All business owners want to succeed: the success of their business is a measure of their skills and commitment, as well providing a wage for their employees, financial security for their family and an emotional pay off to the immense investment of time and energy they’ve poured into building a business.
Wanting success isn’t enough, though: if you’re not making plans informed by the realities of the market and your own performance, then all you have to rely on is hope. Today we’re taking a look at how you can proactively look for success for your business in the New Year, and start laying the foundations for it right away.
The first step is to reflect on the year that has passed. If you set targets for 2019 at the close of the previous year, this is a good time to review them. If you don’t set targets, this is the first important thing you’ve learned.
The targets you set and review need to be specific to your business, and your industry. Using an off the shelf template that drives you to increase footfall to your digital marketing firm isn’t going to provide a useful metric for you to judge your performance nor will it encourage you to make changes that will make next year more successful for you.
It might be helpful to work with an advisor or business analyst to identify very clearly the factors that lead to success in your industry, in your market, in your town, and for your specific operation. You can then be sure that the targets you sit down to review, and that drive your performance throughout the year are actually helping you to grow, to take more money and to find more customers and clients.
As well as targets and metrics set at the start of the year, look at projects you launched as the year went on: new products, new branches, marketing pushes and sales. Review how they performed with reference to your expectations and in absolute terms: how many customers clicked on your adverts during your Black Friday sale? Was that more or less than you were expecting? Crucially, why?
Making Changes in 2020
Having looked back over the year you’ve had, you can look ahead to the year come. Think about where you fell short in the year before: what weaknesses did your reflections reveal? If you’re losing customers because you’re not providing for their needs, then you may need to consider adding new products to your inventory. Can you solve the key problems of your industry a little more cheaply, allowing more customers to spend their money with you?
If you experienced disappointments on the marketing front, it might be time to take a look at the agencies providing that expertise. There are two important factors going into your marketing: the creative side, images and words that communicate the key details of your brand and products to customers and attempt to convince them that you’re the right choice for them; and the targeting. Who sees those adverts, when and how. You could have had one of the most creative ad campaigns 2019 had to offer but if it’s not targeted towards the right customers, people who have a need for your products, who find your brand attractive and have the budget to pay for what you’re offering, it won’t do you any good. If good adverts aren’t getting clicks, and turning into calls, visits and sales, you may need to make some changes to where they’re placed and who makes those decisions.
Planning Out Your Year
Even this early, you can sketch out some of the key events of 2020 for your business; sales at times you know your customers are in need of a push to spend money, and you might be able to get people to try your brand for the first time; product launches at key times for your industry, when people are actively looking for the new solutions you’re offering for their problems; pushing your marketing at times when your industry is in the headlines to help build your brand.
Sketching in these key milestones means you can build towards them in a structured way, giving each enough thought and mental breathing room. It also means you can see issues coming in advance and adjust your plans to match. If you have a new product you’re excited about launching, for example, but discover a competitor with more resources is planning a launch in the same area at the same time, it’s well worth retaining the flexibility to make changes to your launch window so you can make the most of all the challenges and opportunities 2020 as to offer your business.