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What Are Your New Year’s Resolutions?

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As the end of 2009 nears, the majority of small businesses remain optimistic despite having faced one of the most challenging economic downturns in recent history. In fact, per a <a href=-http://smallbusiness. intuit. com/blog/where-small-is-now/2009/10/are-the-clouds-beginning-to-part. html->recent Intuit survey</a>, 80% of small business owners see opportunities and over 60% expect to grow in the next year.

To help them shake off the dust and start 2010 on the right foot, we here at Intuit have put together a <strong>Small Biz New Year’s Resolution Check List</strong>. It includes actions business owners can take to help them rev up for the year to come.

If you haven’t started thinking about new year’s resolutions for your business, take a look at the list below and pick and choose the right ones for you. If you have already started your list, did any of these make it this year? What else is on your list? Share with us here!

<strong>10 Tips for Small Business Success in 2010</strong> <strong> </strong>
<ol>
<li><strong>Spruce up your website… or get one: </strong>Your website is often times the first interaction customers have with your business. Does it help you make the right first impression? Perhaps it’s time for a redesign, or even just updating things like photos and customer testimonials, or adding a blog. Or, if “get a website” feels like a permanent fixture on your new year’s resolution list each year, make this the year to cross it off. Research shows that 2/3 of consumers turn to the internet first for information about local companies so not having a website could put you at a disadvantage. <a href=-http://www. intuit. com/website-building-software->Intuit’s Website Services</a> is an easy way to get started. You can get a website for free for 30 days, and then it’s as little as $4.99 per month after.</li>
<li><strong>Get to know your dollars and cents: </strong>Do you know what money is coming in and going out? Who your top customers are? Who’s paying on time and who’s not? Financial software like <a href=-http://quickbooksonline. intuit. com/->QuickBooks Online</a> can help you stay on top of your cash flow anywhere, anytime. If you already use financial software, but still don’t know what’s happening in your business, try making a regular date with it each week or month to review what’s going on.</li>
<li><strong>Become your customers’ best friend: </strong>Okay, so maybe you can’t become each and every customer’s best friend, but try to boost that personal touch and provide great service to impress new customers and keep the current ones coming back. <a href=-http://customermanager. com/->Customer Manager</a> can help you ditch the pen, paper and post-it notes, and organize all your customer info online or on-the-go. Or think about sending emails to customers to thank them or let them know about upcoming promotions. Services like the QuickBooks Marketing Center can help you identify which customers you should be reaching out to, and when.</li>
<li><strong>SEO your Web site. Huh?: </strong>If you don’t know what SEO stands for, it’s time to learn. And Intuit can help<strong>.</strong> Having a website alone is just the first step to getting found online. <a href=-http://www. intuit. com/market-business/->Intuit’s Website services</a> now has search engine optimization capabilities to help raise your business profile with important search sites like Google Maps and Yahoo! Local. And we can help make sure customers find you when they search for what you offer.</li>
<li><strong>Never say no to getting paid:</strong> Now you never have an excuse to say no to customers who want to pay by credit card – no matter where you are. Now with the cell phone you’re already carrying you can conduct business transactions right at the point of service, eliminating paperwork, follow up, and late payments. <a href=-http://mobilepayment. intuit. com/->GoPayment</a> lets you process credit cards payments and send an invoice in the form of an email or text message so you get paid right on the spot.</li>
<li><strong>Get more face time: </strong>When you meet a new face on the job, you never know what the relationship might yield: a sale, a partner, a mentor, an employee, a job opportunity, etc. Forging new relationships and fostering old ones is a good and important investment in your business and your career. Set the goal of attending one networking event per quarter or of making a certain number of new contacts per month. And be sure to nurture the relationships by going to lunch and staying in touch via <a href=-http://www. linkedin. com/->LinkedIn</a>.</li>
<li><strong>Add greenery: </strong>Plants create a peaceful environment and add oxygen to the air. Why not look around and see where you can add a plant or two. And, while you’re at it, why not green your office? Not only does it help the environment but it reduces your costs. Start by looking under your desk and see if you’re using a Smart Strip. If not, buy one! This energy saving power strip will reduce your electricity bill and help the environment. Other tools to help include applications like <a href=-http://workplace. intuit. com/AppCenter/moreInfo. aspx? AppID=3176″>Intuit Green Snapshot</a> and <a href=-http://workplace. intuit. com/appcenter/moreInfo. aspx? AppID=3190″>ExpenseWare</a>. These apps provide recommendations to green your business (cheaply), offering resources to help you along the way.</li>
<li><strong>Get social: </strong>You’ve heard all about social media, and have been meaning to see if it’s right for your business, but don’t know where to get started. Make the commitment to try just one new way of engaging with your customers. For example, connect with them on <a href=-http://www. facebook. com/->Facebook</a>, tell them about deals via <a href=-http://twitter. com/->Twitter</a> or check out <a href=-http://www. foursquare. com/->Foursquare</a>, a new mobile game that lets customers become the “mayor” of your establishment by “checking in” and rating your business via their mobile phone or laptop. You can even use it to send promotions to people nearby to entice them to stop by your business.</li>
<li><strong>Replace pen and paper: </strong>It’s time to evaluate how to streamline any processes you are handling manually – like running payroll. A recent Intuit Payroll survey of more than 1,000 small businesses found that 94% of small businesses are concerned with paying payroll taxes and filing tax forms accurately – which can cause small businesses to incur costly penalties. Yet, 43% admitted that prior to using Intuit Payroll they were using error-prone methods like handwritten checks to pay employees. To help you streamline employee payroll, Intuit offers a variety of options like <a href=-http://payroll. intuit. com/sem/iop-promo. jsp? cid=ppc_google_brand_iop_intuit-online-payroll&amp;priorityCode=3989200000&amp;sc=SAP-SEM-GGL_intuit_online_payroll-3989200000″>Intuit Online Payroll</a> that helps you save time and money, while accurately running payroll for your business.</li>
<li><strong>And remember to breathe…: </strong>When you’re running a business, you can be your own last priority, but your personal well-being directly impacts the well-being of your business, for better or for worse. Within your business goals for 2010, set a personal goal that will improve your mental health. Bake a half hour of exercise into your daily schedule, take up a hobby you’ve been interested in on the weekends, or even just make it a point to get fresh air for 15 minutes during the work day! Happy life, happy bottom line. A good book to read on this is: <a href=-http://www. amazon. com/Power-Full-Engagement-Managing-Performance/dp/0743226755/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;s=books&amp;qid=1259969700&amp;sr=8-1″>The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal</a>.</li>
</ol>
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<div><em>Sharna Brockett is on Intuit-s small business communications team. She lives in San Francisco-s North Beach neighborhood, along with a loud flock of wild parrots, and frequents the many small businesses in the area.</em></div>

Sharna Brockett is on Intuit's small business communications team. She lives in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood, along with a loud flock of wild parrots, and frequents the many small businesses in the area. View all posts by Sharna Brockett This entry was posted in Trends and tagged Intuit, online marketing, Small Business. Bookmark the permalink.« Previous postNext post » 0 comments 0 people listening Sign in or Post as Guest
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