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6 Tips for better business in 2012

I'm about to share some of the things I learnt in the last 6 months. Some of these things I've known for a long time, but I only recently realised just how important they are. Anyone who wants to make money and run a successful business need to make sure they cover all these points.

1. Have contracts for everything

Doing a small two-weeks job for a client? Get a contract! A friend? Especially get a contract! Your mom? If she's paying for your services, have a contract! I can't stress this enough. Contracts are there to protect you and your client.

2. Keep statistics and records of everything

Have a website? Do you have Google Analytics installed? Or maybe you are a developer... are you making use of version control, such as Subversion (and the awesome TortoiseSVN plugin)? Are you using any applications to keep track of how many hours you work, and more importantly, software which allows you to prove to employers how many hours you worked? Elance is a great for this if you are an employer. I'm yet to find a Windows or Linux app that can take random screenshots for the employer to look at.

3. SEO, SEO, SEO

Do you know what SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is? Do you have an SEO strategy? Are you doing any Pay-per-click advertising? If not, you need to seriously ask yourself if anyone is even visiting your website. SEO is no longer just a task for your development team. To get serious results with SEO, you need a strategy that is directly tied in with your marketing efforts and therefore marketing budget.

4. Do A/B Testing

If you are running any marketing campaign, and you are not doing A/B Testing you are wasting your money. This all ties in with the general theme of this blog post, which seems to be "keeping track" of things. Make sure you have a way to measure the success of your marketing efforts. A/B testing is the best way to do this. Quick tip: Unbounce is perfect for A/B Testing.

5. Don't neglect Social Media

There's a reason why Facebook and Twitter are amongst the top ten busiest websites in the world. People use these services and it's crucial that you find out what the best ways are for your business to utilise these technologies. If you are not posting to facebook and twitter once a day, you are probably not using these technologies to their full potential. Not to mention making use of things like advanced splash pages, running promotions on Twitter etc. This is basically free advertising once you've taken the time to understand these technologies.

6. Read a lot more about nerdy stuff

The day I discovered AppSumo.com was indeed a good day. AppSumo sells books, videos etc on extremely interesting topics, for nerds, entrepeneurs and business people. You can even win a macbook. I've bought several of the books on Appsumo and I love each and every one of them. One of my recent favourites is something called "Quicklets". Quicklets are full novels broken down into only a few pages, allowing you to get the content and substance, without having to read hundreds of pages. Imagine being able to read "4 hours work week" or "rich dad, poor dad" in 30 minutes? Now you can: Get the AppSumo Quicklet Deal and why not browse all the AppSumo deals or maybe check out the AppSumo free deals. Learn and grow!

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