1. Update Your Email Lists
For many small business owners, this one falls by the wayside because they feel they are the only ones who know all their clients and industry colleagues. If that sounds familiar, there's no better time than January in a new year to get your email contact lists updated and organized. Referrals will always be your top driver of new business so why put this one off any longer? If using a mail service like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, make it easy on yourself and simply begin by making sure all your contacts there have a first name so you can personalize your emails. Once that's done, work on segmenting your lists into Groups so you can further customize messages. One group could be labeled clients, customers or patients while another could be sectioned off as friends/family. Trust me on this one - it's worth the time.
2. Backup Everything
If you remember Y2K, this is a no-brainer. Every New Year's is an opportunity to remember to backup your files, photos, data, email lists and your website. Dropbox is a great tool (free for the first 2 gigs of space) backing up on the cloud so you can access data from other devices but I'd also suggest a physical, external backup device. For my clients, I download and backup their websites every year - easy to do if you're using Weebly or another web service that doesn't charge extra for such services.
Sure, you may know that 1st Quarter is your slowest time period and that 2nd Quarter is crazy busy but have you ever written all this down in a clear, concise plan? Even the act of writing or typing out your yearly marketing plan has value - you may come up with new ideas as you're writing it or if you show it to someone else, they could add suggestions you've not considered. It may seem clear to you but it could definitely help you to have a second set of eyes (even a marketing professional - see what I did there?). Draft it up, share with others for ideas/feedback and return to it every year. The upside here is that if you ever plan to sell your business or expand, you'll have a marketing plan that will articulate everything about your business or health practice that you want to share with them.
4. Next Level Success
Do you already know where you want to be in 5 years? Whether you are open to the idea of writing a book or retiring in Hawaii, now is probably a good time to prepare accordingly. If you're planning for retirement, begin looking at websites like BusinessesForSale.com or BizBuySell and see what the competition looks like. You may get some great ideas for how to build your business now, in preparation for your retirement.
If writing a book or starting a blog is in your plans, one big selling point for publishers is how many followers you have on your social media networks. Start beefing those accounts up now by running small ad campaigns to increase your base so there's a built-in audience when you need one.
Whatever you do, it will be awesome - believe it!
Side Note: I was inspired to write this piece after seeing a similar one on Entrepreneur.com - feel free to check out their piece: "4 Things You Should Do To Prepare Your Small Business for 2018."