Looking for directions on any smart phone or computer map program requires two pieces of information: your destination and your current location.
The same is true in business. If you don’t know where your business is, it’s impossible to figure out what it will take to reach your goals. In order to develop a detailed strategic marketing plan to take your business forward, you have to have a starting point.
The easiest way to start the process is with a two-part assessment to help evaluate where you are and where you want to be.
Part One: Where Are You?
- You Business: What were your 2012 sales, profit and average revenue per project? Did you reach those goals?
- Your Customers: What do your clients think of you and why? Who are your most and least profitable clients?
- Your Prospects: What are the characteristics of your typical client and the characteristics of prospects who rarely become clients?
- Your Operations: What parts of your internal process work well and where are there inefficiencies?
Part Two: Where Do You Want to Be?
- Your Business: Divide your sales goals by month. Don’t wait until the end of the year to see if you are on track. Also, look at your business by product or service. Not everything clients ask you to do makes sense for you financially. Set objectives for the projects which are profitable, and give yourself permission to stop doing those things which are not a fit for your business.
- Your Customers: Set objectives to reconnect with past customers and conduct reviews of old accounts to identify likely prospects. We try to touch base with old clients during the first quarter to see how they’re doing. It’s amazing how often that conversation turns in to a new project.
- Your Prospects: Outline specific activities to generate new leads. Maybe it’s setting goals for networking events, leads from your website or referrals from former clients. How will you transform those goals into action plans?
- Your Operations: Just because you have always done it that way doesn’t mean that’s the best way to do it in 2013. Take a good look at your systems. Are there unnecessary steps that add time without adding value? Are there new software solutions? In 2012, we invested in a quite a few online tools. From proposal writing to reporting, we have trimmed hours out of our week, but these tools come with a cost. Before jumping on board, be sure the expense makes sense. This is also a good time to dump software subscriptions you don’t use.
The economy is finally showing signs of recovery. Are you ready to take advantage of the upswing? You can be with a little planning. Download our Free Strategic Planning Tool to get you started. Need more help? Register for our Marketing by the Numbers Workshop on January 15.