As you come to the end of another year, time is being spent finishing on a positive note and evaluating your current business practices. What has worked this year? What areas might you address for the new year? Below I offer 5 suggestions for improvement in the new year.

Cultivate an attitude of excellence

Deliberately nurturing an attitude of excellence with fellow employees and clients of your business is the foundation for your marketing success in the upcoming year. The following quote by Jack Welch, the ex-chairman of General Electric , sums it up.” To me, excellence means being better than the best. It’s achievement requires an introspective assessment of everything we do, say, or make and an honest inquiry: is it better than best? If it is not, we will ask ourselves, what will it take?” Take some time to brainstorm with your staff on this in the next few weeks.

Focus on nurturing relationships

Concentrate on creating a true human connection with the clients of your business. This begins with having a true passion for serving your clients. Every point of contact you and your staff has with your clients is an opportunity to “wow” them and enhance that relationship.

Why is this so important? Demonstrating a positive attitude toward your clients and going the extra mile for them goes a long way in determining the client’s attitude toward your business. Think for a moment. What do businesses you deal with do? How do they enhance relationships? Some of the best ideas come from other industries. These ideas are all around us and are there for you to adapt and us in your business. What new ideas will you adapt in 2017?

Take one day at a time

Perform the day to day routine jobs in the business consistently and efficiently. Sounds pretty basic, but these little things really do matter to your clients. These small tasks all contribute to perfecting the client experience. Are messages returned promptly and courteously? Is your staff listening intently to what clients are saying in the day-to-day course of your business. Every day clients leave clues to help you improve. Clients who feel like they are being listened to feel accepted, appreciated and become more loyal. Make it a point to be a more deliberate listener in 2017.

Make it easy for your clients to spread the word

Every day you have an opportunity to leave a positive, lasting impression. Every client visit is an opportunity for the client to spread the word about how well they are being treated and how different their experience with your business is from what they may be accustomed to elsewhere. The unsolicited referrals that will result are one of your most cost effective marketing spends your business will ever have. What a tremendous differentiator this can be for your business.

Remember the 2 things clients seek

There is simply no substitute for the authentic, personal, human-to-human relationship that your business provides. What client just wants to be a number? What really matters is how you go out of your way to make your clients feel they are working with a business that cares. Businesses that combine relationship building with consistent nurturing will create clients for life.

Your clients seek two things from you. Someone they can trust and someone they can count on. Certain clients will always want direct personal contact and they want it on a regular basis. Provide this and you will continue to become a more meaningful part of their lives.