Today, I began my planning for how we are going to attack the marketplace in 2012. It will take time to determine what the current landscape looks like, clarify objectives, build the strategic plan, and then outline the actions that need to happen to make it all come together. So I have to start now.
We’ve done a bit of research already on what steps we each can take and weave into our process in order to garner a higher level of success. I’d like to share them with you now to get you thinking and on the road to begin creating your plans sooner rather than later.
Below are the forward thinking strategies that will help your business now and well into 2012.
- Invest more time on what works. Whatever paid off in 2011 is worth investing more time, money and resources to in 2012. Ask yourself: What incentives or promotions got your customers’ attention? What was the top-selling item or service, and how can you get your customers to buy more? Try doubling your effort on what you already know will help boost sales.
- Try something new. Experiment. If something isn’t working, now is the time to try something new. The best new ideas often come from conversations with your customers, suppliers and, most of all, employees. “The unexpected can often be the obvious,” says New York business and personal coach Carol Vinelli. Talk less, listen more and really tune in to ideas that could lead to breakthrough products and services.
- Expand your network. Social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are a great way to get new business and referrals. One new connection could lead to a dozen new customers by the end of the year. Not only will you gain word-of-mouth advertising from sites like these but you will be able to see and hear directly from current customers about what is working and not working.
- Leverage your brand. Face it, this economy is tough. Low prices and quality service are no longer enough to keep customers. Offer something to make customers take notice of you – a mobile app, free event or giveaway, anything that makes you stand out from the crowd.
- Get employees excited. Focus your staff’s attention on key metrics such as sales, profits, productivity and customer satisfaction by creating a plan to motivate them to hit your goals. Anything from an employee of the month club to bonuses usually works. Provide training and help your staff clearly understand the objectives, the improvements needed, and how they can make a difference.
I can not over-stress the value of these basic premises for your 2012 endeavors. Include them, expand them, and modify them to make them yours. Look for more 2012 insights to come in our Better Managers Blog. One may be the key that unlocks an incredibly successful year for you.