Happy New Year! Now that your holidays have wound down and you have returned to work, it's an ideal opportunity to devote some quality time to assess your business performance and to chart your course for the coming year. Here's how.
Map Out Your Performance
If you been in business for less than 5 years, map your performance every 6 months for the past 3 years. If you've been in business for 10 years or more, analyze your results for 2006 to the present.
Create a graph and on the x is (horizontal) list each year. On the y axis (vertical) map either your revenue or net income. You'll quickly see the peaks and valleys of your company's performance. Underneath each dip or rise, make some notes about the main factors that contributed to performance.
Sources of Business
Next, create a table and identify every client you have worked with over the past 3 years. Label the columns as follows:
- Service or product used
- Source of business (e.g. visitor to website, social media, blog reader, referral from existing client, repeat business from existing client, referral from a colleague, email campaign, offline marketing campaign, tradeshow booth)
This will give you a clear picture of the industries or sectors have have been most profitable for you, the most effective marketing strategies. It will also help you pinpoint services for which there is a demand and services that you should consider dropping.
A SWOT Analysis is another helpful tool for charting your course. It will give you a clear picture of your organizations, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (including competitive threats).
Based on these results, identify the marketing strategies and industries/sectors, and channel those that have been the most profitable for you. If there are areas that need to be re-vitalized, do some brainstorming with mind maps and storyboards to come up with new ideas. Set your goals for the next 4 quarters and establish a budget for your marketing initiatives in terms of time and money invested. The first few weeks of January which will usually be quite for you and your clients are a good time to launch new marketing initiatives. Be sure to include strategies to reach out to new prospects and re-connect with existing and former clients.