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Resolve to Improve Your Business in 2017

This time of year finds many people considering how they can improve in the new year. We look at our personal and professional lives and reflect on the changes that we can make to help us become better versions of ourselves.  In this post, we offer a few simple tips that will help solo professionals amp up the joy and results of their business in the new year.

Add skills. Add a new expertise to your skill mix either through professional development or outsourcing. A good way to determine what to add is to look at the current year. Was there a skill or service that many of your existent clients needed? You can also look at the problems you solved for clients and consider how you could have broadened or deepened the work. It is also a good idea to  examine the business you did not win for common threads. Are there skills that would have made you more competitive? The key is to add a skill that will truly add to your bottom line with additional dollars or by increasing your value to clients.

Raise your rates. You’re probably not charging enough for your services. You may feel like your rates are competitive and the market will not bear an increase. However, independents often charge less than they are worth, so go ahead and give yourself a rate increase. Increasing your rates puts more money in your pocket but it can also help you discover higher value clients. Rates that are too low can have a psychological impact on how we view our value. Raising rates can boost your confidence and make you feel like you are stepping up to another level.

Work on a passion project. Scratch your creative itch by working on a passion project. This type of work is energizing and will benefit your entire business. Is there a company, cause or industry that you have always wanted to serve? Make 2017 the year that you indulge that yearning, whether it’s writing a book or bringing on a client in a completely new industry. The goal of working on a passion project is to do something that fulfills you regardless of the pay. In fact, it may even be a volunteer project. However, have a plan before you embark on this journey. Whether your project is a personal interest or hobby, paid work, or a pro bono project,  you need a plan. Map out your scope, hours, timeline and resources in advance. A plan will help you seek the right opportunity and prevent you from letting passion bleed you of profitable hours.

Rewrite your job description. Being a solo PR pro does not mean that you have to be chief cook and bottle washer. Take a hard look at how you’re spending your time. Are there administrative tasks that can be outsourced to an assistant or service provider? Are there junior level tasks that you can contract out? Conversely, there may be tasks that you should be doing more consistently that need to be added in 2017. If you’re struggling, consider how you would write the description if you were hiring for the job.

Don’t be an island. One of the dangers of working as a solo PR pro is allowing yourself to work in isolation. You may not have a formal team but that does not mean you are without support. Find people who will support you and if needed nudge you to achieve your goals in 2017. You may have different groups or people to support different needs. For example, you may join a professional group, such as Solo PR Pro for real-time feedback, support, and practical resources but also have an accountability partner or business mentor that holds your feet to the fire on the plans you set.

How are you planning to improve in 2017? What would you add to the list? Please share your tips and insights in the comments.

Featured image courtesy of Pixabay | geralt