We’ve created a checklist with some top suggestions for things to do now if you want to hit the ground running when you get back to business in 2016. Read on for our ‘new year new business’ checklist for success.
1. Take stock of your clients and the wider opportunities
How are your customers feeling as 2015 draws to a close? Hopefully satisfied, but now’s a great time to find out if there are any quiet niggles that could threaten their loyalty in the new year. It’s a great time to review ways to improve your offering to all of your customers.
Both your sales team and your customers will also be able to give you a heads up on what else is going on in the market place. If the competition is stepping up their game it’s important to make sure you aren’t left behind. Identify opportunities to protect and grow your market position.
2. Think big
Sure, you want to grow in 2016, but by how much? Now’s the time to review what happened in 2015 and find out if you can push targets a little bit further. Take a look at what’s worked well so far and use this to create strategies to build on existing growth, and stimulate some where it has not been happening. Think laterally with your plans and focus on getting your team onboard for the journey.
3. Infrastructure is key
Take the time to align your strategies with the infrastructure of your business and sense check that everything is functioning as it should be. You don’t want your work force to be distracted from growth and innovation by cumbersome processes and outdated software. Celebrate what works well but if it’s not working, put plans in place to change it.
4. Planning is everything
To make your business plan truly effective you should be referring to it every day. This is a great time to review and update the numbers that you had in place for the year so far, and for the new year. Make sure your strategies are reflected in your targets and vice versa. Take some time to engage your team. And then enjoy your festive season, ready to make the most of 2016.
5. Business metrics
How well do you know the detail of your business? Getting some good processes in place that allow you to easily track key business metrics can be the difference between a plan coming together, or not. Often businesses focus only on financials – margins, gross and net profit etc – which are of course important metrics to track. But there are many others that play role a role in business performance, for example, cost of acquisition, customer retention and satisfaction rates etc. During the quieter months, have a think about the metrics that are important to your business and either set up new systems or give existing processes the once over. Transparency is key.
6. Business communication
Pivotal to success, how we communicate is often left off the list of items for business review.
Have you recently put yourself in the shoes of your clients, suppliers, staff and other business stakeholders and thought about whether your communication has been as effective as it could be? Whether it is verbal or written, or the processes that support communication, taking a good look at recent examples of your business communication can highlight areas for improvement, which will ultimately lead to better business relationships and better business.
Thinking back to the time when you decided to strike out on your own, what motivated you? Are you still getting a kick out of your business today? At the risk of sounding fluffy, having passion for what we do day-in-and-day-out is an essential ingredient in success. It’s the fuel the keeps the wheels moving when business hits a rough patch, and the drive to take the next step towards growth.
Maintaining that passion though can be tough, especially as a business evolves and new tasks and responsibilities have to be managed. If you’ve found that the business of being in business has removed you from your initial passion, make the most of some time off to work out what you can delegate, automate or eradicate so that you can do more of what you enjoy.
So that’s our ‘new year new business’ checklist. We hope you find it useful as you begin planning for more success in the year ahead.
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