For many, the New Year ushers in a time for reflection and focus and sees us define what we want to achieve in the coming year.
The excesses of Christmas combined with guilt, lead many of us to substantially increase the coffers of slimming world, as we struggle to do all of the buttons up on our jackets. We also rush to get additional support resulting in a 40% increase in Gym memberships as we strive to get in shape.
And why? Personally, speaking I want to live longer, be healthier, have more energy to do things and to feel happier.
Aside from our personal health, your business deserves a health check and the same investment. You may have had a great year (and well done) or you may have struggled, whatever the case, doing the same thing in 2017 will deliver … you guessed it the same results.
A few ideas to help get things moving
Review your client base
Take time to review your existing clients and identify those that are profitable and those that drain the life out of your team, burning any profit in the contract. See if there are any flags or identifiers you can find to help avoid these types of customers in the future, allowing you to create more profit.
Create a matrix of your services and work out which clients take what services. Doing this can provide you with a snapshot of areas for up or cross-selling to your existing customer base, and help drive some initial marketing and sales activity to start the new year positively.
Identify where you made mistakes
We all make mistakes, I am no different, but it’s important that we can learn from the challenges of the previous year, and make amends to systems or processes to ensure these are not repeated. It can also help to talk to other business owners, as they may face the same challenges and may be able to nuggets of insight or advice to make your business stronger.
Review your core offering
I am sometimes surprised by companies that seem to be missing key elements in their portfolio. Whilst they may focus on support, they miss key opportunities around consultancy or services such as Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity. Take time to review your vendors and suppliers, ask yourself do they still provide you with the same quality service and profitability when you started the relationship? It may be time to look at other vendors/suppliers and see what else is available that could increase your profits.
Create a marketing strategy for 2017
Spend time to think about, and develop your marketing strategy for the year ahead, and start to deliver it. It could be that you want 15 new customers, if so, document this and work out a strategy to achieve it. Look at your social media and set targets for growth i.e. increase followers by 150 for the year.
Having a defined strategy helps everyone in the business understand plans and work to a common objective, it also helps to provide metrics to measure your marketing success.
Sort your data
Many business owners see data ownership as some kind of holy grail, but if you look at much of the data they have, it tends to be historically gathered information with people who are no longer in the position or even present on planet earth.
Poor data compromises results and often contains a number of gmail, AOL, or Yahoo email addresses. I would guess that any company that has not invested in its own email domain, may not be an ideal customer? Start to think about who you target, where they are, and who influences and makes purchasing decisions and segment these into a cleaner database.
If your data hasn’t been refreshed for 12 months, now is the time to start. To ensure all your marketing and sales efforts are focused on the right prospects.
Bring marketing and sales together
One of the biggest challenges many businesses face is the differing views of marketing and sales. Bring these together and work on joint initiatives, such as sales engagement, follow up, onboarding processes and customer retention. Well aligned sales and marketing teams can produce great results and ensure everyone is pushing in the right direction.
Nothing changes without action, investment and a little sacrifice, but with effort and focus, you can achieve great things both personally and professionally in 2017.
Good Luck and have a great 2017.