As the holidays approach and the year comes to a close, many business owners are reviewing their performance this year while looking optimistically towards 2012. 2011 has been a tough year for business, and analysts aren’t predicting a sudden economic upswing. That being said, the strenuousness of competition combined with the quick pace of technology means that the most innovative, creative companies are excelling.
There are several goals that businesses should set every year, but certain tactics have become more relevant as we approach 2012. Here at Docstoc it’s our goal to support businesses, and in an effort to get your creative juices flowing for next year we’ve scoured the top business blogs for 2012 suggestions and predictions from writers across the web. We’ve collected the common themes and compiled them into an abridged summary for our readers. So here they are, steps your company should consider taking to succeed in the coming year:
- Go Mobile: The purchase and usage of mobile phones is rising, and will only continue in 2012. If your company does not have an app, strongly consider making an investment in developing one. Consider creative ways to make your product available through the app (for example, Docstoc’s iPad app makes legal documents available on-the-go), or to monetize the app in some way. Also note that the use of tablets such as iPads is increasing at an even faster rate than smart phones, so it’s worth considering an iPad app, specifically.
- QR-ify: While we’re on the mobile note, here’s a quick, free and easy tip: if you haven’t already, create a QR code. Watch CEO of ShareSquare Matthias explain how and why below:
- Collaborate: It may seem counter-intuitive, but many companies managed to stay afloat by co-marketing and collaboration. Teaming up with a company with complementary services can help you stay afloat in a tough economy. Be sure to include these co-marketing goals and strategies in your marketing plan.
- Step Up Social Marketing: More and more of the world is online, and most major businesses have a Facebook at Twitter account. However, simply having a Facebook page is not the same as engaging and creating customers. Measure the progression of your social media influence through metrics such as a Klout Score, and research methods for harnessing those likes and followers like the video below. For retailers or commercial businesses, remember that your digital reputation on websites such as Yelp will only become more pivotal in 2012, so make them a priority.
- Get SEOrious: Do we even have to say this? If you’re not taking SEO seriously, direct competitors who are will pull even further ahead next year. You can start off with a basic SEO Checklist, and go from there. Make a quantifiable goal to boost your SEO, and keep an eye on your Alexa ranking to track your progress.
- Head in the Clouds: Hacks, viruses and cyber-criminals will only get smarter in 2012, and (especially for online-based companies) it will become essential to increase your online security. Many technology bloggers suggest embracing cloud technology if you haven’t already in order to back up your data. You can also get creative with a customized cloud experience, to read more about cloud computing click here.
- Be Creative: It sounds trite, but difficult times lead to a high level of experimentation in search of that perfect market. Don’t be afraid to rework the design of your website or retail space, or hire an artist or designer to give your business some flair; this is what will make your company stand out in the crowd.
That last point will be crucial in 2012; more than ever, customers are searching for personalized and outside-the-box experiences. For example, while gym attendance remains stagnant, high intensity boot camps and urban adventure races have attracted a huge market of customers in 2011 (just don’t forget to have your boot camp attendees sign a waiver before they start those tire drills!)
Personalized fitness isn’t the only young market beginning to blossom. Technology bloggers predict that trends such as collaborative consumption, local and urban farming and green design will continue to expand in 2012. Entrepreneurs requiring capital also have something to look forward to, as credit card experts foresee greater credit availability and lower underwriting standards in the coming year. There’s always risk in business, but if you keep your finger on the pulse of the market you may find yourself at the right place at the perfect time. Let’s hope that time is 2012! Happy holidays from Docstoc, and a prosperous new year!
As always, please keep in mind this should not be taken as business advice from Docstoc. The above entry is merely a collection of tips and predictions made by the sources referenced below.
Business Insider Software Trends
The Street 2012 Business Trends
Entrepreneur.com 2012 Business Predictions
Entrepreneur Slideshow:10 Hot Startup Sectors for New Business
High Beam Business: New Small Business Trends
Business To Community: Predictions of Business and Marketing Trends in 2012
AZ Central: 10 small-business trends to know about for 2012
Blue Focus Marketing: 2012 Social Media Business Trends
Card Hub: Credit Predictions for 2012