With virtually the entire year before us -- the proverbial blank canvas -- what entrepreneurial initiatives shall we undertake? What will we let our creative impulses do this year that will make our businesses better?
Here, from easy to Wow!, are some ideas:
• Update your logo, a generally easy process that will evolve to a new look for your website, new business cards, new marketing materials, new letterhead -- a thoroughly refreshed company image that clients and prospects will notice.
You'll notice, too, because the process will reinvigorate your own enthusiasm.
Hire a graphic designer to do the work. Choose new colors. Think about adding a graphic element, perhaps a swoosh or a star.
• Write a book -- because a book can put you, and your business, in the marketplace spotlight.
Brian Basilico, director of direction at B2b Interactive Marketing, an Aurora social media marketing agency, is an example. Basilico isn't the only social media adviser in the marketplace, but his book, "It's Not about You, It's about Bacon: Relationship Marketing in a Social Media World," makes him one of the most visible.
Published in July and heavily promoted before and after, the book is sold at Amazon.com, select retailers and virtually every presentation Basilico makes. A revised edition already is on Amazon; a follow-up book of marketing tips was scheduled to go live last week; and a workbook is in final proofing.
The original book has even edged into the college market, part of class materials at Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA.
• Go sculpt. Russ Reindeau, founder and senior partner at East Wing Group Inc., a Barrington management and sales executive search firm, has moved from print and audio books to music CDs and, in the past year, painting and sculptures -- partly to release his own creative energy but also to separate himself and East Wing from competition.
Out-of-the-box business development is part of the Riendeau approach for East Wing, which ultimately focuses on the psychology of matching employers and potential employees. His latest venture is a larger-than-life Everest Easel, a sculpture that works as art and as a conversation starter.
Riendeau and Basilico blend creativity and business more easily than most of us; the results they generate typically are Wow! category. But there are other, easier ideas for your 2014 canvas. For example:
• A company outing. Have a catered picnic. Get seats at a ballgame. If the Cubs and Sox are too expensive, try the Kane County Cougars or Schaumburg Boomers. Customers and prospects can be invited to a second outing; this first one is for employees and families.
• Bring a speaker in for quarterly company box luncheons. The speaker could be inspirational; someone to give a business-oriented pep talk; a professor to discuss issues of the day.
You'll have your own thoughts about what to put on your company's 2014 canvas. Just don't leave it blank.
• Jim Kendall welcomes comments at his new email address, Jim@kendallcom.com. © 2014 [URL]Kendall Communications Inc.;http://kendallcom.com/[URL][/URL]