Like most people I tend to take stock at the beginning of a year and think about what I want to achieve in this coming year, both in my business and personal life.
Are you focused enough to refer regularly to your business plan and update your objectives, do you set new goals each year or month or are you more of a daily or weekly list maker?
Personally I refer to my business plan including long term ‘SMART’ goals at three monthly intervals during the year to make sure I am on track, this helps me find where I am slipping behind. I find that short term action planning and making daily lists helps keep me on track during the year but for my yearly review and goal setting for the year ahead I always start with a Mind Map. That way I can see everything on one page and see how everything interlinks because this often sparks new ideas and opportunities.
I use the Mind Map to brainstorm key aspects of my business such as:
- My Offer – Products & Services
- Web Site, Blog & Social Media
- Financial & Legal
- Learning & Development
So here are just a few of the ideas that I am going to focus on in 2018.
Identify key sectors where I can make the most difference, give me the most income and least amount of stress. Use that information to think about how I could get more customers from the same types and sizes of business.
- Research 3 key businesses each month in my chosen sectors within a 25 mile radius getting to know them and understand how I can help them.
- Network where they network. Find out which business networks they belong to, attend where relevant with a view to joining.
- Find out who they follow on Twitter and Facebook and what topics and posts they are interested in.
- Make an effort provide connections or send them useful information or links so I am seen as a useful contact
- Get recommendations from existing clients covering the areas where I want to target new customers
- Look at areas where I had little or no impact and maybe distance myself from difficult customers that are hard to satisfy or took too long to pay.
- Reduce my marketing efforts in those sectors, clean my databases and free up time for better quality customers.
- Stop spending time networking in groups where the companies are too large, too small or in the wrong sectors.
- Finally, politely and firmly end negative relationships or those that bring in no income to free up time to work with people I like (and who pay me!).
Partnerships and associations outside of the customer/client relationship are very important to me to help grow my business. I think about the people I’ve met or worked with and who I have felt a connection with.
- Renew any relationships that are not active by contacting by email or LinkedIn and meeting up to see about new opportunities .
- Keep my LinkedIn profile up to date and post updates and articles of interest that are relevant to my target market.
- Make an effort to help other individuals and organisations connect to solve problems and build relationships possibly through LinkedIn groups
- Find a suitable Mastermind group with like minded complementary businesses to motivate and hold each other to account.
- Develop joint training or publications with others to take advantage of a wider group of contacts
Website, Blog & Social Media
There’s lots of stats available from website and social media platforms, so I make sure I look at them to see what’s working and what’s not. I check my website regularly, make sure it reflects what I’m currently doing or want to focus on. Things to update include my About page, pictures, links, and refreshing or deleting old blogs and articles. Because your digital marketing presence is more and more important I review the reach and engagement of my blogs and posts. Good quality content and pictures are the key to more shares and likes and I try to only ‘sell’ for 22% of the time on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.
- Limit my time on Facebook and Twitter to 30 minutes a day, it’s so easy to get distracted with all the useful information out there!
- Write regular blogs on topical subjects or those most relevant to my potential customers and schedule social media to link to my blogs.
- I will aim to promote the same blog more than once over the year, therefore I will update and/or change the images
- Post blogs to different platforms using different headlines or key points or pictures.
- Improve my visuals and graphics through packages like Canva and Piktochart or image libraries like Pixaby
By setting yourself a number of achievable goals and monitoring them you will move your business in the right direction. If you have any top tips for goal planning why not share them too. Best of luck!
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