A new year is always a time of reflection, and for small business owners there are no exceptions. With success coming in different shapes, sizes and even dollars, consider how you can help support your business in the year ahead to make it your best yet.

Below, gain five tips from five industry leading experts on how to make 2015 your best year yet.

1. Treat customers like guests in your home. 

While there will always be customers who have decreased attention, are in a hurry, or appear to be frazzled, you want to still aim to deliver strong customer care despite customer scenarios. One way to do this is to treat customers as if they are guests in your home.”

Kirt Manecke, customer service expert and author of the book “Smile: Sell More with Amazing Customer Service” 

2. Belong to at least three professional organizations. 

I always suggest to business owners that they belong to at least three professional associations. First, you should belong to your local Chamber of Commerce or downtown business association. That is where your business is and where your employees often live. Moreover, you should belong to your specific industry trade association. And last, you should belong to a statewide association because most legislation happens at the state level, and you need eyes and ears looking out for your business. In most cases, a retail association will fill that role.”

Curtis Picard, Executive Director of the Retail Association of Maine

3. Participate in e-commerce. 

The future of e-commerce belongs to small businesses. This is the biggest opportunity for retailers since farmer’s markets began hundreds of years ago. People often believe setting up an online store is expensive and difficult, but this is not the case.”

Harley Finkelstein, Chief Platform Officer at Shopify.com

4. Introduce commerce and charity. 

Research shows that 83 percent of customers want to buy products that benefit a cause. Combining your business with a charity of your choice is a great way to gain consumer attention while increasing sales.”

Dan McCabe, Director of SixDegrees.org

5. Embrace the cloud. 

The cloud is here to stay and Windows is dead. Over the next three to five years, the cloud will really come of age for small businesses, and Windows-based POS (point of sale) and other operations will disappear. Retailers and small businesses must think about upgrading their technology – with cloud being the obvious choice.”

Jason Richelson, founder and CEO of ShopKeep POS

Alissa McCue

Alissa McCue

Alissa McCue has over 10 years of marketing and public relations experience working for top brands in retail and technology. As Senior Manager of Public Relations at ShopKeep, the #1-rated iPad Point of Sale System, Alissa is focused on highlighting ShopKeep's major achievements and thought leadership in the POS and technology space for independent businesses.