As we begin the new year and reflect upon what we accomplished in 2015, it’s good to set some resolutions to help grow our businesses in 2016. What goals do you have for the year? Has your company’s mission changed due to changes in the market? Whether you believe in resolutions or not, making a list of action items for your business can help achieve your goals in 2016.
Every business can benefit from considering:
> Ask your customers for feedback. Focus on your customers and ask them for feedback on where your business can help them the most. Focus on selling what customers really want, not what you think they need. Determining which items that do not increase profits can help your business eliminate those that are bad performers, poor fits or just don’t add to the bottom line.
> Take inventory of your social media and marketing strategies. Look at your website, business collateral, email newsletter, LinkedIn profile, Facebook page and other social media. Have you seen a benefit from using each of these platforms? What growth have they brought to your business either directly or indirectly? Do you maintain all of them or are they distracting from something more fruitful? Are some more effective than others in helping to attract new customers or are some not worth the effort? Taking an inventory can help you determine how to proceed in 2016.
> Evaluate your lead development skills.Take a look at how many contacts were generated in 2015. Is it as many as you’d hoped? How many of your new contacts did you follow up with and how many have fallen through the cracks. How often and how quickly is your follow up and what is the outcome? Stop spending time selling to contacts that do not have the money to buy. Separate out the “maybes” by determining the customer’s budget, decision makers and timeframe for their purchase. Think about what more you can do to generate more business leads. Evaluate what has been successful and adjust your goals from there.
> Invest in your business. Resolve to learn at least one new thing this year. Maybe it is focusing on a new technology and achieving your certification. Perhaps it’s investing your time in business community where you can network with similar businesses. Dedicate 2016 to becoming an expert in your industry. Some action items could include booking speaking engagements, becoming a guest blogger or attending an industry event.
> Do not be afraid to outsource. Your business success is contingent on doing what you do best. You may be an expert in Unified Communications, but not in network security or virtualization. This means when your clients are looking for solutions in these areas, you are often better off outsourcing those services to others. No one is good at everything and no one expects you to be. Rely other individuals and businesses that can help support your business so that you can stay focused on what brings in money.
Once you have developed your list of resolutions, keep the list handy so you can re-evaluate them through the year. And as soon as you create your list of action items, assign them to yourself or an employee along with deadlines. Put them on your calendar so you can actually remember to do them. Your own resolutions may look similar to those above, or they may be uniquely tailored to your specific needs and business. Whatever form they take, by making a resolution you’re giving yourself a goal to achieve.