As we wind down to the end of the first month of a new year, you may have already set some specific goals that will level up your business over the next 12 months. But just in case you haven't, or even if you have and you may have missed something important, this list is designed to help you nail down some of the most important things you can do to grow your Maker business this year.
Don't leave any of this to chance. To achieve any measure of success in your Maker business, you need to be specific, mindful, and intentional. These 10 action steps will help you do that.
Donna Maria, Indie Business Network
1. Publish a weekly email newsletter.
The success of your business hinges on many things, ad one of the most critical is the quality of your email list and the frequency with which you connect with the people using an email newsletter. If growing your email list, and engaging with the people who trust you with their email addresses is not a priority last year, make it one this year. You won't regret it.s growing your email list a priority? If not, consider making this your main focus in 2018.
2. Blog regularly.
Set a goal to publish a blog post on specific days each month. If you publish two blog posts a month for entirely of 2018, by the end of the year, you will have created 24 new reasons for people to visit your website. Blog regularly. You can do it!
3. Refresh your product photos.
Over time, product photos can become stale and zestless. Set aside some time for a refresh so you can offer your customers a splash of new color and framing. You don't necessarily have to hire a photographer for this. Your iPhone, your products, and new location with lots of colorful backgrounds can provide fodder for dozens of new pictures that can be used in blog posts, on Instagram, and in product brochures. You don't have to spend a lot of money to keep things fresh!
4. Identify strategic collaborative opportunities.
The most effective (and the most fun) way to attract people to your brand is to make your brand fun to be around. To do this, you'll want to get the lift that is possible only when you connect and collaborate with other brands that are also fun to be around. When you do this, you leverage each other's success, and the fun is doubled, tripled, and so on. Host a high value collaborative event, virtual or in person, and watch the people come to join in the fun!
5. Solidify the community around your brand.
Some people say that content is king. I disagree. For Makers, content is important, but community is king. Whether it's a Facebook group, an Instagram hash tag, a physical event, or some other mechanism that draws a crowd, if you are building community, you are also building a brand.
6. Set sales goals.
If you are starting the new year with the goal of getting more sales, you are starting the new year with no goals. Set a specific monthly sales target and do your best to meet it. If you meet it, keep track of what you did to make it happen so you can repeat it in following months.
7. Refine your social media strategy.
Social media changes every day. While none of us can keep up with every single change as it happens, it is important to set aside some time specifically to assess whether your use of social media needs to be updated or changed in any way. Perhaps your original strategy is getting kind of stale, and people are not as engaged as they once were, or maybe you just need to focus more on one outlet and less on another. Take a look, and adjust as needed to keep your customers engaged and interested.
8. Delegate something significant.
What one thing do you do every day that you hate doing, and which someone else could do as well as you (or better) if you trained them? Find that one thing, and delegate it to someone else. If you do this once a month, by the end the year, you will have freed up dozens of hours of time that you can use to become a more effective business leader.
9. Measure website traffic and activity.
One of the ways you can tell what is working and what is not working in your online business is to measure traffic to your website, and what that traffic does after it lands on your page. Did you try something new that resulted in a spike in traffic? Repeat the process to keep the momentum going.
10. Connect with your peers.
Our private Facebook group is composed of thousands of Indie Business Network members, all with different experiences, skill sets, talents, and expertise. Sure, we can all learn from gurus and experts, but I believe the best way we learn is through the experiences of our trusted peers and business colleagues. Stop by and see how connecting with your peers can help you reach your goals this year!
I hope these strategic action steps are useful to you. There is so much more going on inside the membership, including learning resources to help you tackle each and every item on this list.
If you’re not already a member of the Indie Business Network, you’re invited to apply to join IBN today! We'd love to serve you.
Which of these strategic action steps resonates most with you? Which ones are highest on your priority list? Please share your thoughts and feedback in the comments below, or share on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.