Have a plan. Too often, small business owners get so caught up in day-to-day operations that they neglect long-range planning. If you have a business plan, update it to reflect your current goals. If you’ve never written a business plan, do so—it will force you to think about what you want to achieve in 2013 and beyond.
Be yourself and focus on protecting your identity. Don’t define your business by the industry you’re in or the by the other players that are in it. Your business, much like you, is an individual – there may be others like it out there, but they don’t have you running the company. So create an identity for yourself and then don’t stray from it, base every decision you make as a business owner on whether it hurts, helps, or validates the company’s identity.
Know your customers and why they come to you. Knowing your customers is as important as knowing your business. The better you know the customer, the easier it will be to find other like-minded customers and continue satisfying the ones you already have. This goes beyond knowing your key demographics. Figure out what made them come to the business initially, why did they open your door when they could have gone around the corner to your competition? Figuring this out will help your further define your business and ultimately show you what you need to focus on.