How to Make 2017 the Best Year Ever for Your Business. Is your business as successful as you would like it to be? If you are like most business owners, chances are the answer to that question is no. That’s because even if your business is doing exceptionally well, it could always be doing better.

So how can you ensure that your business will be better off in 2017 than it was in 2016? The best way is to sit down and ask yourself some important questions. What do I want my business to look like in a year? What are the important areas I need to focus on? Are there areas that I am neglecting?

Next, you need to make a concrete plan. For example, if you want to connect with more prospects, you can make a commitment to connect with a potential new customer every day. You can achieve this by attending more networking events or becoming more active on social media.

Perhaps you want to decrease the amount of time you spend cold calling. To accomplish this you will have to increase the number of customers who call you by stepping up your email marketing efforts or driving more customers to your website. Speaking of your website, is it working as hard as it should be for your business? If it isn’t, make this the year that you commit to investing the time and resources necessary to make sure it is doing the most it can to grow your business.

Whatever goals you set for your business, it is essential that you begin work on those goals today. Not tomorrow, not next week, not next quarter.

Finally, keep this in mind: the most successful people, whether CEOs, athletes or small business owners, have one thing in common. They show up every single day and do what needs to be done. They do this no matter how they are feeling. They do it on days when they are feeling unmotivated and they do it on days when they would rather focus on something else. However, no matter how they are feeling, they push forward and get the job done.

No matter what 2017 brings, the good news is that you have the power to make it your best year ever!

Everyone knows the importance of running an efficient business. Small businesses know this better than most because of their limited resources that must be used as wisely as possible.

No matter what the size of your business, however, efficiency is always a good thing. It leads to higher productivity and increased profits. Although it is easy to talk about creating an efficient workplace, implementing one is much more difficult. What follows are seven ways a business can ensure it is always running at peak efficiency.

1. Make communication count. Nothing slows down workflow more than miscommunication. Miscommunication also means work has to be redone—wasting even more time. Before any project or task is assigned, employees should have a clearly defined plan of action which includes who is responsible for each task.

2. Update technology. It may cost a little more at the outset but investing in the latest and best technology will pay for itself over and over. When you cut corners on technology you will experience slow response times, problems with data, and a variety of other issues.

3. Meet less. Unless a meeting has a clearly defined (and necessary) goal, don’t hold it. Often sending out a detailed email can eliminate the need to gather a number of employees in one room. It doesn’t take a math wizard to figure out how many hours a business wastes each year holding unproductive meetings.

4. Talk to one another more. Have you ever sent several emails back and forth to a coworker sitting down the hall? We all have. While email and instant chats have their place, many times an issue or question is resolved much faster by picking up the phone or popping into a colleague’s office for five minutes.

5. Go green. When you go paperless, you will save more than money. The speed at which you can share work-related information and other important data improves drastically, as well. You should also request that those you do business with—your bank and vendors, for example—send statements and invoices electronically.

6. Allow employees to telecommute. Many businesses are leery of embracing the remote employee but studies show that people who work from home are actually more productive than those who come into the office each day. This can be attributed to a wide range of factors including the fact that working from home is often quieter than working in a busy office, there are less distractions and two-thirds of people who work from home report working longer hours.

7. Put your money where your mouth is. If you are really committed to running an efficient business, consider rewarding employees who come up with innovative ideas to make your workplace more streamlined.

Making your small business as efficient as possible is critical to its success. The key is to gradually implement procedures that will help you to get the most out of your people and processes.


Identifying the target audience for a particular product or service your company is selling takes a lot of time and money. After all, you want to make sure that you are marketing to exactly the type of customers who are most likely to buy what you have to sell.

If, after going to all this work, you approach a prospect through email, direct mail or any other marketing technique and they fail to respond, you just spent a lot of time and money for nothing. Or did you?

We’ve all heard the adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” In the case of marketing your business, adhering to this adage is essential to success. Here are three important follow-up tactics to employ so that never miss out on a sale because you gave up on a prospect too soon:

  1. Repeat yourself. If you made an offer that your prospect isn’t responding to, restate the same offer but in a new way. In other words, emphasize different selling points. Many prospects may be on the fence about whether or not to buy. Highlighting some additional benefits can tip the scale in your favor.
  2. Create a sense of urgency. If you didn’t get the reaction you had hoped for the first time around, consider offering a bonus offer if a prospect acts in the next 24 hours, for example. Free shipping is another offer that buyers often respond to. You also can try offering the product or service at a discount for orders placed within a certain time frame.
  3. Present another option. Maybe the reason your prospect is not biting is because your product isn’t exactly what they are looking for. As a salesperson, your job isn’t to sell the product you want to sell, it’s to sell the product that your customer wants or needs. If a prospect has made it clear that they aren’t buying what you are initially selling, it’s time to give them another option.

While it can seem fruitless at times, continuing to follow up with prospects will in many cases be rewarded with a sale. At the very least, prospects will appreciate your persistence and likely remember you in the future when they are ready to make a purchase.


If you are a small business, you know that you need to keep up with technology and incorporate it into all that you do. Failing to do so is a sure way to lose money.

But technology can be overwhelming for many people. Are you a small business owner who has no idea how to move their business online? Does the prospect of crafting a social media strategy seem completely unnerving? Does technology in general make you feel completely inept? Don’t worry—you are not alone.

No matter why you have been unwilling or unable to embrace technology, the fact remains that if you don’t embrace it, you are missing out on customers and ultimately, profits. Knowing you need to utilize technology doesn’t make it any easier to do so, however.

Technology can be downright intimidating, especially for someone with no background in IT. And before you decide how to implement technology, you need to know what type of technology to implement. Here are the first steps to take in your journey toward moving your business into the digital age:

  1. Go Mobile. You must have a responsive website. In other words, your website must work well on all types of mobile devices, from tablets to smartphones.
  2. Get Social. Today, engaging with your customers online is as important as engaging with them at the cash register or on the phone. You don’t need to be on every social media site but you do need to be on at least a few of the major ones.
  3. Embrace Big Data. You may be a small business but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to take advantage of big data. If you are not collecting information about your customers and prospects by tracking their purchases and online habits, for example, you are missing out on huge opportunities to increase your sales numbers.

The next thing you need to understand is how to implement technology. This can be especially difficult if you have no background in IT or run a small business that cannot afford one IT staffer, let alone an entire department.

First and foremost, if you know nothing about technology, you need to find a partner that does. In almost all cases, that means an IT outsourcing firm. Most small business owners are surprised to learn how affordable such firms are—especially when they consider the return on their investment.

The right outsourcing firm will design a responsive website for your business. It can even manage this website. Further, such a firm can get you up and running on social media and take care of day-to-day tasks, such as posting on Facebook and tweeting. Finally, an IT outsourcing partner will make sure you are getting the most out your data.

Technology is a big deal. Implementing it doesn’t have to be if you know where to turn for help!

Happy Employees, Healthy Profits

If you are a business owner in the unenviable position of dealing with unhappy customers you are likely working hard to find out why your customers feeling are this way. One place you might not be looking to as the source of your customer satisfaction issues—but should be—is the happiness level of your employees.

According to several studies, businesses whose employees are happy, motivated and engaged have almost twice the amount of revenues as those whose employees are unhappy, unmotivated and disengaged. It is not hard to understand why. After all, when was the last time you were motivated to do business with someone who seemed miserable?
So how can you make sure that your employees are happy and engaged? Many business owners believe higher salaries and better benefits will do the trick, but this is rarely the case. Instead, making sure employees understand the important role they play in customer satisfaction is often the key.

The happiest employees know their customers well because they have a great deal of information about their customers. This helps them to better understand their customers and feel more in control. They also are able to better relate to them. It makes sense. Helping someone you feel as if you know is much more satisfying than trying to please someone you know almost nothing about.

It is also important that specific customers are always directed to the employees that specialize in what these customers need and have a specific knowledge of the products and services they require. This allows employees to better do their job which leads to a satisfied customer. And satisfied customers are more likely to provide positive feedback. Positive feedback is a great motivator so employees who receive such feedback will work even harder. When this cycle continues to repeat itself, everyone wins—the customer, the employee and the business owner.

If you still aren’t convinced that happy employees are the key to increased profits, consider this: Profits at companies that were recognized by Forbes Magazine in 2014 as one of the top 100 companies to work for saw an increase in profits of over 22 percent from 2014 to 2015.

Investing in the happiness of your employees can send your employees’ spirits—and your revenues—through the roof. And that gives everyone something to smile about!