With most of us back to work for real this week, the new year is well and truly under way. But what can you do to improve the outlook for you and your business in 2013? We asked our select panel of experts for their views.

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Stefan Gurney, director of the Norwich Business Improvement District:

1. Make sure you communicate with your customers and explain to them what you are offering so that they know what your USP is and whey they should come to you.

2. Have a clear brief and a strong message for your business.

3. Look at how you can work collaboratively with other businesses – if you are retailer, maybe you can work with a coffee shop and help both businesses.

4. Look at growing the overall cake, rather than just trying to gain more slices. Growing the area for all is better than just trying to knife your competitors for a bigger slice of a smaller market.

5. Look at your waste recycling and how your business can reduce its costs by cutting waste.

6. Remember that every member of your staff is an ambassador for your business, and every person they speak to should be considered a key customer

7. Have pride in your business. Look at the image of your business, when someone comes in, is it a welcoming place to be, how does it represent you?

8. Keep an eye on the events going on in your area, and consider whether you should be involved. For emample in Norwich could you take part in Fashion Week, the Food Festival of Norwich Christmas? Is there an opportunity to be part of the wider business community?

9. Work with businesses in your area to create a defined area or neighbourhood such as the Norwich Lanes.

10. Become part of your local business crime reduction initiative to help reduce incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour.

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