Some things in life are better if you dive right in without much thought ─ lake swims, roller coaster rides, and wild party nights.
But, business? Not so much.
Business strategies are always best planned, and when it comes to preparing for the year ahead, it’s a good idea to spend some time considering what you’re going to do.
In part one of this two-part blog series, we looked at how to identify what’s working and what’s not in your business. We focused on identifying what needs to change in your business strategy and the importance of ensuring that you have a growth plan in place for the new year.
Which brings us to part two:
Now that you know what’s working and what’s not, how can you accelerate business growth?
Here are seven ways to prepare for a year of success:
Improve your goals
We can’t overemphasize the importance of setting goals for your business.
A successful marketing strategy identifies and improves your business goals. While planning for the year ahead, find and focus on what factors enhance your business goals.
Consider setting SMART goals.
American poet, writer, and historian Bill Copeland said: “The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score”.
Setting SMART objectives as part of your growth plan allows you to clarify your thoughts, focus your efforts, make better use of your time and resources, and boost your chances of accomplishing your business goals.
SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
But, if the classic approach of SMART goals isn’t for you, make a PACT instead.
Small, short-term goals benefit from SMART, whereas ambitious, long-term business goals do not.
PACT stands for:
- Purposeful – Your objective should be relevant to your company’s long-term objectives that form part of your growth plan.
- Actionable – A good goal is one that you can control the outputs of and one you can easily assess during your yearly review.
- Continuous – The steps you take to achieve your goal must be straightforward and repeatable.
- Trackable – It should be possible to track it rather than measure it.
These are the four factors that make for great goals and a strong business strategy.
How to choose what to measure
All companies, regardless of industry, should establish benchmarks to monitor business success during the yearly review.
Consider metrics like the break-even point, which is the number you need to reach to cover your costs and for your business to sustain itself.
You should keep track of where your leads come from and how many of them turn into clients since this will help you measure your growth.
Sales volume and frequency will also reveal information about a company’s overall success.
Lastly, your satisfaction is also necessary. Don’t undervalue your own happiness with your company and its direction.
Optimize your workflow
Workflow optimization is when you improve an existing workflow by lowering operating expenses, increasing productivity, adding new functionalities, reducing the time it takes to accomplish a task, and other aspects to ensure things run as smoothly as possible.
One thing to look at during your yearly review is standard operating procedures (SOPs). These determine how your company operates and the best methods for getting things done.
Keep the option open of outsourcing as part of your growth plan. Benefits include continuous workflow, less cost, saving time, and optimization of resources.
Don’t leave your marketing to chance
The importance of being consistent in your marketing, turning up, and being seen regularly cannot be overstated.
Consistent marketing needs to form a big part of your growth plan to prevent you from getting too busy or sidetracked.
As you do your yearly review, make sure you have marketing processes in place. The easier, the better. Consider things like marketing automation, marketing experiments, and optimizing your customer journey.
Boost your business with a marketing and growth strategy that fits your needs. If you’re ready to grow your business to the next stage, subscribe to our newsletter for no BS insights.
Review previous mistakes
Your yearly review can bring up mistakes that have been made but remember not to let them drag you down.
The right thing to do here is to review them professionally and learn lessons from them.
Every business owner has to go through the ups and downs of owning a business, but reviewing past mistakes and adding these to your growth strategy can help you avoid making them again.
Here’s an example of owning up to mistakes:
When irresponsible visitors vandalized an Airbnb host’s home, CEO Brian Chesky wrote her a heartfelt letter apologizing and offering a $50,000 property guarantee to safeguard her and other hosts.
Airbnb did not go bankrupt due to that one blunder; on the contrary, they adjusted their course, went on, and have been a huge success ever since.
So, when faced with a corporate crisis, gather everyone in the room and solicit their input and take full responsibility for the difficult decisions.
Create 1, 5, 10-year plans
If you feel like you’re working hard but not getting anywhere, it might be because you haven’t really thought about what you want out of your business, and you haven’t set long-term goals.
Consider what you want to achieve over the next year, five years, and ten years, and then commit to it. PACT goals come in handy while working on your long-term growth strategy.
Plan the steps you need to take to make your goals happen, review them regularly, and cross them off once achieved. Then, when you do your yearly review, this process will start again – even your five and 10-year plans might change after a year (and that’s okay).
It would help if you also looked at exit strategies, including preparing finances, considering options, speaking to investors, choosing new leadership, and informing employees and customers.
This episode with Mac Lackey on the Beyond 8 Figures podcast features some great insights into building an exit strategy.
Ensure your growth plan includes business expansion, a stage in which a company has reached its limit for expansion and is looking for new ways to increase profits.
Learn from the best
Learning from the best in the business and finding out which tools or processes they’ve included in their growth strategies can help accelerate your own growth.
We highly suggest listening to the Beyond 8 Figures podcast (and it’s not just because they’re our sister company). There are some excellent insights!
Every episode dives into the successes and failures of entrepreneurs, the realities of running a business, and the techniques for reaching eight figures and beyond.
Trust us; there have been some hugely inspirational guests on the podcast so far (and there’s more to come).
Talk to your customers and audience
Interacting with clients, especially during the early stages of your business, can significantly impact its direction.
Regular customer interaction is an underrated but bullet-proof way to improve your services, create content, and increase customer satisfaction.
It should also form a big part of your growth strategy as you assess your yearly review.
Some things to look at is if you’ve established a consistent tone for all messages, identified your client’s needs, listened more than talking, used positive language, prioritized responses, and if you’ve managed to get your customers’ details right.
In your yearly review, schedule some interviews for the next year to receive valuable feedback from your customers about how they see your services and products.
And, while you’re at it, start building your customer avatars if you haven’t yet.
Make 2022 year your best year yet!
The best years in business are (usually) the ones that we are prepared for. Therefore, reviewing the past year and preparing for the upcoming year is always helpful for any business owner.
If you need an external sounding board to give you expert advice on planning for the year ahead, you can simply submit your question as part of our Insights Pod membership trial right here.