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Wyoming Business Tips for Feb. 13-19


February 7, 2011 — A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Jill Kline, WSBDC associate state director

"My New Year's resolution was to start using social media in my business, but I don't know where to start and I'm anticipating another failed resolution; can you suggest where I begin?" Kate, Gillette

I see an underlying question here -- how can I be successful with my resolution? I believe if this question can be answered first, then you can establish where to begin using social media in the business.

In my opinion, resolutions go by the wayside because we fail to plan. We make a statement of what we are going to do differently this year, but repeatedly that's as far as it goes. We can become overwhelmed by the process or not knowing where to begin because we don't know the real reason we are attempting the change. A defined, beneficial purpose for the change can be a good motivator to get your plan started.

In this case, you are looking to make a change in the way you market your business or communicate with customers -- this can be overwhelming especially if you are unfamiliar with social media. A change like this demands a purpose and a plan of action. A plan of action will break the task or resolution down into manageable parts.

There are many options available. Taking the time to develop a plan can identify why you are venturing this direction; it can help break the large task down into smaller, less intimidating parts. A plan will assist in making reasonable goals and timelines, and it can identify the benefits of your proposed actions and demonstrate that it is worth pursuing.

For example, "social media" can be broken down into various applications (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube, etc.). Each application has a different use or strength. Learning about each one, developing a line of questions to compare the applications and setting a realistic timeline to complete tasks would form a plan to help determine if one application makes more sense than another for your business. The key to success with a New Year's resolution is to determine the purpose and benefit. Look at the big picture, but break it down into small, manageable tasks. These steps will allow progress toward the identified outcome.

Small business owners can get confidential, free assistance with developing a plan to integrate social media into a marketing plan by contacting a local Wyoming Entrepreneur Small Business Development Center adviser.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, e-mail wsbdc@uwyo.edu or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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