It’s hard to believe that we’re at the end of January already. Despite sometimes feeling like the longest month ever, the month has flown since getting back to my desk at the start of January.
James, my husband, and I took the strategic decision to finish work from Friday 18th December. For me, Christmas is and has always been (depending upon your industry) the only time of year you can take time off and pretty much come back to what you left.
There’s no need to feel guilty about taking time off; as a small business owner, holiday is important. It means you can come back to work refreshed and reenergised.
I had a fantastic time off making the most of the weather with country walks, balanced with a few festive drinkies, tasty treats, and workouts in the garage. Not to forget the all-important festive clear out which involves going through every room in the house and segmenting items for charity, eBay and recycling. I find this very therapeutic indeed!
In my last blog, I talked about the importance of building stronger relationships with your customers and how sales is intrinsically linked to customer services.
Given the start we’ve had to 2021, it feels like a good time to reflect on 2020 and what small business owners can learn from it to help this year.
Five things every small business owner can do this year
These are the five things I would suggest you implement:
1. Create a plan based on objectives, NOT tactics
A new year starts and many small business owners start planning for the year ahead. Many will start thinking about the tactics and activities they would like to put into place. But first, stop!
Before you start planning your tactics and activities, my advice as a business coach would be to implement best practice planning and – as the ever-wise Simon Sinek would say – start with the end in mind.
Working this way allows you to identify what you would like to achieve in the form of objectives, then decide how you will measure whether you are achieving them or not. Only once you’ve done this, should you outline what your activities and tactics will be. This need not be complex; a simple spreadsheet will do the job. You just need 3 x headers – Objectives, Measurements, Tactics – use the cells below to show the detail.
Planning this way will ensure your marketing activities are aligned to your sales objectives.
2. Focus on what you can control
Yes, we are in a pandemic, and sadly no single person can change this. Individually we cannot overcome the situation we’ve found ourselves in.
Do what you can about the things you can control within your life. Take a step back and ensure you are looking after yourself. Are you drinking 2 litres of water a day rather than water in the caffeine you are drinking? Are you completing a minimum of 5K steps per day and exercising 3 times a week? And are you prioritising sleep ahead of device time late at night?
3. Know how you compare against your competition
Do you know how your small business fares vs. your competitors? By this I mean, how do you really compare to their offering, prices and more importantly how they differentiate themselves? Knowing all this will help you identify how you may be able to differentiate yourself from them.
Review your packages, pricing and what you include in those prices and packages. If you have seen a decrease in an uptake in a certain product or service, could you offer a scaled down version? It might mean less initial investment but it’s also a way of bringing on new clients, who may continue to work with you on another service in the future.
4. Identify who your best clients really are
Many of us small business owners create an avatar for our ideal clients when we launch a new business, venture or product. But it’s only after having built a history of selling to clients that we are able to work out who our most profitable clients are. Most importantly this is based on logical, pragmatic fact.
There are two ways of looking at this. I’d recommend you analyse what makes someone your ideal client from a revenue and profit perspective. I’d also suggest you identify the trends in who your client is so you can try to replicate more these customers. Doing this exercise will help you work out who your ideal client is and is not.
5. Forget the silver bullet
“Increase your earnings to £10K per month, with little effort”
“Get an abundance of sales-ready leads ready for you to convert!!!”
Sound familiar? 2020 saw many companies increase their online presence. This has meant an abundance of companies selling get rich quick programs like those above.
The reality is that there is no silver bullet.
These types of programs are generally course-based, high level and not tailored to you, your circumstances and your business. The result? People invest in these programmes and still feel unsure of how to execute against what they need to do in relation to their circumstances and business.
Generally, the common factor on courses that work, and courses that don’t work is the all-important accountability. What’s more, participants may feel overwhelmed as there is so much for them to do and they’re not sure what to prioritise.
This is the same for companies promoting sales-ready leads, ready for you to convert. THEY DO NOT EXIST.
The truth however, is that there is nothing to make running a small business easy for you other than structure, process, focus and discipline. And that’s where using a sales-focused business coach can help.
Want to know more? Book a free discovery call and let’s talk!