Georgie at IdeaSeed.com.au.