20 New Year’s Resolutions for the Online Seller

It’s that time! Along with any personal resolutions, online business owners need to figure out what they’re going to promise to do for their business in Two Zero Toothpicks. Here are 20 of ours to help you on your way.

1. Go Mobile

We’re entering 2011. That means we now live in the FUTURE. And the future is mobile shopping! More and more consumers are taking their hard earned cash to their phones when they want to spend it. Take advantage of that by making sure your store is mobile ready!

2. Get Out and Network

Quit being such a shut-in! Yes, you’re busy. We all are. But you’re probably neglecting one of the most vital things when it comes to selling – talking with people! Whether it’s a group of potential new customers or an old colleague, get out there and connect with the people in your life. Who knows? You might just talk yourself right into a business opportunity.

3. Market Locally

Just because your business is online doesn’t mean you can ignore the local community. Businesses that help out in and market to their towns and communities can inspire loyalty from the residents there. You don’t necessarily need a brick & mortar store, either. Just get out there and talk to your friends and neighbors.

4. Get Involved With a Charity

Speaking of being active in your community, find a local charity that needs help and get involved! This is a great way to not only foster good will in the town you live in but can also lead to meeting lots of great folks who can visit your shop. You don’t have to aim to save the world, either – buying the jerseys for a kid’s soccer camp will do.

5. SEO Optimize Your Content

Your customers want to find you, they really do. They just don’t know it yet. But they’re searching and searching and finding nothing. Fix that by sprucing up your SEO content. Do some research into what’s already bringing traffic to your site and expand on it. Also take a look at your competitors and find out what’s driving traffic their way.

6. Refresh Your Photos

The pictures on your website are so old they might as well be scanned Polaroids. They’re so bad your products look like they’re growing mold. Time for an update! Whip out that fancy new camera you got for Christmas and snap away. Don’t retake the same old photo, either. Find some new angles and set design to make your products really pop!

7. Spend 5 More Minutes a Day on Social Media

It doesn’t take a lot! Whether you’re already using Twitter and Facebook or just thinking about it, up the time by just 5 minutes and see what happens. You just might notice an upswing in visits and sales. Note: This 5 minute span doesn’t include getting distracted by a funny video your friend from middle school posted.

8. Find Lower Prices on Products or Supplies

You’ve been buying high priced paper from Dunder-Mifflin too long! Scope out their competitors and see if you can cut some costs. Saving a nickle here an a dime there may not seem like much at first, but eventually those costs add up. This can lead to big things in the future, including one-upping your brother-in-law’s presents for Mom and Dad next Christmas.

9. Get Rid of Excess

You may have lots of items that have never moved one inch from your inventory. You just keep them around because you hate to admit defeat or, hey, for nostalgia’s sake. They even survived the big move from the small garage to the big warehouse. Well now is the time to toss ‘em! So nobody jumped on the Jeff Gordon toilet paper you gambled on? Quit letting all of it take up space and make room for better items.

10. Pretend You’re Back to Square One

If you’re thinking of ways to improve sales, imagine that you’re back at the very beginning of your business career. How would a newcomer approach things? Would they take certain risks an old-timer wouldn’t? How would they delegate their time? Remember what it was like to be young and hungry again!

11. Organize!

Your desk is a mess. Your new calendar is already all sorts of wrong. Even your computer whimpers when you turn it on. Now’s the perfect time to get everything in order! Clean up that desk and make a goal to throw away at least half of the junk. Make organized notes on your calendar detailing every day you can. Back up data on your computer and free up space.

12. Work Smarter

Find yourself grinding your gears all day towards one thing while others get ignored? Figure out ways you can work smarter and not harder. Sure, it’s an old, boring adage, but it’s an adage for a reason. If that means outsourcing tasks, so be it. Find somebody to handle all your blog posts you constantly suffer through, or hire an assistant to reply to your 5,000 emails a day.

13. Expand Your Horizons

Yeah, you’ve made a good name for yourself selling Disney themed electric blankets. Is there another niche you can start to work on as well? Figure out what you really love and see if you can find ways to make money off it. You may be surprised at some of the products out there you didn’t know existed.

14. Increase the Time Customers Spend On Your Site

Keeping folks around on your website longer potentially leads to more sales. Are there ways you can improve your site so your customers want to stick around? Maybe you can add in a discussion forum where people can talk. Or how about creating a game or useful app for visitors to mess around with? They’re more likely to stay on your site (and pull out their credit cards) if you have something unique to offer.

15. Reach Out to Problem Customers

Problematic customers are bound to show up once in a while. Instead of grumbling about it, try to reach out and find out exactly what went wrong. Even if the person is a “just plain less than stellar human being” (trying to be nice here) there’s something to be learned. Reach out and see if you can rope them back into patronizing your online store once again.

16. Get Your Heart Rate Up

Hop off the computer chair and get moving! Half the world makes the resolution to lose weight and start exercising, but it’s almost doubly important for those of us stuck behind the computer 25 hours a day. Exercise can help not only your body, it can help your mind and mood. A healthier lifestyle can mean an improved outlook on life, which can lead to meeting more people and trying new things. For a small business owner, this is crucial!

17. Take Time to Wander

Yes, we’re actively suggesting you take time out of your slam busy day to goof off. But make it a focused goof-off: take a few hours one day a week to find a new blog series you love. Or search around for businesses that aren’t in your field whatsoever and notice how they’re running their ships. If you want to get away from business altogether for an afternoon, research some independent films or self-published books and how the marketing teams got the word out.

18. Think Positive

This can be a tough resolution to keep, but important. Keeping an upbeat and positive attitude in the face of economic hardships can not only keep you sane but can help with your business. Getting down in the dumps when things get tough won’t help anything and can possibly lead to poor decision making. Keep your chin up!

19. Dig Up Old Resolutions

Remember reading these kinds of lists last year? “I should make one of my own,” you thought. So you did. And now it’s hidden under a pile of your tax returns in the bottom left drawer of your desk (or deep, deep down in your computer somewhere.). Dig it out and see what you accomplished and what you missed. Pat yourself on the back for the wins and write down the missed opportunities on your 2011 resolutions list. Now tack this one on your wall instead of “misplacing it” with other papers!

20. Take a Breather

The holiday season is always rough. Take a little time to unwind after all the madness. Yes, even if you didn’t make out like the bandit you wanted to be.Step back from your computer for a bit. Brainstorm your way around issues instead of beating your head against your desk. Even if nothing immediately springs to mind, if you tackle things with a clear and relaxed head, you’re more likely to figure it out in the long run.

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