How is your business doing at the end of year? Before you pop that champagne and belt out the New Year’s song, it’s time for some serious reflection. What kind of year was it for your business? Did it end on a low or high note? Are there lessons learned that will define 2016 for your organization and its employees? To make this future year the most successful one yet, it’s essential to take a careful look back and break down specific goals for January and beyond.
It’s time to get out your microscope
Since it’s too overwhelming to give the previous year one grade as a whole, it’s critical to look closely at all the components.
You already know your bottom line and if you have enough money to throw a big holiday party this year. However, it’s the story – not the number – that really matters. If you are in the red, it’s not necessarily a reason to panic. For example, maybe you made some critical technology investments that will help your profitability skyrocket down the road. However, if something did go horribly wrong, examine those outliers with scrutiny. You’ll never want to make the same mistake twice (especially if it’s costly), so remedy the problem right now. And, if something went exceptionally well, keep doing it!
When an industry story breaks, where are you? If you are lagging behind, you need to make this the year that you are ahead of the curve each and every time. While there is no foolproof equation to becoming a leader, establishing yourself as a social media maven will help put you at the forefront. Since social media is a huge component for positioning your company as a reputable reporter, you’ll need to know what strategies work best for specific platforms. For example, if you aren’t already a hashtag master, you’ll need to become one to succeed in a social media dominated world. Because if you’re late, you’ll lose the opportunity to be the source everyone turns to.
Are you conducting your business in the most effective and efficient way possible? Or are you wasting time? Customized software tools (i.e. accounting programs, time management platforms) may be an easy way to bring about a huge change to your business and your end-of-year financial report.
Are your current campaigns working? Are you getting the most bang for your buck on your placements? If printed publication advertisements aren’t going the distance, put more into your mobile spending piggy bank.
Of course, you first need to define your metrics for success whether it’s about engagement, website traffic, or the number of purchases that originate from your strategically placed buy buttons. Since campaigns today often shift on a dime and change direction weekly, you must measure everything as you go. Without doing so, you will have no anchored comparison point to steer your ship in the right direction.
Your people make your business better. Education and networking forums make those same people better employees. Figure out how much your organization can compensate for ongoing training and encourage people to do this on a regular basis. The more they master niche skills (especially in the social media arena) the more that your business will reap the benefits.
Similar to the previous point, it’s all about the people. Without your staff, your business simply can’t keep its doors open. Offer incentives that your employees really need such as more competitive 401K packages or weekly work from home days. Staff morale and profitability go hand in hand.
Ongoing wellness checks
You don’t need to wait until the end of the year to see how your business is doing. In fact, you should always have a temperature check on your status every quarter, maybe even monthly. You can gauge this scale through regular staff meetings, fun employee outings, and even anonymous surveys.
Putting it into action
Once you have your twelve-month blueprint, you need to share it with everyone. After all, how can you build an effective (and improved) business without your employees? They are the ones that hold the hammers, nails, and vision. With a cohesive and collaborative mindset in place, your foundation can handle almost anything in the future.
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