If 2014 is just a continuation of 2013 all that is required is a little tinkering around the edges and off we go again? Or is 2014 going to be a different sort of year? It is getting on for six years since the economy ran into trouble and the intervening period has brought about many changes which could affect businesses fundamentally.
We believe that 2014 will be different to the previous six years; you can at last contemplate healthy sustainable growth in your business.
Although it is common to pass resolutions for the New Year; most involve minor adjustments to last years’ habits and few are maintained for very long. However, for businesses this would be a serious mistake at this point as 2014 is likely to deliver the most significant growth and expansion opportunities since 2007. In the intervening six years many things have changed so simply taking what worked last time and tinkering a bit won’t deliver.
The way you approach your market now has many options ranging from; physical networking, social media and LinkedIn through to more established tools such as advertising, trade shows, mailshots (“e” and physical) and of course telephone prospecting. So, when planning how to take your proposition to market there are now many more decisions to be made and it is even more important that you choose the right channels for your market. Some of the choices seem simple and obvious but might prove to be time consuming and not very effective for you. What is required is a well thought through marketing plan that defines which marketing options you will use, what the mix will look like and how much time and money you will spend on each. Now, create a Return on Investment (RoI) projection for your marketing plan – what you will put in and what you want out, and use this to monitor progress through the year. For an established business you can use past history to select your most effective channels – don’t have the metrics? Then maybe that’s your first change for the new year.
The next factor to consider is the threat to your business posed by competitors; not just the established competitors as a greater threat may come from new ones. One thing that has seen plenty of growth through the period of economic strife is the creation of new businesses many of which come with original and innovative solutions.
To pull all of this together; right market, right proposition, right routes to market and competitive strategy you need a sales and marketing plan. Read more on four tools/techniques that you can use to help you with this planning process.