End 2017 Strong & Get Ready For 2018
Quick Tips December 14, 2017 JD Mckenzie
2018 is quickly coming approaching, and while many small business owners will taking in the holiday cheer, the ones who want to grow will be looking at how they can make 2018 their best year yet.
Starting the year with more accurate targets, better processes and new insights is a recipe for success so we’ve gathered five things you can do to win more business and get more done in 2018.
Set Better Sales Targets
Sales are the lifeblood of your business and being able to predict how well you will do each month accurately will help you budget for things like new hires, growth opportunities and perks for your employees. Now is the time to review how well you did in 2017 compared to your predictions. Dig into what worked, what didn’t work and try to understand why.
What were your sales targets? Did you meet them? Why not? Were the targets unrealistic? Are you understaffed? Is there a bottleneck in the process that’s making it difficult for your sales team to hit their targets? What feedback are you getting about why they can’t reach their targets? What can you do with that info? Work with your team to establish targets together and suggest ways of improving processes.
Review Your Customer Journey
The customer journey is the process that someone goes through as they transition from a prospect, to lead, to a customer to repeat business and referrals. It encompasses ads a prospect might see, emails you send a lead, phone calls and meetings you have with a customer. Every time someone interacts with your business, they are somewhere along the customer journey. Mapping this out is an essential part of understanding the process some goes through and helps you identify the pitfalls so you can overcome them and win more business.
To start, write down all the different points a customer may interact with you. Think about how they may find you. Review ads, your website, how you respond to social media and social media pages, as well as if you there are online reviews. Take a look at how a customer interacts with your sales team. How many emails do you send? When do you initiate a phone call or a face to face meeting? How do you follow-up with your clients to keep up good relations for the future? Pay attention to the tone and message that a customer may perceive and consider, is this the how you want to come across to customers? Make changes to reflect how your business has changed over the last year and look at how you can make this a better experience for your customers.
Get Employee Feedback
Over the last year, your team has experienced a lot. Some of it has been good and some bad. Give your team an outlet to express themselves and start sending out surveys to get anonymous feedback from your employees. While some of the feedback may be hard to swallow, this is an opportunity to make positive changes for your business and make your team more productive and happy. When gathering employee feedback, you can use a general survey tool like SurveyMonkey or more robust employee engagement software.
When performing and reviewing, keep the following in mind:
- Start getting regular feedback from your team
- Ask targeted questions
- Don’t get emotional
- Think of your employees like your customers\
- Remember the purpose: improve your employee’s work life
With this in mind, you will have a list of what your team needs from you to make 2018 their best, happiest and most productive year.
Refresh Your Email Campaigns
The beauty of email marketing is that you can send a consistent message to a large number of people but when was the last time you reviewed all of these emails? For many small businesses, email marketing is the primary way to nurture new leads. These emails are often the first steps in reaching out and converting customers, but they aren’t updated very much. You’d be surprised how much things can change over a year and if the cobwebs have started to accumulate, be it out of date information, old strategies or work that is no longer your best, you could be losing out on new opportunities.
Set some time to review all the emails you send your customers and make sure that all the information is still up to date. Look for prices, the services you offer, phone numbers, photos, etc. Look for things that may misinform your leads, undersell what services you provide or even prevent them from contacting you. By starting 2018 with a new look at your email campaigns, you can start fresh and be confident that you’re putting your best foot forward and doing your best to win more business.
Bring In An Expert
Staying a dynamic business that is ready to overcome new challenges is hard because, over time, we build up systems that, while initially well designed and intended, blind us to new opportunities. These processes, procedures, thoughts, and methods start to become second nature, and you can forget the reasons you started doing something in the first place. The longer you do it, the less you question it and just assume it is right. But what if these processes are not the best way to do things? Or what if they worked five years ago but as the times have changed, are no longer as effective? How do you identify these problems? Sometimes, you bring in outside perspective that’s skilled in helping businesses scale.
When your growth has stalled or declining, or you’re not growing fast enough, getting outside help might be the thing that you need to help push you to your next level. While a consultant, business coach, or expert might not have the expertise in your field, they are experts in strategic planning. They can help remove these blind spots by asking you to question your assumptions, have you challenge your current processes and suggest tools that help you make better decisions.