Well, kids, it’s the second week of January and that means the rules have officially changed. Sorry.
Last week it was plenty fine to gorge yourself on resolutions, predictions and self-help posts, but that week is over. Now it’s time to focus on being more profitable this year than you were last. And you won’t do that with a list of trite resolutions.
You’ll do it with action.
Below are five actions I’d encourage all businesses to take to ensure 2013 is even more awesome than 2012. Because even if your 2012 was pretty great (mine was) there’s always room for improvement (and additional monies).
We all enter into the New Year with plans. We have lists of things we want to accomplish, milestones we want to reach, and clients we want to serve better. Unfortunately, for many people, that’s where all these Big Ideas stay – on their New Year To Do List collecting dust.
The way to make 2013 count? By doing something. Hell, do anything.
Do something that’s going to enrage people.
Do something that will delight and surprise them.
Do something that will be a total flop but that you’ll learn from and do better next time.
Do something so you have a great story to talk about during the next holiday. Or conference.
If you’ve read any of the 2013-themed posts from the past two weeks, you have an idea of what you want to accomplish and what will be important to your business. Now pick one item off your list, create a plan for how it’s going to get done, and launch it. Map out now only the end goal, but the steps and milestones you’ll need to hit along the way to help you get there. Because that’s the only way you will get there.
And do all of us a favor – when you’re plotting the course for 2013, AIM HIGH!
Michael Arrington let out a cry recently saying: I’m Bored. What’s Next? While I don’t consider myself a huge Arrington fan, even I was fist-pumping in the air with that.
Mobile is not new. The simple fact that you have an app is not revolutionary. Your social media efforts are not new. How you use these things, could be. Dream a little.
2. Bring Value, Not Attention
Have you caught this one making the rounds?
In it, The Onion takes a crack at social media experts saying businesses are now using social media to cover up the lack of original thought. I know, we’ll ignore the fact that calling social media unoriginal isn’t exactly original itself, and get straight to the heart of it – yeah, the video’s not totally wrong. There are plenty of corporate and personal brands who have used social media to rehash what others are saying, to share content without having to write it, and to echo whatever everyone else is doing.
It’s boring. But instead of hating people for it – why not just be better? Let others dance in circles. You take the straight line to your customer’s brand loyalty.
Part of my position at Overit means helping clients come up with creative uses for social media. Uses designed to bring value to their customers. See, that’s where it always comes back around to for us. It’s about being smarter about social media in a way that fattens your bottom line. The 900,000 Twitter bots that just followed you probably don’t have credit cards (or thumbs) to purchase from you. But that person whose problem you just solved by being a brand customers love?
They will remember. They will share your story. They will buy your stuff.
Is this a new concept? I cried for brands to be useful in 2006, again in 2008, and probably a few more times after that. Adam Singer has a great post from 2009 that also urges brands to be genuinely useful. But that doesn’t mean brands are any better at it. Google is so hell bent on being popular they have to trick people into creating Google+ accounts. Imagine if the service was just, well, wanted?
Your actions this year should be backed by the value they deliver to your audience. Nothing else.
3. Be a Renegade
Did you catch Marcus Sheridan’s post on renegade methods for content marketing?
Did you read hear Michael Dorausch’s recent BlueGlassX local presentation when he shattered what you thought you knew about getting links through content [liveblogged by Michelle Lowery]?
Were you around in 2009 when Jonathan Fields talked about the renegade employee and developing a renegade think tank?
These posts often make people uncomfortable because they turn what you thought you knew on its head and challenge you to be better. Embrace that, don’t run from it. Read these posts and let your brain soak them in. Write a list of how you can implement some of what’s being described within them. Then tack that list someplace you’ll see it every day (like perhaps on your Keurig) as a daily reminder that you’re supposed to be doing something different.
4. Acknowledge Weaknesses. Then Crush Them
I have a small confession to make: I’m having a silent love affair with Jonathon Colman and he’s not even aware of it.
I just can’t help it.
Jonathon does something I love – he holds himself and (even better!) our industry accountable and challenges both to be better.
You’re probably a pretty smart person. There are a lot of things you’re good at and tons of stuff you have going for you. That’s super.
But what’s more interesting is what you’re not good at. What can you fix? Be honest about those things. Because that’s where growth happens and it’s what makes you interesting.
Earlier this week Jonathon published a guide to public speaking for introverts. He tackled an area that was once hard for him and is now helping others overcome the same issue. Ross Hudgens, another great speaker in this industry, has also been open about his past issues with public speaking, even poking fun at himself a bit to show how far he’s come.
Adam Steele touched on an issue many of us either current fight or have fought in the past – entrepreneur guilt.
Overit’s CEO Dan Dinsmore has been honest about issues he’s tackled over the 20 years he’s run this company.
There’s this idea that it’s better to plow ahead and ignore the areas where we are weak. However, that idea makes zero sense. Know what you’re good at, where you could be better, and then surround yourselves with people who can help you crush (or at least improve upon) your weaknesses.
5. Ask For Help
Repeat after me: You are not a superhero.
Now, say it again.
You can accomplish everything you hope to this year. But to get somewhere you’ve never been you have to do something you’ve never done. That may mean asking for help. And that’s okay.
Jon Morrow published an excruciating post a few weeks ago entitled Suicide, Shame, and the Painful Truths About Accomplishing Your Goals. If you haven’t read it, you should.
In Jon’s post he notes the reason most people fail isn’t because of lack of talent or bad luck. It’s because they’re afraid to ask for help.
Your unfamiliarity with WordPress should not be the reason you don’t launch a blog this year.
Your poor writing skills shouldn’t be why your site spends another year without content.
Ask for help. There are services like Fiverr which exist to help you. You may also have people in your professional circles who can lend or a hand, or at least recommend someone who can. Get better at identifying your weak points, figuring out what you need, and then asking for help when you need it.
The New Year lull is over. It’s time to act. So what will you be doing this year to increase your business? What are you looking to achieve?