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10 Ways to Grow Your Business in 2012

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How can I grow my business in 2012? Once asked, this question became stuck in my brain asking itself over and over like an annoying song. I’m sure you’ve experienced one line of a song you stuck on a loop in your brain (It happened to me this week with M.C. Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This”).


To stop the loop, I commit my ideas to paper where I can see them, remember them, work on them, and sometimes share them. So here are my ten low-cost suggestions for growing your business in 2012.


1. Connect – If you can’t find a place to network, you’re not looking. SMC offers many networking opportunities. One of my largest clients is BNI, my weekly networking group. Going to a networking function is not good enough. You have to learn how to network. The hard sell at a networking function will certainly get you known, but will also earn you a star in the phone-calls-to-avoid directory. Learn to network.


2. Bring more to the table – Take a look at your top 10% of your clients. Find out if there are additional products and services they need and you can provide (value-added). Increase your value to your clients.


3. Appreciate More – I recently read a book called “Appreciation Marketing” by Tommy Wyatt and Curtis Lewsey. It’s a fantastic book on conducting yourself constantly from the paradigm of appreciation. Read it! Any description I give will not do the book justice.


4. Read More – Become the expert. We have to information in seconds; anytime and anywhere. Read more in the areas which, if you were the expert, would translate into dollars through credibility. SMC’s publications; “Dynamic Business”, “HRM Update” and “Government News” are great places to start.


5. Advocate! Every politician will tell you that small business is the engine of the economy. We are the small business and we drive that engine. Regulatory burdens and tax burdens are sometimes speed bumps, sometimes stop signs, sometimes a tree across the road and, unfortunately, sometimes a bridge out ahead. Whether or not it is interesting to you, government advocacy DIRECTLY affects you and your business. SMC is the oldest government advocacy organization in Pennsylvania. Its efforts reach local, state and national legislators. Get involved to help clear the roads and let the engine run.


6. Social Media – Dedicate more time to your social media efforts, but be smart about it. Do you put your time in social media because it’s popular, or do you have a social media marketing plan? You’re an expert in your field; engage in online discussions. If you’re not an expert, ask in online discussions. Either way: engage! Check out my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest pages and engage!


7. Volunteer – Giving of your time is a great way to offer your expertise. Whether it is on a committee, a board, a church, or a neighbor hood project, your efforts are appreciated and will associate good will with your name. You will meet new people (see Connect above) and if you can get your ego out of the way,  you may even learn something from them.


8. Be a better vendor – Have you ever surveyed your clients? Maybe it’s time to find out how you’ve been doing. Improve on your weaknesses and build on your strengths.


9. Ask, Seek, Knock – Ask for referrals from you best clients. Be sure to follow up on the referral. Not every referral is a fit, but you won’t know unless you knock on that door and engage. Seek out way you can help (not sell), and then knock on that door with a solution.


10. Revamp the Plan – Business plans should be dynamic and flexible. Take a look at your plan to see what you can adjust, what you need to adjust and what you need to throw away. SMC offers “Listening to Your Business”, a fantastic seminar to do just that.


There you have it. Ten low cost ways to increase your business in 2012. Now if you’ll excuse me, obviously I have ten ideas to work through…”Hammer time! Can’t Touch This!”

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