5 Must Have New Year's Resolutions For Small Business Owners

Hey, hey! It's 2017 and if you're anything like me, you're determined to make this year the BEST year yet. Gaining more customers, increasing sales and cutting yourself a bigger check every month... sounds like a plan to me. Are you with me? (fist bump)

Which is why I'm super excited for today's post. I've put together 5 new year's resolutions every small business owner should have on their list to make 2017 the best year ever. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but this list guys... is seriously gold. Make sure to print off the complete 2017 New Year Resolution cheat sheet HERE to help you stay on track all year long.

5 must have new year's resolutions for small business owners

1. I will not lower my prices in hopes to sell more

Okay, this is a big one. I know the feeling, you're super eager to sell more. You want the sales constantly flooding in so you can grow your business to your biggest dreams. But here's the thing, lowering your prices just to hopefully increase your sales, is NOT the answer (especially if you're handmade).

In case you don't already have a formula, here's how you should be determining your prices:

COGS (cost of goods sold: materials, time, etc,) x 2 = wholesale price

Wholesale price x 2 = retail price

For example, say I sell socks. In order to make these socks I have to have thread, fabric, hang tags, packaging, plus the time/cost it takes to make them. Costing me $6 in all.

Take $6 and times that by 2, equally $12. This is my wholesale price.

Now I'm going to take my wholesale price of $12 and times that by two, equalling $24. $24 is my retail price and how much I'll be selling them for on my website.

Stay as close to this formula as possible. Don't short yourself. It's important to price your products in a way that will allow your business to profit and grow.

If you're barely making a profit, you're literally selling to work. What do I mean by that? It means every time someone buys your products, all your money goes into your work in order to produce that product. You're basically a non profit organization. 

Now,there's nothing against non profit organizations, but, I'm assuming you got started this business with the intent to make money off of it. To pay the bills, pay the mortgage, buy groceries.

You will never get passed climbing that hill unless you have a good cushion of profit.

Have pride in your products and focus on the value you bring your customers by solving their pain. 

Every time you create a new product throughout the year, figure this formula out first. It will help you determine which products are worth pursuing, which need to be re-evaluated in production and which to completely trash.

2. I will not short myself

Okay, now that you won't be selling your products for anything less than what their worth, it's time to make sure you're not under valuing them.

One of the BIGGEST issues I see with small shops and handmade businesses is that they completely forget to factor in the cost of TIME it takes to make their products. Many times, this is because when you're first starting out, you're making them yourself and don't think of yourself as a laborer.

You have to imagine that you have a full team 100% of the time. If you had someone sewing your socks, how much would they charge you to make them? Without factoring time in to the equation, you will NEVER... I repeat, never be able to grow your business. 

So let's say the going rate for a seamstress in your area is $10 an hour and you can make about 4 pairs of socks in an hour. 

Take $10 and divide that by 4, equalling $2.50. This means it'll cost you $2.50 in time to make one pair of socks.

Do NOT leave out this number. It's crucial to ensuring you have a profitable year. Trust me, you will kick yourself in the face later if you do.

Now, if you're still the person making your products... PAY YOURSELF this amount. Just as you would an employee. It's how business works, get used to it.

Learn from my mistakes, for the first 6 months of my business I didn't factor in time, in order to keep my numbers low and because I didn't think of myself as a worker... and when the time came to hire seamstresses, I had to drastically increase my prices, which totally killed me.

My customers weren't happy and my sales went drastically down. It wasn't fun.

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3. I will invest in myself and learn at least one new skill this year

Okay, this is probably my most favorite new years resolution to date. Investing in yourself is SUPER crucial for upping your game this year.

And this is definitely THE year to do it. With online courses readily available at your fingertips, it's time you take the time and invest the money to learn and an everything you can that you've secretly been wanting to.

Here's the thing, back in the day if you wanted to learn how to edit photos in Photoshop, you'd have to enroll in a class at your nearby community college. Heck freaking no!!! Having to commit to going to a class every week is not ideal as a small business owner. Not to mention that hefty price tag attached to it.

Online courses is where it's at yo! Most are under $200 and are go at your own pace. Meaning, you can dive into the course full force to get it over with, or you can designate an hour a week if you want. Going on vacation? No problem, start where you left off when you get back. No biggie!

It's so important to invest some time this year into becoming an expert in the areas your lacking or have zero confidence in. 

If you can pick just ONE area you need improvement in, and tackle it like a freaking boss.... I promise, this year is going to do wonders for you. 

No ore of the "I can't afford an e-course right now" bullshit... just bite the bullet and do it. most e-course offer a money back guarantee. If you're not happy, you can get your money back... you can't afford NOT to take that course you've been eyeing yo!

Also, read the testimonials. If a course is worth taking, you'll most likely make your investment back plus some in just a few weeks. Holler, that's my kinda investment.

Below are a few courses you might be interested in:

4. I will only market my products to my ideal customer

Too often I see businesses trying to appeal to everyone. This is one thing you definitely don't want to do. I don't care what you sell.

So you need to ask yourself a question right now... "who is your perfect customer?"

If you can't come up with a clear and concise answer, you've got the "let's sell to everyone" syndrome.

You should know this person better than you know your best friend. Define your target market by answering the following questions below:

  • how old are they?
  • are they married?
  • do they have kids?
  • where do they live?
  • what's their annual income?
  • what TV shows do they watch?
  • what kind of music do they listen to?
  • what are their hobbies?
  • are they male or female?
  • what brands do they like to shop from?

Once you've got this part nailed down, start marketing to this specific individual. Trust me, it'll make a world of difference Why?

Great question. Because every time you send a newsletter, every time you post on social media, every time you send out an order... your audience is going to feel like you're speaking directly to them. Like you read their mind and just "get" them. 

Once your audience feels that connections to you, they become your biggest fans spreading the word about your brand like wildfire.

You'll start to notice your sales are more successful, your posts get more engagement, your products start to fly off the shelves and your customers start to double.

The more specific your ideal customer is, the more you'll see your sales go up!

5. I won't be afraid to reach out

We all know the feeling... wanting to reach out to that big time blogger we secretly stalk on Instagram, but worry that they have no idea who you or your brand is.

Wanting to connect with your local news station to run a story on your business or feature your products on one of their shows.

Wanting to connect with that shop owner who's just killing it but are too afraid because you don't know what to say, or are scared of looking stupid.

Trust me, we've ALL been there. Even the biggest of the biggest find themselves in this same boat.

So your new year's resolution this year is to act as if you'd never hear a no. If you knew the answer would be "yes" to every email pitch you sent out... how many emails would you send? My brain is going crazy even just imagining the possibilities. 

Dream... Come... True.... RIGHT?!

So this year, be fearless and just go for it. And watch things start to happen for you. 

I don't know how many shop owners email me asking how I got my brand featured in the Huffington Post (still my top traffic source almost two years later). My response? I simply asked the editor to write about my awesome brand Lot801.

How many texts I get from friends of mine (also shop owners) asking how I got Oh Joy! to include a few pairs of my leggings in her mini style blog posts... my response? I asked her to.

**P.S. checkout THIS post to learn more about how I do my own PR.

Seriously, you never know what will come from asking.

Say you send 100 emails this year to people you never thought in a million years would even respond. Now let's say you get even just 10% of those people to respond saying YES... that's 10 amazingly HUGE opportunities you never would have gotten, if you simply never sent them an email asking.

If I had just continued to wish and hope that my products would someday be on TV... I would've never gotten featured more than 3 times on our local TV shows. How did that happen? I simply sent an email to the producers of the shows and asked them.

Seriously, why people are so afraid to ask is beyond me. The worst thing that can happen is you don't hear anything back or you simply get a no. So what?  Move on to the next.

Alright, now that we're all motivated and ready to make 2017 the best year yet... make sure to print off the 2017 New Year Resolution cheat sheet by clicking the button below to help get you started and keep you on track yo!

-Linds