Celebrating Smart Choices in 2008

Inspired by a talk by Julie Hellwich, the owner of Smart Women Company, our Women in Networking group has made it an annual tradition to share our smart choices with each other at our December breakfast meeting.

Smart choices can come in many shapes and sizes. For some business owners, a smart choice was repositioning themselves in the marketplace to better reach their target audiences. For others, it was joining a networking group and meeting new people. Many professionals cited a career change or an attitude change as their smart choice.

This exercise inspired me to come up with my list of TOP 5 SMART CHOICES I made for my business this past year. Here they are:

1) I attended the Creative Freelancers conference in August. This made the list for many reasons. First, it’s smart to invest in your company, especially for education. Second, it left me with a concrete list of goals to achieve and strategies to implement. Third, it provided a rich opportunity to network with others in my field.

2) I became an active networker. I chose regular events to attend and showed up early and often with a fist full of cards. By attending regularly, I was able to get to know the members better and was able to pass on meaningful connections to others. I’ve learned to make time to follow up on new connections and have benefitted from using the services of people I’ve met. By participating actively in the networking process, I’ve been able to make valuable business connections that bring new clients, skill sets, and knowledge to my work.

3) I took advantage of online resources to promote my business. Blogging has given my business so much more exposure than my website alone and has provided me with a source of content for my monthly e-newsletters (also a smart choice). Adding links to e-mails to my email signatures, keeping updated profiles on Plaxo, Merchant Circle, Women in Networking, and the St. Paul Chamber site have all helped to keep my business visible on the web as well. This year I vow to learn more about the power of online social networking programs like Twitter, Linked In, My Space and more as they pertain to promoting my business.

4) I started a Google Calendar. While not perfect, the Google Calendar has done much for helping me to keep track of and remind me of appointments for Mix. I appreciate that it sends me emails before meetings and is available from any internet connection on the planet. I still have some work to do as far as tracking my commitments and deadlines, but Google Calendar has helped me to make a huge step forward.

5) I got a Blackberry. Some days I’m in studio working all day and others I’m running from one meeting to another. With my Blackberry phone and email function, now my clients are able to reach me and have their questions answered no matter where I am. The customer service value and the piece of mind it provides makes the Blackberry a very smart choice from this year!

A year from now, I look forward to writing about new smart choices I made for my business. Now it’s your turn. What smart choices did you make this year?

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