For years, the name of the game for managing people was employee satisfaction. With a changing labor market and higher employer standards, that focus is changing.
Your Business Resolutions for 2017
With several weeks of the New Year under our belt, it’s time for a brand new you: You’re going to call your mom. Take more pictures. Spend less time on electronics and more time outside. This time next year, you want the number on the scale to make you feel a little less like a sumo wrestler.
We know – and we believe in you!
But your New Year’s resolutions shouldn’t stop there. This is also the perfect time to reevaluate your business, and make sure you’re set up for success in 2017.
Sound daunting? Don’t worry, we’ve already done the hard work for you – and here is your list of official business resolutions for the New Year. Repeat after me:
#1: We resolve to hold a strategic planning session
Your team can only make measurable progress if they know what they’re tracking toward. What would you like to achieve in the next year? What SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely) can be set to build momentum toward these big-picture objectives?
The best way to get everyone on the same page is to gather your leadership team (and any other appropriate team members) to a strategic planning meeting. At Kinesis, we typically allocate at least a half day to this session. Here, you’ll begin to develop this annual roadmap, identify key focus areas, and assign owners and timelines to each initiative.
#2: We resolve to focus first on our people
When planning for growth, most people immediately start thinking about customers. And whenever business owners start down this path, I’m reminded of a quote from JW Marriott:
“If you take care of your people, they will take care of your customers, and your business will take care of itself.”
– JW Marriott
Don’t get us wrong – it’s still very important for growth-minded organizations to fill the sales funnel. But those leads aren’t likely to stick around without a good product, and in service-oriented organizations your product is your people. The conversation should start with ensuring you have the right folks on the bus, who can deliver on your brand promise every day.
Focus on filling your team with motivated A-players who align with your mission and values. Develop a recruitment process that attracts this top talent, and then invest in your internal culture to keep them around.
#3: We resolve to increase our customer retention
You may have heard the old business adage that acquiring a new customer is 5-7x more expensive than selling services to your existing clients. You may even know that your sales success rate is about 50% higher with existing customers than with new prospects. But I bet you didn’t know that by reducing client defections by just 5%, you could increase profitability by up to 95%.
Nope, that wasn’t a typo. Increasing your client retention rates – even minimally – can have remarkable impacts on your profit margin, and this is a figure too often overlooked by business owners seeking sustainable growth.
Find ways to “mine for gold in your own backyard” by focusing on customer service, a systematic sales process, and reward or retention programs.
#4: We resolve to systematize lead generation
Once you’ve developed a strategic plan, filled your team with the right people, and maximized existing customer relationships, then (and only then) should you turn your attention toward new clients. That’s where sales and marketing come in – and there are a few important things you should know:
- Sales and marketing are different. While the two complement each other, they are often grouped together when they shouldn’t be. (Not sure how to draw the distinction? We can help!)
- You’ve got options. Not all marketing solutions are created equal, and it’s important to build a marketing program that makes sense for your business – whether that’s hiring someone, outsourcing, or both.
- Budgeting is important. Marketing’s function is to drive new revenue – so set a marketing budget based on the potential return of each effort.
- But, you don’t need a big budget to see a return. Depending on your level of marketing investment, there are a variety of tactics you can employ to grow your business – some of which your team can implement at little-to-no cost.
#5: We resolve to make time for forecasting
We get it – you need to focus on keeping the lights on, and it’s hard to carve out time to think big picture. But it’s important to stop chopping wood long enough to sharpen the axe. Otherwise, 2017 will be over before you know it, and your business will be no closer to its goals.
Devote an hour a week to checking in (with yourself, your team, or any accountability buddy) on where the company is today and where it’s headed tomorrow. Are you moving in the right direction? Is what you’re doing now providing a good stepping stone to your Big Vision? If not, better to be honest about it now – and right the ship if necessary.
While we can’t make any promises about the number on the scale next year, we can guarantee you this: With these resolutions in place, your business is sure to have a prosperous and profitable 2017.