I remember reading somewhere that only about 10% of us stick to and achieve our New Year resolutions. Doesn’t that mean, therefore, that making them is ensuring a 90% failure rate at some stage? Luckily, planning for a successful business doesn’t usually adhere to the same statistics.
That being said, many people will use the start of 2017 as an opportunity to undertake a make-over, whether personal or business. Nothing wrong with that of course, but the 90% figure above hints that most of them are probably doomed to failure. Why is this? – We reckon it’s because of competing priorities, lack of simplicity or procrastination.
If this sounds familiar to you, don’t worry you’re not alone. Personally, each year, I have to remind myself to tackle these three pitfalls.
i) To avoid procrastination I try to change the way I think. We have all heard that we should start the most difficult tasks first, which is good advice. So, by saying to myself do-it-now, without weighing it up, I find works well. Do this for the month of January and it’ll set you up nicely for the rest of the year
ii) When trying to keep goals simple I have to remember to break activity into small bites. I think it is always easier to achieve small goals than one overwhelming one. Also, there’s a sense of accomplishment I find, as you strike them off your list.
iii) With regard to competing priorities, I make all my goals as tangible as possible by writing them down (or share with colleagues/friends). It makes it easier for me to prioritise my activity.
Realising your ambitions for a successful business in 2017.
The rest of this post will be for those people who have either been thinking about creating a business or want their business to be more successful in 2017. I suppose it is natural to look to the start of a New Year as the perfect time to plan guidelines for the year’s goals.
This post, however, won’t be a bullet point guide as to how you should plan for a successful business. Instead, initially, I’m going to focus on three outlooks that might help you with your 2017 business aspirations.
The foremost thing that I have learnt since setting up O’Connor & Kelly is that the purpose of business is to cater for people who will/can actually pay for the services provided. To do this there must be a complete focus on who the customer is.
For instance, we have recently launched a bundle of smarter marketing packs on our website. We based these on what we have learnt from various organisations over the last three years. We focused on different customer segments; SMEs, Clubs and Non-Profits, and have built up an understanding of what their needs really are.
What helped us with this is that we put ourselves in the shoes of the customer and asked:
-What is the trigger that would cause them to consider a purchase?
-What would deter them from going ahead with the purchase?
-Is the price matching the value that they perceive they will get?
When the customer’s needs become your focus – you can deliver value in a real way.
The second outlook is to ensure that you are a customer’s preferred option. The main way to do this is to be relevant by providing outstanding value. If your value is not outstanding, you won’t have loyal customers, which means you won’t have repeatable business – which means higher costs looking for new customers.
Again, using O’C&K as an example, although we have targeted our smarter marketing packs as outlined, any organisation can mix and match. The point is that we have developed a good understanding of these segments based on customer insights. As a result, we believe that we can solve any particular marketing problem (flexibility) based on our experience, and can help those organisations with their growth.
Finding your own strengths to match customer insights is essential. The question to ask yourself is – are your services improving the life of your customer?
The third outlook we propose relates to marketing. If you want to realise your ambitions for a successful business in 2017, it is essential that you have a marketing strategy. In many of our previous smarter marketing blog posts, we have emphasised that marketing is an investment – which means allocating budget to it.
Look at it this way, if you have a great product/service, a great location and great staff but, nobody knows about it – you will never have a successful business. Here’s a simple, 2 part, strategy for you – a) be seen by your target audience and b) convert that attention into business sales.
Focus on these activities and avoid the other two other stumbling blocks of self-doubt and unnecessary spending.
It doesn’t matter what tools/channels you use (online ads, trade shows, social media, sponsorship, emails etc.) as long as you are showing how your solution can solve their problems. One final point on this, sales is a numbers game so you will hear a lot of no’s before getting a yes.
If you want to realise your ambitions for a successful business in 2017, it is essential that you have a marketing strategy.Click to tweet
Personal New Year Resolutions Play a Part in Your Business Success
Whether already in business, a club, a non-profit or starting up a business, it is worth focusing on some personal resolutions also. This year why not try something new instead of adding the usually failed goals to last year’s list. It might be an idea to pick something that you would enjoy (rather than giving up something).
Here are some ideas – enroll in a certificate programme for a hobby, activity or ability you always wanted to try (learn a language, creative writing, song writing etc.). Listen to podcasts, audio books and become an expert in one topic – fundraising, for instance. Volunteer for the Board of a local charity. Mentor somebody and pay-it-forward. Try a life coaching or motivational speaking session (e.g. Howard Hughes International).
How about using social media at a personal level? You might have been building relationships online for your organisation, but how about your personal brand? You don’t have to post every day, but you can expand your own network with people that have similar interests. You might even enjoy it. 😃 As a bonus, from a brand point of view, it would be another way of allowing your personality shine through your engagement.
If you do any of the above, you won’t just be setting targets for 2017– you’ll be acquiring benefits that stay with you forever.
Tips about getting rid of those nasty habits
We outlined 3 outlooks earlier that will help you realise your 2017 aspirations whether you are setting up a new business or kick-starting an existing one. There are six mindsets that should be dropped before embarking on your 2017 odyssey.
- Don’t try to do everything on your own – ask for help or outsource if required
- Don’t try to be perfect – everybody fails sometime, making mistakes is OK as long as you learn
- Make it happen – don’t wait for business to come to you
- Procrastination – stay in the present by measuring your targets and your goals
- Don’t let competitors’ success frighten you – learn from them and do it better
- Keep focused on the mission – don’t spend money on things that won’t help you achieve it
There are plenty of things that can become obstacles in your business. Don’t let your mindset be one of them.
In this post, we suggested three outlooks that entrepreneurs and/or business owners need to have in order to realise aspirations for a successful business in 2017. They were: a genuine customer focus. providing outstanding value and having a marketing strategy. We also mentioned that personal resolutions can impact on your organisation, so it might be worth planning for them as well.
Our tips above focused on some bad mindsets that business people should probably drop if they are to succeed in 2017. Our final caveat is not to focus purely on the science of marketing in 2017. Finding creative and smarter ways of delivering the message will always be the artistic side of marketing. We hope you will continue to be artistic and have a fun-filled and prosperous 2017.
“Thank you for reading our blog post today – Aidan & Jim.
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