New to the blog? Subscribe to Fix, Build and Drive™ by Email today. That way you won’t miss anything important.
Now that you’ve had a few days in the new year to breathe, isn’t about time you got some real momentum started for 2012? A little business growth for the year?
If you are like most businesses, 2011 finished with a bit of a whimper. The new products didn’t get out on time, there weren’t enough new customers to replace the ones you lost and your employees didn’t seem to share your passion for growth and profit.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
You can start right now to generate new energy and a tight focus on a few things that matter. Here are 12 places to start to generate business growth:
Go to your website’s home page and ask yourself these three questions
Would I stop here? Would I stay here for long? Would I ever come back?
A great website acts like a hub for your customers. It needs to be updated often, include less copy and fewer links to push and it needs to invite people in to learn about you and your products and services. How’s your site?
Go find your tagline or brand promise and read it over and over again
What are you telling people about your value? Why should someone invest money or time in you or your products? Having a clear and benefit-based brand promise clarifies things for you and your employees.
Kick off a local (in person) and online social networking strategy
Let’s make 2012 the year of getting to know our customers. By getting out of the big office and showing up at local industry networking events. And by picking a few LinkedIn groups to start influencing with a few helpful contributions. It’s not that hard.
Sit down with your team and pick out a few big and/or difficult goals for the year
“Same as last year” doesn’t tend to bear a lot of fruit. And the truth is employees get bored with the same business plan every year. But give people something to shoot for (and perhaps a fun reward when it happens) and you create energy around the office.
Pick one social media platform, let someone own it and start creating some real social credibility
A lot of companies are trying too hard to be everything to everyone online. If you have a big staff, well maybe you could have a broader focus. But most companies can’t justify it. So pick one. And own it. Be authentic, helpful and relevant. And see what you can do to create a few fans. Of course you might need some help here.
Find one meaningful way to encourage brand loyalty
Customers become open to brand loyalty after having a great experience with your brand. And if you can do it again, they’ll start sharing their new-found love with others.
Make it a point to find at least one major obstacle to business growth in 2012.
Sit everyone in a room and ask these questions:
What’s slowing us down? What one or two investments would open a few doors? What growth are we capable of once the obstacles are moved?
This gets your team involved, engaged and enabled to help implement the ideas that come from the conversation. Finding impediments to growth can lead to big wins this year.
Learn how your brand or business makes people feel
Your brand or business has an image. You just need to ask people what it is. A strong brand image gives customers confidence, peace of mind and lowers their risk. How does your brand or business make people feel when they are in it (if you have retail stores), using it or wearing it?
Find at least one person (maybe you) that can speak effectively about your organization
If there are industry conferences coming up, the opportunity to introduce your company’s expertise can be powerful. But if you put a poor speaker up on the stage, you will waste time and money. A great speaker will engage the audience and give them a reason to begin a relationship with your brand.
Perform a marketing audit to identify basic and advanced issues with your marketing efforts
Whether you are the marketing leader or someone working for you does that, there’s nothing wrong with a little outside help. What if you could identify a 10% savings by shaving off unproductive spending. An outside marketing audit offers practical insights on where to get better and offers actionable ideas that can often be implemented within a few weeks.
Give your sales team some help with structure and strategy
Weak sales organizations tend to mirror Einstein’s definition of insanity:
Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
Sometimes this is because the same people have been selling the same product for way too long. Other times it is because the sales team is managed by someone who doesn’t know the sales process too well. Make sure your sales team has clear monthly goals, a clear list of target companies and a focused sales plan.
If you are using Twitter, please start using it right
So many people use Twitter as a place to advertise their services. And that’s it. If your company is stuck in the mud with Twitter, there are some golden rules for using Twitter. But in the end it is really about engagement. It’s about talking to people. In order to do that you (or someone) has to enjoy engaging. Do you?
So now here’s your homework. Pick one or two of these and get started. Easy enough, right?
Tell me, which of these do you see having the biggest impact on your business growth in 2012?
Thanks danperry.com for the great photo via Flickr