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A LOOK FORWARD FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
by: Cary Christian


With the holidays coming up I know most of you are probably not going to spend a lot of time reading ezines, so I'm going to keep my articles short the next couple of weeks. Tonight I want to give you a few items to think about for the coming year. I won't call them "resolutions" because I believe small businesses should always be planning ahead and modifying their plans as needed. Once a year just won't cut it.

Here are a few things you need to build into your plans if you haven't already.

1. Get listed in the Open Directory.

Search engine positioning can be a very difficult thing for small businesses to do well. It's a full time job and few small businesses have the resources to properly manage and maintain their positions in the engines. I understand that. But ignoring the engines altogether is not the answer.

I'm not going to sit here and recommend you shell out the big bucks for a Yahoo listing. If you can, great! Do it. If you can spare the time to monitor your position and work to maintain a high listing, even better!

But if you don't have this luxury, the next best thing is to get listed in the Open Directory in the categories that apply to your web site or sites. By doing so, you'll find you start to score better in several other search engines since many of them obtain their results, at least partially, from Open Directory.

In a few weeks, I'm going to do a full article, or maybe an article series, on preparing your site and submitting it to the Open Directory. We'll take it step by step and get you submitted properly.

For now, I just want you to make the commitment that you will work through this process with me and get your site submitted. We'll start the new year off with a bang!

2. Start building your list.

By now you know my thoughts on Internet marketing in general terms. There are no "big secrets" to be uncovered. All you need to know is out there for you to study and learn. Of course, it changes all the time, but that just means you have to keep on reading.

The most important part of Internet marketing is getting the basics right. One of those basic things you must have, and must build properly, is a list. A list of people who are interested in what you have to offer.

You don't have to start an ezine. You all have something to offer others. Perhaps it's just a little advice on a particular subject, or tips on new ways your products can be used to make life better. Maybe its news that affects your niche market. Whatever it might be, it's a reason to build relationships with people who have similar interests. And that is the key.

Customers come from this process. Good ones. Those that come back and buy from you again and again. An asset that keeps repaying the investment you've made to build the relationship.

If you haven't begun to build your list, commit to exploring how you are going to build it and then get started. It's an asset you can't do without, so procrastinate no more! If you're really lost on how to get started, send us an email and we'll help.

3. Begin the coming year with a reasonable written plan.

If you haven't got a business plan, write one. It doesn't have to be fancy. It doesn't have to be long. Take stock of where you are and what you believe you can reasonably accomplish during the next few months with the resources you have to work with.

You think about these things all the time. I'm sure you do. You will be surprised what a difference it makes to actually write these thoughts down. Writing forces you to give structure to your thoughts. This structure enables you to identify opportunities and problems you might not have ever noticed otherwise. It will be worth your time.

There you have three simple things to think about going into the new year. If you give these three ideas the weight they deserve and do nothing else new, you'll still be way ahead of the game

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