It's important to really be specific in detailing what you want to achieve personally this year. If you don't, things will just take their normal course. Nothing will change without you making it happen.
I recall a very powerful action tool I learnt some time ago - Think, Say, Do. Think involves thinking deeply and clearly of what you want and very specifically defining it in your mind. Say is either writing it and/or telling people of your goal or idea which creates both internal and external commitment and expectation. It brings the idea to life. Do is the final step that follows a thought and statement. There can be no ACTION without thinking and saying it beforehand. I encourage you to utilise this handy technique. It works.
Strategy for the Year
What is your strategy for the business this year? Have you updated and documented your monthly/quarterly/annual priorities, goals and targets. Review your projected sales figures, gross margins, net profits and key performance indicators. What is your marketing plan and what marketing activities will you conduct each month? Who are your new clients likely to be and where will they come from? Review your current resources - what new staff are needed and how will this be funded? What external resources are needed and how will those additional costs be funded? What is your plan to recruit new staff and how will you source these external service providers required?
I recommend you do a detailed review of all areas of your business before the end of January so that you schedule and implement the important changes required effectively and efficiently.
Think about how you can better serve and communicate with your clients this year. Business is becoming more sophisticated in terms of client relationships. Businesses that build close relationships with clients win more annual share of wallet over a longer time period.
© 2008, Business Influence, All Rights Reserved www.businessinfluence.com.au Examples include regular phone/in-person contact/site visits, written correspondence, periodic client round table meetings, feedback forums and focus groups. Leading businesses have even included key clients in product/service design meetings with clients providing important input into what they really want from you. Imagine the competitive advantage in working with clients at that level.
List down your prospects you wish to target for the year. These can be either specific businesses you already know or could be certain types of businesses possessing a specific set of characteristics. Estimate what revenues and margins these are likely to deliver and how you will service and resource them.
Next create a marketing plan which steps out the specific activities and actions required to secure them. Some of these will be very specific targeted activities requiring allocation of your time internally/externally and creation of marketing resources and proposals. Complementing these will be general marketing activities which raise market awareness and product/service offering. Create a budget and action plan to implement this.
Review yourself honestly on how you led and managed your team last year. Make a commitment now to being a great leader this year. Schedule in your diary your regular internal meetings, regular one-on-one sessions with key staff and periodic performance reviews. These should be locked in your diary now and canceling them made non-negotiable.
If you haven't shared your vision and goals for the business in 2008, make sure you outline this openly in your first internal team meeting. Allow time for questions and be patient and courteous in speaking with the team. The team can't all row in the same direction if they don't know where the ship is going.
Think about your existing network. How strong is it? What's missing and who do you want to connect with? Specify who and how you want to approach to create partnerships, alliances and long-term relationships. Make a commitment to meeting with at least one existing/new contact each week or fortnight depending upon time available. Of course these relationships are a two-way street so think deeply about what you can offer to do to help them too. Individuals that you like and trust naturally work best but this can't be established unless you actually meet someone in person. Trust until deceived and use that innate intuition that so many business owners possess.
© 2008, Business Influence, All Rights Reserved www.businessinfluence.com.au
The Law of Reciprocity basically means the more you give the more you get back. If this concept resonates with you, you may want to think about how you can give something back and make a difference. You may want to support a program to employ disadvantaged youth, offer an apprenticeship to a mature age worker, sponsor a charity or community group, donate goods or services to a needy cause, provide volunteer services, start your own cause - the opportunities are endless.
In my humble opinion it is definitely not a cliché that the more you give the more you get back. It's just the way it is. If you are authentic and genuine in your outreach work, you will be so much better off and I'm not just talking in material terms. And you might just change the world!
© Darren Bourke, Business Influence, 2008. You are welcome to “reprint” this article online as long as it remains complete (including the “about the author” information at the end).
Darren Bourke is a Consultant, Business Coach & Mentor who helps small & medium businesses struggling to maximise profitability, productivity, people and performance. His Free Report titled What Successful Owners of Growth Businesses Do That You Don’t, newsletter and updates are full of strategies and tips to make your business boom. Sign up now at www.businessinfluence.com.au
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