If you’re like most business owners, the beginning of a calendar year is often a good point to review, revise and revamp. 

As the saying goes ‘if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there,’ but it’s always a challenge to really nail down what you want your business to achieve – a year is a long time and things you don’t know about yet will change your plan.  But no plan at all is a recipe for spending time and resources fire-fighting in the future.

These are my tips for getting focused

1: Work out what you want your turnover and profit to be monthly

Do you need to increase your prices?  Do you need more customers?  Do you need to educate existing customers about services or products they don’t know you offer (or have forgotten about)?  What is your cost per sale (really, no guesstimates)?

2: Know who you want to serve

Not anybody you could help, but those people you would love to work with and who will really appreciate what you offer.  Get into the detail and you’ll find it much easier to find people/organisations that fit the bill.

3: Get your message on target

Remember it needs to be about what they get, not what you do.  Is this message consistent on your website, your marketing materials, your networking pitch, your brochures?  Is the language ‘we’ or ‘you’? (It should be the latter).

4: Keep existing customers happy

A phone call ‘for no reason’ is a good way to keep communication open and make your customers feel valued.  Ask them how business is going, have a chat – and always ask if it’s a convenient time to talk first.  Do you give them special offers or early access to new things?

5: Develop new customers

What does your sales funnel look like?  What is the free/low cost offer to get people to identify themselves as interested in what you offer?  How do you move people from free to low cost to customer to premium client?

6: Get your marketing organised

If you think that this is the year you’re going to get your social media organised or start blogging regularly or send out a monthly newsletter – have a plan.  It’s no good saying you’re going to do and then facing a blank piece of paper or screen and hoping for inspiration to strike.  Put some of your key subjects on a calendar and put stuff together in batches – it will make life much easier.

7: Delegate, outsource, get expert help

Don’t try to do everything yourself.  Do the things that you are good at, that your clients appreciate and that make a difference to your business.  Delegate or outsource the things that you don’t have to do.  Note that this doesn’t mean abdicate responsibility – keep track and ensure those who are doing the accounts, admin, marketing, social media, website, IT, etc know what outcomes are expected and are accountable.

Finally, enjoy the ride!