Clothespins in a Jar

Summer is a wonderful time to retool a small company. The dynamics of the business often change, and the less hectic pace can provide the perfect backdrop to contemplate the to-do list. It reminds me of a childhood game, clothespins in a jar. When summer comes around, mothers sometimes ask their children what they want to do in the summer. The child will name a few things like trying the new neighborhood playground or learning to ride a bicycle without training wheels. The idea is written on a clothespin and put in a jar. The jar sits on the kitchen counter and the clothespin is removed from the jar once the activity is done. The goal is to have the jar completely empty before the fall when school begins and busy schedules resume. It is a fun game and a fabulous visual reminder all in one!

This summer, why not put a few clothespins in a jar for your small business. Select projects that you have not had time to focus on and either do them, or contract them out. Here are ten ideas to get you started and improve your small business:

Content Management

  • Produce a quarterly eBlast or newsletter and send it to your clients. The Return on Investment (ROI) is high when you find ways to keep in touch with your current and past customers. They will remember your company when you keep your brand in front of them in creative ways. Don’t succumb to the temptation to do a purely promotional newsletter, but rather develop original content so your clients will enjoy reading the eBlast.

  • Learn your website content management system (CMS). If your website is built on a platform like WordPress, learn how to upload your own pictures and edit the content instead of paying someone else to do it for you. According to WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg, almost 19% of the web now runs on WordPress, so understanding WordPress CMS is well worth the time and effort.

Social Media Strategy

  • Rebrand your social media. Have the banners, profile pictures and backgrounds customized to show your products, services and logo in an eye-catching way. Social media helps you engage with customers, show your brand and market your business too.

  • Integrate social media on your website. If you don’t have clickable, visible links to all of your social media platforms on your website pages, get a developer to add them for you. Once you integrate your social media, make sure to manage it.  See my previous blog: Stop Ruining Your Business with Social Media.

  • Come up with a promotion for your business and post it on social media.  One of my favorite Facebook promotion ideas is to have your customers post a picture of your product and how they are using it. Have them post the picture on your social media company page with a comment about their photo.  Offer a prize for the most creative picture, then ask if you can use it in your marketing!

    hire a quickbooks ProAdvisor

Finances

  • Get your business finances in order. Hire a QuickBooks Proadvisor or bookkeeper to set up a proper chart of accounts for your company and get all your revenue and expenses entered. Create a quarterly management report on QuickBooks and start to look at year-on-year comparisons of your business performance.

  • Keep track of your expense receipts in an organized way so you and your bookkeeper are not scrambling at tax time. Figure out a system to get company receipts to the bookkeeper in a timely fashion throughout the year. In addition to having documents at your fingertips in April, you will run your business more strategically by being on top of expenses.

Blogging

  • Start a blog, and then learn how to properly post it so it is optimized for search. By creating original content and developing a blog, your website traffic will improve. The market will also start to look to you as an expert in your field. Be patient, as sometimes it takes time for original content to produce results.

Website

  • Have your website redesigned so that the pages are fluid-width, responsive and they properly adjust to any screen size or mobile device. Website elements should adjust to accommodate desktop computers, iPads and mobile phones. If you have an e-commerce platform embedded in your website, it should be responsive and work on all devices as well.

Small Business Strategy

  • Allocate time each day to read. It is amazing how much knowledge you will gain by just reading 30 minutes per day in your field of expertise. Order subscriptions, find newspapers or electronic newsletters that have great articles and information in your company’s area of expertise. Set time aside to read them each day and stay informed in your field.

These ideas are just off the top of my head, and there are many more that will be specific to your company. So, this summer, if the pace of your business is a little less frenetic, create your own to-do list. Construct a visual reminder, your very own clothespins in a jar, and get motivated to dust off projects that you have been meaning to do. Need some assistance? At Resourceful Business, we can help with website design and redesign, QuickBooks, content management, blogging, SEO and small business strategy. Contact us.

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