Planning for success

Planning for successAs a business owner, you may be sure your accounts are in order before meeting with your tax accountant but that’s a historical view of your business. What about the future? Are you planning for success?  Are you on track to meet your business goals?

Your accountant will review your bottom line, but behind those numbers there’s your story of sales, revenue and profit. All those elements come down to your marketing strategy. And now’s the perfect time to whip it into shape.

To stay competitive it’s important to plan ahead, explore new opportunities and markets. And all that begins with understanding where you are right now.

Do you know what your customers are thinking?

This is a great opportunity to send out a quick survey.  As well as staying top of mind with your customers, you can ask questions such as:

  • Are you happy with our products?
  • What other products would you like to see us introduce?
  • How can we improve our customer service?

These are all great insights, and you can put ideas into action immediately – demonstrating to those same customers that you’re listening and you care.

Do you know what your competitors are offering?

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about their options when it comes to buying your service or product.  Who are they comparing you with? Do those businesses have a website? What products and services do they offer?  What are their hours of trading? These may be bigger businesses than yours, they may be smaller. They are all your competitors and you need to find a way to differentiate and provide better value or service.

Are you meeting your revenue targets?

If not, it’s time to think about why. Are your targets realistic? Is your product or service still on trend or meeting a market need? Are there ways to create new revenue streams?

Do you have an online presence?

Even if you don’t, your customers are online. Do you have a website? Is it easy to find through Google and industry directories? Are you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+,  LinkedIn?

You need to have an online strategy.

Creating an online presence makes it easy for your customers to find you. That means thinking about your SEO strategy, and considering video – YouTube is now the second largest search engine (after Google).  If you’re not online, your competitors are!

Social media may be free but it takes time and energy to build an online brand. You don’t have to be everywhere – think about where your customers are, and be part of the conversation there. If you sell to other businesses, that may mean joining relevant LinkedIn groups. If you are a homewares or fashion retailer, Pinterest might be the simplest way to create a virtual product gallery. And if you’re targeting consumers, build your Facebook fan page with targeted offers and VIP insights.

Need some strategic inspiration?

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  1. You make an important point when you say you need to have an online strategy. You can’t wing it, you need a plan! Thanks Vicky!

  2. Great.. plans! I did my very first YouTube. I have to get on the ball and get after this channel! Thanks for the great tips..;) Glad to have you in YouCanDo ! Best group online..;)

  3. I remember somebody who said; if you don’t plan, you plan to fail. Isn’t this the truth? We need a plan, otherwise we never know when we get there when we get there….LOL but it’s true!

  4. I like this; I know a few people who don’t get their website or their social media platforms off the ground and the main reason for it is that they don’t have plan!

  5. You need to have an online strategy. – a big yes to this line. Thanks for the great reminder, Vicky.

  6. Yep, strategies are so important and I love that you point out how you need one for an online business, too! Thanks for the info, appreciate it!

  7. I’m not consistent with some things. I did You Tube for a bit then stopped, I am not as busy on Pinterest as I used to be either…I must schedule time for each,,,

  8. Great post! Marketing is definitely one area that I am working on and really need to get a plan in place. Thanks for the info!

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