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New Year 2013 (Mikhail Mishchenko/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
New Year 2013 (Mikhail Mishchenko/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The Top Tens

Ten ways to better your business (and yourself) in 2013 Add to ...

It's time to start thinking about going bigger in 2013. I was going to offer ten New Year's resolutions, but resolutions are personal. You need to create those on your own - I can't do that for you. And when you resolve to doing something, there's no turning back. Don't say quitting smoking is hard -- it's not hard when you personally resolve to do it.

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Here are 10 tips for exponential entrepreneurial growth in 2013:

1. Stop trying to do everything at once and do one thing well. My own mentor often reminds me to stop trying to move a million things an inch and focus on moving three things a mile. And he's right. ‘Entrepreneurial ADD’ can be one of our greatest assets and also one of our greatest downfalls. Learn to focus on a few ultra-important things and push them as far forward as you possibly can.

2. Know your ideal customer. Most entrepreneurs struggle because they don't have a clear idea of who their ideal client is. When you're that in tune with your customer profile, attracting them becomes so much easier. What do they read? Where do they work? How much money do they make? What keeps them up at night? Where do they live? How much deeper could you dig down to learn about them? Answering these questions is invaluable.

3. Shift from customer pursuit to customer attraction. Everyone is focused on pursuit while a relative few are putting the magnets in place to attract. Build and spread your intellectual property. Write a book. Write articles. Build a new website. Engage in Twitter and other forms of social media. Do everything you can to build your intellectual firepower. Let them come to you. You can use Twitter to talk about breakfast or force yourself to create snippets of intellect in 140 characters or less. I try to do three a day.

4. Get yourself a mentor. Mentors differ from coaches and yet you might need both of them. A mentor should be able to help you strategically, as well as advise you and offer solicited feedback in your endeavours. Don't be afraid to pay for mentorship. People are often needlessly apprehensive to pay for a mentor or a coach. What does that say about your belief in yourself? Some of the best mentors I know don't come cheap.

5. Stop caring about complainers and critics. Stop worrying about what others may say or think of you. Accept only the feedback you've asked for. Nothing more.

6. Make the greatest investment possible...in yourself. I spent close to $30,000 on my own personal development last year. If there was an area where I thought I could improve, or do better, or a new skill I wanted to attain, I invested in myself. It's the greatest investment you can possibly make. Need to improve your sales or marketing? Attend a specialized workshop. I’ve attended multiple seminars and workshops over the past twelve months. I have my own mentor and coach and I'm also involved in mastermind groups. In addition, I've already made the bulk of these investment decisions for 2013. I have yet to find an investment with this good of a return.

7. Reinvent yourself. If 2012 was a slow year, it might be time to reinvent yourself. I don't mean that you need to change your business model, but you need to reinvent yourself in the marketplace. The marketplace will forgive almost anything but boring and, thankfully, they often forget boring when they're presented with new and remarkable. Make 2013 a year where they'll be sure to remark about you.

8. Join or create a mastermind group. You've heard it before that successful people hang out with other successful people. Build a mastermind group of people who can support and help propel you to new levels. Find an already existing group you can join. Mastermind groups will also help to hold you accountable for meeting deadlines.

9. Create life balance. Don't check your e-mail first thing when you wake up. Go for a run. Don't be constantly glued to your iPhone. Shut down all technology at 5 p.m. Everything else can wait. There are far more important things in life than focusing on your business 24/7. You never have to miss your kids’ dance recital for a phone call. Who's kidding whom? The call can almost always wait.

10. Jump. Entrepreneurs are always talking about ‘the fear of failure’" The best entrepreneurs recognize their failures and learn from them. But beyond that, great entrepreneurs realize that tomorrow is another day and become avid risk takers. They learn to jump and jump often. Regardless of how bad you screw something up, you're most likely going to wake up tomorrow. You're not going to be living on the streets. You'll still have an iPhone in your pocket. Might as well get used to jumping - what's the worst that could happen?

Noah Fleming is a strategic marketing consultant specializing in entrepreneurial growth, community building, client loyalty, and customer retention. He helps create companies people love. He’s the co-author of a forthcoming 2013 book on the topics above, and he’s worked personally with over 700 entrepreneurs and business owners to help them experience exponential growth. You can learn more about Noah at NoahFleming.com.

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