A New Year’s Resolution For Your Business

For most people, the beginning of a new year represents a fresh start. From organization to weight loss, this is the time of year for new goals and a new outlook, not just on a personal level but on a professional level as well. As 2016 approaches, now is the time to look ahead and consider how you can fast track your business goals in the new year.

One of the most important steps to a strong 2016 is to look ahead and carefully plan long-term goals. Every business, whether it is a one-man operation or large company, benefits from a written strategy. The business’s long-term plan should include monthly goals and reflect current and future needs. Without a business plan, a company can easily lose sight of the overarching strategy, waste time and designate resources to unimportant areas. Make sure and resolve to effectively plan measurable and achievable goals for the upcoming year.

While the new year is a fresh start, it should also be viewed as an opportunity to jump ahead of the competition. Many businesses launch new programs and products at the start of a new calendar year, but these promotions should be marketed appropriately. A year-long pattern of success can begin in the first few weeks of 2016. Any business owner should make a resolution to take a running start into the new year by putting effective marketing strategies into place.

Finally, any business-related New Year’s resolution should include a strategy to manage cash flow and maintain financial stability. No business can predict profits and losses in a particular year, but a practical financial plan can help a small business maintain operations and make payroll, even in slow times. If you have concerns about your finances, take the new year as an opportunity to “circle the wagons,” seek counsel with a trusted financial planner and build a foundation for a stable year for your business.

Use the calendar rollover to take back the reigns of your operations and run toward a better, stronger 2016 for your business. No matter the type and size of your business, making practical New’s Years resolutions is well worth the effort.

3 Steps to Communicating Your Business’s Purpose

The most dedicated and purpose-driven entrepreneurs tend to build the most successful and thriving online ventures out there, and the idea and presence of a purpose is innately understood by most anyone who is setting out to start a new business. But, what about your customers? The concept of a personal purpose in life is well-known and understood, but far fewer people outside of the business world realize the importance of a business purpose. Many aspects of a business and its operations function best when out of sight of the public, but purpose is one thing that should remain up front and center. Keep customers in the loop with these three tips:


  1. Start an “about us” page. Customers who feel more connected to a business’s purpose and background are more likely to commit their regular business to it. On the business website, create an “about us” page that includes why the business was started, what problems it is solving and how it is making a change.
  2. Get blogging and get out there. Regular, valuable content is an excellent way to communicate a business’s purpose. A blog is typically one of the most effective forms of content to use for this. Even if consumers are not regular readers or visitors to the website, a few shares on social media can bring in new visitors and help spread information about the business’s purpose.
  3. Make your purpose a part of sales. A significant number of consumers base purchases off of two things: the product and the way that purchasing the product makes them feel. Creating an emotional experience during the purchasing process not only has a positive effect on sales, but also helps keep your purpose at the forefront of customers’ minds.


Shifting some of the focus back to the business’s purpose can also help reconnect owners with why they went into business in the first place. Remaining connected with and focused on that purpose is one of the most effective ways to continue leading a company with conviction and strength.

Launch Yourself to Wealth in 2016

Does it constantly seem as if there is a new tablet, smart watch or other technological innovation debuting every week? If 2015 was any indication, 2016 is shaping up to be an exciting year for new technology.


The rate of advancement in technology is no doubt an amazing feat, but all those new products can be put to work doing much more than tracking fitness levels or running game apps. Of course, any online venture will need to make use of the most basic technology in order to communicate with customers and sell products, but utilizing more advanced gadgets and systems to grow wealth is a strikingly attainable goal for most business owners. Here’s how:


  • Get in the geek circle. Follow technology blogs, network with IT experts and subscribe to relevant magazines in order to stay abreast of the newest products on the market. Early beta testers often write reviews and articles concerning all of the advantages, downsides and uses for certain products. Have you spotted one that could help your business? Snag it early on and get a leg up on competitors.
  • Use technology that saves you time and money. If technology can free up your time for your most important tasks, bring it on board and put it to use. When trivial or simply time-consuming tasks are taken over, you can put both your time and your money toward more profitable goals. Develop new products, focus on investments and use your free time to develop new sources of income.
  • Create new opportunities with video chat. When video chatting first debuted on the Internet in the early 2000s it was a finicky, pixelated piece of software that was not terribly easy with which to deal. Now, most people can talk face-to-face to someone on the other side of the world with their smart phones. Forget about the days of jetting across the country for a meeting and invest in a laptop or tablet with a built-in webcam or a solidly built desktop computer and a quality webcam. Have meetings with anyone from just about anywhere and grow your client list and wealth-growing opportunities.


Playing games and updating Facebook statuses are only a tiny fraction of what smart phones and tablets are capable of doing. Are you ready to make a difference in your wealth in 2016? Stand out from the crowd and use new technology to create the wealth for which you are aiming.

How to Negotiate in 4 Easy Steps 

Unless investors suddenly start tossing handfuls of start-up capital out of limousine windows like confetti, most entrepreneurs will have a fairly small pool of cash with which to work in the early days of a business. Unlike a family on a budget, business owners cannot clip coupons from the paper to spread the budget out a little further. However, business owners do have one distinct advantage that cash-strapped families do not get — negotiations.


Haggling over the price of spaghetti at the check-out line is silly and mostly pointless. The cashier has no control over the prices and, even if he or she did, there is little point in shaving an extra nickel or dime off of a single package of dry noodles. Business, on the other hand, can thrive on negotiating. Here is what you need to know:



Having a plan before heading into negotiations over product prices or contracts is not only advisable, it is necessary. However, that is not to say that you should not stop and listen to whatever counter options are presented. Drawing a hard line in the sand may not get you and your business anywhere. Remember, you need to be a bit flexible during negotiations, so have an idea of what you are willing to bend or concede before ever sitting down at the table.


Get over your fears

It can be a little overwhelming or even a bit scary to ask for what you want during negotiations. Of course this is understandable, since no one really likes confrontation, but stop and ask yourself what is the very worst thing that could happen? The worst reaction is likely that the other party will say, “No,” and you will continue on with negotiations. Stand up for your business and its needs and never be afraid to put forward your requests.


Slow it down

Instantaneous gratification is hard to turn down, but fast agreements are hardly a hallmark of beneficial negotiations. Being in a rush makes it all too easy to agree to terms or conditions with which you might not otherwise be too happy. Slow it down, and remember that negotiations are a practice in patience. 



Know when to walk away

Ever heard your mother say, “There are some people you just can’t reason with”? Not every negotiation will produce positive or beneficial agreements, and that is just part of business. Know that you can end the process and walk away when necessary, especially if your business is at stake.


Purchasing goods or services at a reduced price is an excellent way to reduce costs, not just in the early days of a business but also throughout its lifetime. Negotiating skills are necessary for virtually all business owners, and honing them as early as possible is a key step to ensuring success.

Affiliate Sales Lag with Outdated Mobile Sites

Affiliate marketing has existed as a valid business option on the Internet since about 1994 when e-commerce was still in its fledgling form. Back then, people accessed websites through desktop computers at work, the library or at home, and mobile browsing was all but a speck in developers’ minds. Back then, businesses only had one website to worry about, but with the rise of mobile platforms, mobile-friendly sites are now a necessary aspect of any successful business.

So, why should affiliate marketers be concerned with mobile websites? For those who receive a commission per purchase and not per click, the implications of a shoddy or non-existent mobile platform can be devastating for profit margins. When faced with difficult-to-navigate mobile websites, about 70 percent of customers who initiate transactions on smart phones or other mobile technology leave before ever completing the process.

Considering the amount of time and work that goes into creating a valuable piece of content that contains an affiliate link, that is an awful lot of work for exactly zero payout. Make sure you consider the following when deciding which affiliate programs to sign up with:

  • How easy it is to navigate the mobile website or platform.
  • Whether the program pays per click or per purchase.
  • Success rates of other people involved in the program.

Building your own business as an affiliate marketer means that you need to do more than just research the products for which you are creating content. Before committing to any affiliate program, make sure that you understand the risks and benefits associated with it.

Your Family Is Not the Target Market

Love and support from family and friends is an often overlooked tool on the road to success. While not quite necessary to make it to the top of any challenge or goal, it certainly is nice to have those you love backing you up. With that being said:

Stop treating your family like customers.

Offering discounts or early sales to people in your family seems like an okay enough idea, but this often results in two equally negative outcomes. 1) Time that should be spent focusing on actual customers and your target market is wasted and, 2) early sales to loved ones are often conflated with real-world success. Want to avoid this? Instead of asking for sales, ask for the following when looking for support from your family:

  1. Understanding. New businesses take an enormous amount of time and effort to get started. Let your family know what is going on and ask that they be patient with you during this busy time.
  2. Text messages. Remember how busy you are? You might not have time to drop everything for a phone call, but reading a small message of encouragement from a friend or family member before heading into a meeting can be invaluable.
  3. Support. Do you not have enough time to cook at night? See if your parents can spare a few frozen casseroles. Does your daughter get out of school at the same time you have an important meeting? Call in the reinforcements and have a family member pick her up.

Not everyone lives near their loved ones or has an amicable relationship with their family, but for those who do, be careful not to alienate or ostracize them by treating a family member as a customer. Instead, keep your focus on your growing business and ask your family to be patient with you while you work.


Stop Wasting Your Time With Useless Meetings

There’s an image floating around Facebook of a coffee mug with the statement, “I survived another meeting that should have been an email.” This hilarious image rings with an element of truth–everyone has been subjected to meetings and conferences that accomplish very little. Statistics indicate that employees waste an average of 30 hours per month in useless meetings, which, in turn, result in lost revenue for the employer.

We’ve all been subjected to boring and unnecessarily long meetings, but it is possible to make these times productive and effective. Want to save money and respect the time and effort of your employees? Consider the following before you plan your next business meeting:

  1. Make a plan. Every meeting should have a clear agenda. Without a definitive plan, it is easier to get sidetracked. An agenda should be prepared and circulated to all who will attend the meeting well in advance.
  2. Limit technology. iPads, phones and powerpoint presentations are all beneficial, but in many cases, it can actually slow down your meeting agenda. You may be able to streamline your meetings by making your conference room a “device-free zone.”
  3. Keep meetings small. The larger the group, the harder it is to capture the attention of all participants. Smaller groups are easier to work with, less distracted and more likely to move through your meeting agenda in an efficient manner.
  4. Understand the purpose of the meeting. Ask yourself, “What is the point of this meeting?” If you simply want to update your employees or ask for feedback, it may be possible to send this information in an email. Emailing also provides the opportunity for employees to respond and express concerns privately, something that may not be possible in a large group meeting. 

Collaboration is a an important aspect of any business, but it requires a careful balance of time management and necessity. If you suspect that your employees are “meeting weary” or your meetings are not as effective as possible, try revamping your approach. Shorter meeting times, clear agendas and a focused approach are clear steps toward more efficient collaborative efforts. Instead of simply surviving meetings, make sure they are actually beneficial for the success of your business.

Defining Your Purpose Can Lead to Happiness in 2016

The holidays normally give most people the opportunity to sit and reflect on the past year, and, for some, this can lead to less than ideal realizations. When living outside one’s purpose, happiness is not always easy to come by, which can foster feelings of hopelessness and distress that so many people seem to experience this time of year. Instead of being resigned to the “same ole, same ole” and another year of dissatisfaction, take the time to figure out if you are truly living up to your purpose.


Are you happy?

While fulfilling your life’s purpose does not necessarily result in immediate happiness, it should definitely lead to future enjoyment. If your answer was “no,” take the time now to try and figure out exactly what your purpose is and then how to apply it to your life in the New Year. Here are a few tips and tricks for discovering your purpose:


  • Spend some time journaling and reflecting on your life. Focus on your current goals, wishes and wants.
  • Evaluate what would make you most happy and how to attain that feeling.
  • Consider your talents and expertise. Do you have a flair for business or service? What about creating or helping?


Once discovered, your purpose should act as a light guiding your path in life. After that purpose is unearthed, use it to define and shape any resolutions that you set during the New Year, and consider keeping a journal along the way. By the end of 2016, you should be able to reflect back and see the changes that your purpose has brought into your life.