A key fundamental in a successful business is strong planning.
Business owners need to stop hoping they’ll have a better year in 2018 and instead work on a clear, practical, proven growth plan. Here are some ideas to help you plan for success.
• Be objective, step back and look at your business with fresh eyes. Take the emotion out of it, and look at the facts. Don’t beat yourself up about what’s not working – find what is working well and keep doing that, and also find the gaps to improve and change • Think about your best selling products or services in 2017 and what made you the most margin. Where did your customers come from? Did your referral program help to drive more clients to the business, and how have you thanked those who sent new clients your way? Also what was your best marketing strategy and why did it work so well? • Where are the bottlenecks – what is slowing down growth or making it difficult for clients to buy from you? • Set both a minimum and a ‘stretch’ target – so the lower amount means you will not accept anything less, and the stretch is going to need work, commitment and focus to achieve. Set clear goals, timeframes and monthly targets to measure results against • Take action! Don’t get ‘paralysis by analysis’, instead focus on two key things you can do each week to move your business forward. Break it down into small, practical, achievable steps.
However, the plan itself won’t bring you results – it’s all about getting things done.
A strategy that my clients get good results with is the 30 Day Challenge. This simply requires that you do one small thing each day, for a month, to work on your business and grow your company. Examples could be: set up new client appointments, update social media, send a proactive email, follow up with a prospective client, contact past clients, write a blog, add testimonials to your website and so on.
This challenge helps build momentum and, usually, increased turnover and cashflow. It’s exciting to see the results, keeps it achievable and gives you some quick wins at the same time.
Fiona Clark is the director of BreakThrough Business Solutions, which specialises in assisting small to medium businesses. She has expertise in sales, marketing and systems and has been a trainer and facilitator for the Auckland Chamber of Commerce. Fiona is also a guest lecturer at Massey University. She lives in Army Bay and says her passion is supporting local business owners to grow a successful company and enjoy having a life as well. Her column will be monthly.