If you are one of the many business owners looking for ways to build business in the New Year, you are not alone. Here are eleven steps you can take to position your business for growth right now.
Top 11 Ways to Position Your Business to Succeed in the New Year
The devil is in the details when it comes to growing any type of business. The little things that you do now can have big effects later on. Put these eleven ideas to work in your business in order to set the stage for business success and growth in the New Year.
1. Get on Top of New Year Marketing and Industry Trends
Taking the time to research new technologies, consumer buying behaviors and marketing trends can help you identify improvements to your business that could help you gain an edge over competitors or keep you from being out-maneuvered by them. Emerging trends in your industry, marketing and the buying patterns of your customers (or consumers in general) can be used to shape – or at least tweak – your business and marketing plans for the coming year.
Where to start: Industry trade magazines and websites often feature preview and trend articles at this time of year. You can also glean inspiration from sites like springwise.com, find out about new tech from sites like producthunt.com, or explore all kinds of 2020 business trends on sites like entrepreneur.com.
2. Improve your Communication Skills to Succeed in the New Year
No doubt about it, effective communication skills – whether verbal or written – can make the difference when it comes to breaking through the clutter with consumers, employees, investors and other stakeholders. Smarp.com identified eighteen communication trends leaders need to be aware of in 2020.
3. Why Wait? Spring-Clean Your Business Now
Be all you can be! Now is the perfect time to identify inefficiencies, ineffective policies and just plain bad practices that are keeping your business from becoming the best version of itself. This pingboard.com article suggests seven specific ways for you to improve your business in 2020. You might also like this forbes.com article with five budgeting tips for small businesses in 2020.
4. Identify Financial Resources
Very few growth initiatives can be completed without working capital. Your plan for growth needs to be supported by adequate working capital for day to day operations as well as capital that can be used for marketing, expansion, new technology, new product or service launches, and so on. Your business may already have working capital that can be unlocked using receivables invoice factoring or with a real estate commission advance. These assets “on the books” can be unlocked to free up working capital when needed, instead of waiting weeks, or even months, for customers to pay or real estate transactions to close.
5. Stop Generalizing Already!
If your marketing messages are one-size-fits-all, it might mean they are closer to one-size-fits-none. Get smart about members of your target markets using sites like Nielsen’s claritas.com Prizm zip code look up tool (where you can find out what types of people live in your local area) or trendsactive.com with its overview on generational trends.
6. Refine or Retool Your Value Proposition
Stop rambling! Refining the way that you deliver your value proposition could impact your conversion rate in a big way. Sales strategy expert Jill Konrath offers up two ways you can create sales messages that convert in Examples of What to Say When Prospecting. We also recently published an article with five buying signs real estate prospects give when they are ready to sign on the bottom line.
7. Speaking of Customers, Reboot Your Retention Strategy
Many businesses have detailed plans for attracting customers but only a few, somewhat vague strategies laid out to keep them. Now is the perfect time for you to identify the rate of customer turnover (or “churn”) that is present within your organization, decide what constitutes a reasonable level of turnover and create a warning system that triggers actions when unacceptable levels are reached.
7. Craft an Employee-Experience Strategy
Churn and turnover isn’t just a problem when it comes to customers; employee turnover can keep your business from reaching its full potential as well. Much attention is paid in marketing to designing a customer experience that sets a business apart, but few businesses go so far as to design and implement a purposeful employee experience plan.
Since employee satisfaction is critical to customer care, efficiency, productivity, profitability and nearly every other area of your business, thinking through the experience in your business from the employee’s point of view could be helpful.
From recruiting, hiring and orientation through to the break and lunch areas, benefits, time off and other perks, design an employee experience within your business that makes employees believe you feel they are as important to your organization’s success as you say they are! To help you get started, check out this hrtechnologist.com article six practical ways to improve employee retention.
9. Stop Believing You Can Read Minds
Whether it’s gauging customer or employee satisfaction, looking for ways to cut costs, becoming more productive or making any other number of improvements to a business, many business leaders act as though they can read minds; or worse, they act as though everyone thinks just like they do.
Let go of the notion that you are a mind reader and start asking questions of your customers and employees – and start listening to the answers. Make it safe for people to give you constructive criticism and you may well discover a treasure-trove of ideas that you can use to grow your business faster in the months ahead.
This article with 10 Questions to Ask Your Team Every Week on 15five.com can be a starting point to better team dialogue. In addition, be sure that you are soliciting customer feedback using surveys, post-sale customer ratings and reviews and encourage customers to engage with you on social networks.
10. Get Everyone on the Same Page
If everyone is pulling – but everyone is pulling in a different direction – you are unlikely to achieve your business goals. Don’t assume that investors, board members, employees or customers share your vision! Take some time to ensure that everyone is on the same page as is laid out in this entrepreneur.com article by:
- Defining the mission
- Setting priorities, goals and targets
- Encouraging bottom-up planning
- Facilitating transparent information sharing and rigorous debate
- Ensuring that your organization is aligned appropriately
11. Send a State of the Business Message
Inspire customers, employees, vendors and other stakeholders to enter the New Year feeling more connected to you and your brand. Talk about the way your business has impacted the lives of customers, staff and the community for the better. Tell how your business will transform and improve in the New Year. Point out benchmarks and achievements, and recognize and thank those who contributed.