December 7 and counting. While most of us have a jam-packed agenda for December with Christmas shopping to be done, parties, last minute things to finish at work, deals to close and family to catchup with, it seems that many small business owners get so caught up in what is going on, that they forget about what the future may hold.

2012 isn't going to be easy. It is predicted that we will see more floods, earthquakes, droughts, heat waves and cold spells as the world's weather patterns show increasing destabilisation but fortunately the world will not end as previously predicted on December 21, 2012.
Business slowing down when it should be speeding up?

The economy is predicted to continue on a downward spiral in many parts of the world and for ordinary Australians, it's going to mean difficult times keeping up housing repayments and staying employed.

So, for business... there is much to consider.

If you have already closed the book on business for the year, think again. An early reminder that things can change very quickly. A fire, a flood or a cyclone could change many people's fortunes overnight, and then the add on effect to the economy and to people's lives can mean disaster.

If people tighten their purse-strings then we will see a very different economy and a lot of small businesses in hardship.

Instead of slowing down... think of changing gears, and revving up for 2012 early.

You might consider;

1.  Re-writing your business strategy and marketing plan
2.  Finding new and innovative ways to promote your business; social media, guerilla marketing, word-of-mouth marketing campaigns etc
3.  Re-fresh your website - IN DECEMBER. Don't wait until January when everyone is looking at your old website, because that's when it's TOO LATE.
4.  Develop a new direct marketing campaign; clean up your database, design marketing material and have it all set up to go out in the second week of January when everyone is fresh at their desks looking to start the new year. Remember being creative is everything. A letter alone with your old brochure will not suffice.
5.  Ring 20 past customers that would benefit from the changes in your business and organise a meeting in January
6.  Go through all the business cards you have collated in the past 6 months and send an email to every person you have met. They may not want to do business, but someone they know might.
7.  Set up a referral campaign and provide incentives for people to refer their friends, colleagues and clients to your business.
8.  Remember that not everyone celebrates Christmas, so know if your clients faith is in another religion and ensure that you communicate with them appropriately.
9.  Don't do the traditional Christmas party. Donate to people in need like Ozchild and help children shine.
10.  Get a 'marketing eye'. That may not mean hiring a marketing consultant from Marketing Eye, but maybe it means hiring a dedicated marketing executive inhouse. Someone who is responsible for ensuring that your brand is marketed and communicated to the right people to help grow your business.

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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

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