NCET explores business and technology.
By Dave Archer
The New Year will arrive in a few days, so consider these resolutions for 2016:
This is the most fundamental item needed by any business. You wouldn’t drive across country without a map, and you shouldn’t try to start or run a business without a business plan. General Eisenhower said, “Plans are nothing, planning is everything;” and most of a business plan’s value comes from the thought process you go through while writing it. The Nevada’s Small Business Development Center’s NxLeveL program is one of the best ways to create your plan.
Your marketing plan – which can either be part of your business plan or a standalone document – helps you understand your product and services, your customers and competitors, and how you’re going to advertise and sell your products and services. As with your business plan, you should revisit and revise your marketing plan on a regular basis.
Find New Revenue Sources AND Control Expenses
A successful business owner focuses on both revenue and expenses and tries to ensure there’s more of the former than the latter. If you have a restaurant, for example, can you drive more lunch traffic by offering daily specials? Can you reduce expenses by reducing the number of breakfast items and thus your inventory costs? Resolve to look for new revenue opportunities and to review every penny you spend to find ways to save.
Network, Network, Network!
Networking is one of the most cost-effective ways to meet dozens and even hundreds of potential new customers, usually just for the cost of a breakfast or lunch. Reno has a huge number of networking opportunities, with professional groups focused on a variety of specific business sectors – such as NCET – along with general business groups such as The Chamber, EDAWN, and WIN.
Social media is a very inexpensive way to promote your business. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest and other services allow you to promote your business in a very cost-effective way. Many local organizations offer free or low-cost workshops on social media.
Board of Advisors
Most small companies are started by someone who’s very good at something, such as accounting, photography or Web design. That same person, however, might not be as good at finance, marketing or legal matters. Having a second opinion can be very valuable, so you should select advisors with backgrounds different than yours. If you’re an engineer, find a marketing person. You need people who will be brutally honest with you, so avoid friends, family or your spouse, as they might hesitate to be completely candid.
Good luck with all of your resolutions, and best wishes for a successful 2016!