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Getting a business off the ground is no small feat. But as you well know, the work of growing your small or midsize business (SMB) is a constant journey — one that can continue to improve in the new year. Each SMB is unique, and every business owner has their own story to tell, but you don’t have to go it alone when looking for new ways to give your business a boost. There’s plenty of wisdom to draw upon when it comes to proven ways to energize your small business.

Below are some great ways to energize your small business in 2019, sorted into five categories:

 

1. Think About Your Plan in New Ways

Do you have a business plan? A mission statement? Whether you do or not, taking the time to reflect on your vision, and the steps you’re taking to pursue it, is a great way to inject some energy into your business and make sure your priorities are in order.

Thanks to tools like the ones listed here, you don’t have to spend weeks writing a formal business plan to check in with your company’s “North Star.” Check out these ideas for quick, efficient ways to revisit your business plan and explore new models to grow into:

Lean Stack: Lean Canvas 1-Page Business Planning

LivePlan Blog: The Lean Plan Template

Entrepreneur: How to Write a 1-Page Business Plan

Entrepreneur: Updating Your Business Plan

LinkedIn: Future-Proof Your Business: Why SMBs Need to Revisit Strategic Planning

 

2. Follow the Leaders

Blogs can be a great SMB resource if you know which ones to follow. Start with some of the people, companies, and media outlets on the lists below, and curate your own list over time. From industry trends to legal and financial news, following the right blogs and influencers can be an effective — and efficient — way to stay up to date and inspired on all things small business!

Fundera Blog: The 37 Best Resources for Small Business News

HuffPost: 10 Best Small Business Blogs

Fieldboom: The 34 Best Blogs for Small Business Inspiration In 2018

QuickBooks Resource Center: 101 Best Business Blogs You Need to be Reading (and Taking Lessons From)

Emerge Blog: Top 25 Small Business Influencers & Experts You Need To Follow

Hatchbuck Blog: 21 Great Small Business Blogs

Salesforce: Small Business Blog

 

3. Take Advantage of Free Government Resources

With so much attention paid to private fundraising and investments, it’s easy to forget about everything the public sector has to offer small businesses. From local Chambers of Commerce to the federal Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program, the government offers a wealth of information, events, grants, and other resources that could give your business the lift it needs.

A few places to start:

SBA Home: United States Small Business Administration

SBA: Regional Offices

SCORE: The US’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors

SBDC: America’s Small Business Development Centers

American Chamber of Commerce: Directory

 

4. Automate Your Business

Business automation can be invaluable to a growing SMB. Moving your customer database out of email and spreadsheets and into  an automated system customized for your needs can save you time and resources better spent on growing your business. While we’re partial to CRM (of course!), there are lots of other ways to automate parts of your business, including marketing automation, service case routing, billing/invoicing, and more.

Start with these resources to get a taste of the many ways to automate your business, and to meet Essentials, Salesforce’s new CRM tailored to the needs (and budget) of SMB Trailblazers:

Document Sharing & Collaboration: Quip

Email, File Storage & Video Conferencing: G Suite by Google Cloud

Marketing Automation: Pardot

Mileage Tracker: MileIQ

Invoicing: Harvest

Smart Calendar Scheduling: Salesforce Inbox

Payroll: Gusto

CRM: Salesforce - CRM 101: What is CRM?

CRM: Salesforce Trailhead - Grow Faster With CRM

 

5. Lists Full of Inspiration

From big-name business publications to first-time bloggers, most every business publication on the Web has at least one list of “Top Resources for Businesses.” We’ve gathered a few to get you started, but don’t stop here. Your next business inspiration may be waiting for you, just a quick Google search away:

Inc.: 25 Ways to Jumpstart Your Business

The Self Employed: 5 Easy Ways To Jumpstart Your New Business Right Now

AMEX Open Forum: A 5-Step Plan To Jumpstart Your Online Business

Entrepreneur: Jumpstart Your Business with this 5-Step Tool

Fundera Ledger: 18 Small Business Associations We Should Be Thankful For

For more ways to grow your small business, make sure you check out our 25 Free Resources For Growth featuring links to free resources to help you in every category you can think of — Sales, Service, Marketing, HR, Finance, and more. Want to make sure your business is on the road to success? Learn how Salesforce Essentials brings the #1 CRM to small businesses to help them grow.

Salesforce can help you find customers, win their businesses, and keep them happy so you can grow your business faster than ever. Follow @SalesforceSMB on Twitter to learn more about Salesforce Essentials, the easiest way to get started with CRM.