THE BLOG
12/18/2014 08:12 am ET Updated Feb 17, 2015

10 New Year Tips for Your Small Business

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To ensure success in the new year, most small businesses don't realize that the process begins long before January 1. Instead, a lot of work goes into setting your business up for a running start when the clock strikes 12. Don't wait; start now with this list of 10 New Year Tips For Your Small Business.

1. Revisit Your Business Plan
If it has been a while since you examined this critical document, now's the time to get to it. Review it to ensure it's still aligned with your current company goals. Change what needs changing. And if you never had one, use www.enloop.com to develop one online for free.

2. Set Your Business Resolutions
New Year's resolutions are not all about losing weight. It is beneficial to lay out what you want for your business in the coming 12 months. Be specific, so you can actually measure results and see whether you accomplished them by year's end.

3. Build a Promotions Calendar
Sit down with a calendar and start looking at all the holidays or events you want to build promotions around. This will give you ample time to plan your social media updates, blog posts, advertising campaigns, etc.

4. Consider Your Hiring Needs
If your business is getting increasingly too busy for you to run with a skeleton crew, start planning your hiring strategy for 2015. Consider temps, freelancers, virtual assistants, and part-timers as alternatives to full-time employees if your budget is tight.

5. Invest in Technology
If you've been putting off that computer or software purchase, now's the time to go ahead with it. You'll be more efficient, if you have a computer that doesn't take an hour to load. Also, if you want to reduce your taxable income, you need to spend money before 2014 rolls away.

6. Create a Conference Plan
Attending conferences and industry trade shows can be so beneficial for you as a business owner. Not only can you meet others in your field (or potential customers) but you also learn from leading experts. Do some digging to see what's available to attend in 2015, and put them on your calendar.

7. Reassess Your Online Brand
Google yourself! Is it time for a new headshot or website refresh? What worked for you in terms of marketing this year? This is a great time to tweak your online strategy so that you identify the tools that helped your business grow, and cut back on those that don't.

8. Get Organized
If you're like a lot of business owners, your desk is cluttered, and so is your desktop. Spend a few hours throwing away and shredding things you don't need and organizing your computer files by year, i.e. Contracts 2015. It will make things easier to find. I guarantee you'll feel more together come January.

9. Refresh Your Employees' Skills
If you do have staff, now's a fantastic time to offer supplementary training to refresh their skills or give them new ones. Maybe they're not all using your customer relationship management software. That's the perfect topic for training.

10. Get Smarter
Your employees aren't the only ones who could learn more. If the end of the year is quiet for you, build in reading time. Read industry blogs, books, magazines, and anything else you can get your hands on to be on top of the trends in your industry.

If one of your resolutions is to reinvent your business or start a new one altogether, pre-order my new book, Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, 2nd Edition. You couldn't ask for a better holiday gift to buy yourself.

This article was originally published under the title 10 Ways to Usher Your Small Business Into the New Year at succeedasyourownboss.com

Melinda F. Emerson, SmallBizLady  is America's #1 small business expert. She is an author, speaker and small business coach whose areas of expertise include small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. She writes a weekly column for the New York Times, publishes a resource blog,  www.succeedasyourownboss.com which is syndicated through the Huffington Post. She also hosts a weekly talk show on Twitter called #SmallBizChat for small business owners. As a brand, she reaches 1.5 million entrepreneurs a week on the internet. As CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. Forbes Magazine named Melinda Emerson one of the #1 Woman for Entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. Melinda has been featured on MSNBC, Fox News, NBC Nightly News, and in Fortune, The Washington Post, USA TodayWall Street Journal and Black Enterprise. She is the bestselling author of "Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works," and the ebook How to Become a Social Media Ninja; 101 Ways to Dominate Your Competition Online.