As we step into 2013, take these 10 ideas to grow your business with you…
- Invest in Strategy: Strategy differentiates the good from the great. Think about the strategy and objectives before stepping into new initiatives e.g. we all know that getting referrals is great, however, in 2013, if you are still relying on “accidental” referrals, then this is the time to rethink. The same applies to your social media, web and CRM strategy.
- Process Automation: You are not alone if you find yourself spending a lot of time on your business or job but still not getting done enough. If you are responsible for business development, you may have opportunities falling through the cracks. Why not try something different in 2013? List out any activities you do at least three times everyday. Now think how can you automate some or most of these. There are nifty technologies available that can turn around your business.
- Focus on ROI and Analytics: In business, risks are proportionate to returns. You cannot get returns unless you make an investment. In 2013, make sure you follow the principle “what gets measured gets managed”. Use Google Analytics to measure performance of your websites or if you are more sophisticated, leverage tracking features within your CRM. If you are investing in pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements on Google/Facebook or LinkedIn etc, track the ROI. If you are paying huge sums to consultants to help you grow your business. Think about the return on investment.
- Delegate: A number of years ago I came across this term called comparative advantage. Comparative advantage refers to the one thing that you can do the best. If you are good at shoving the snow, you should think about making it your business only if you can’t do anything else better than shoving. In 2013, focus your energies on what you do best and leave the rest to others who know how to do it best e.g. if technology is not your sweet spot, hire someone to manage it for you. You would be surprised at how much stress will that reduce!
- Start a blog: The way things are changing in this world, I am almost certain that a blog would be a key differentiator in the years to come whether it is the question of getting recognized, getting new business, or even getting a new job! If you don’t like to write a blog, create an audio blog or even better, go for a video blog. For more on starting a blog, subscribe to 108 ideaspace’s no charge strategic blogging course.
- Focus on client service: I can’t stress this enough. If there is one thing you can change and improve in 2013, I would suggest it should be this. Nothing compares to a happy customer and nothing can hurt your business more than an unhappy one. Imagine your best client and think if you were to invest all your money in making this client happy, what would you do? Take this as a starting point and create a strategy to improve your customer service.
- Smartphone/Tablet compatible website: The area of web browsing is changing quite rapidly. Can you count how many new smartphones and tablets launched in 2012 alone? It’s an indicator of where we are heading. Even if your desktop website is doing great already, you can still make a difference in your business by making it smartphone/tablet compatible. If you plan to invest in a new website, don’t settle for anything less than a responsive website. To the least, it is important for your website to be usable on Apple and Android devices.
- KYC – Know your clients: In this age of Social tools and cloud-based CRMs, it is not very difficult to capture and analyze more and more about your clients and prospects. We are in times where people are themselves sharing their demographics, psycographics and other information that marketers would love to know. The question is whether this is the time to shift your budgets from focus groups to monitoring social media or invest in social media market research?
- Invest in yourself: No matter how occupied you are, plan to invest in yourself in 2013. This includes speeding up the networking, attending conferences, joining relevant associations to stay on top of all the developments in your field. Innovation is the key in 2013, so think about putting your newly acquired wisdom to innovate. It always helps to have a professional development plan for yourself.
- Have some fun!
If you think this is too much to do for 2013, then all you need to do is prioritize your actions and get to the most important ones first. This is the key to execution. It is rightly said “The biggest difference between those who succeed versus those who fail is implementation”. Wish you good luck for 2013!!
Ashish Malik is Partner, Client Services at 108 ideaspace inc., a consulting firm that extends business strategies by innovating in Strategy, Technology and Design. A Certified Consultant, Ashish has helped several clients automate their sales and marketing and grow their business by implementing CRM. For more on Ashish Malik or 108 ideaspace, visit ideas108.wpengine.com.