Top business tips for your business in 2017
Spring is a great time to reflect on last year and plan ahead for the next. There will no doubt be things that have gone well and things that have not gone so well. One thing’s for sure, if you keep doing what you are doing you will probably at best get more of the same or maybe worse. In the hyper competitive world we live and work in, simple technology changes and new entrants to you market could turn your business world upside down! So now is a great opportunity to plan ahead and give some thought to the following areas:
Item 1: Consolidate your database and segment your customers
How do you manage your data? Most businesses will have several lists which makes it very difficult to work with. Typical lists might include; Accounts package, e-commerce site, order books, delivery records etc. All of this data can be exported and consolidated onto a single spreadsheet and then imported and sorted in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) package. Why not try out the Activate CRM free for 30 days?
Item 2: Review your existing clients and customers
Identify your ideal customers by income and most importantly profitability! Map out their profile. Who are they, where are they located, why do they use your services, how did they find you or you find them? What was the source of their enquiry, how do they ‘consume media’. Most importantly how could you get more customers like them? Equally so, review the clients that are least profitable and profile them.
Item 3: Understand your business proposition
Most businesses we work with have ‘over diversified’ and are trying to be all things to all people. Map out your ‘deliverables’ and most profitable products and services to your ideal customer or client. Try and focus down to the 3 -5 most profitable ‘groups’ of product or service and identify and group clients and customers accordingly.
Item 4: What is your competitive advantage?
How well do you understand your competition? How do you provide a ‘UNIQUE’ benefit to your target audience? Understanding or focusing harder on your Unique Selling Point (USP) will give you a competitive advantage over your competition and most importantly VALUE in the eyes of your clients and customers.
Item 5: Get your marketing message right and out through the right channels
There are numerous channels to choose from in marketing. All that matters is that you choose the channels that your ideal customer uses to consume information! That might be a local magazine, leaflet drop or newspapers if they are of a mature, traditional profile. Alternatively if they are a little less ‘traditional’ they might use Social Media, Apps and be very Mobile orientated. Having a website that works well on both computers, laptops and mobile devises is essential. If your website is not responsive or have a mobile version for use on mobile devises, 2014 is the year to make that change!
Item 6: If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it
Huge amounts of Marketing spend is wasted. Henry Ford once said, “I know only half of my advertising works. The problem is, I don’t know which half.”
In the digital era of today there is absolutely no excuse for not knowing what marketing works and what doesn’t. Here are some ideas for tracking and measuring response rate across different media:
- Print advertising: have call tracking numbers unique to each campaign
- Email campaigns: use HTML email systems to track opens, click through rates etc
- Leaflets: have a redemption voucher or coupon for completion or return
- Website: use a sign up form with a downloadable white paper or document
Item 7: Sell on value not price
Trying to gain advantage on price and being the cheapest is normally a race to the bottom. Worse still there will always be a competitor who undercuts you and their own throat in the process! Creating value is not as difficult as it sounds if you find out what your customer really WANTS and not just what they need.
Item 8: Focus on bottom line profit through healthy margins
You’ve heard the expression, “Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity” – well that’s true. There are businesses with multi million pound turnovers that still go bust because they were failing to make sufficient profit
Item 9: Cash is king
Cash flow is critical to the survival of any business. There is no point in having thousands of pounds owed by debtors if you can’t service your creditors. Creating incremental income collected by Direct Debit or taking payments up front by Credit Card could make a world of difference in your business.
Tip 10: Have a written business plan covering; Marketing, finance and operations and human resources.
It is vital to commit to paper a written plan setting out what your business aims to achieve. A basic plan needs to identify who your target audience is, what their need is and how you are going to satisfy it profitably! To achieve all of that you need to know about your; competition, your own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Most importantly your plan needs to be dynamic and adjust for changes in the market, economy, completion, technology and the law to name but a few variables!
Hopefully this list of ten items will give you food for thought. For a more detailed discussion and FREE marketing review of your business please give our office a call!