Here’s a swag of quick ideas to help you stay on track, stress less, live more and improve your business in 2019.
1. PLAN AND TRACK
- Write down goals
“Vision without action is merely a dream.
Action without vision just passes the time.
Vision with action can change the world.”
Write down your goals – both personal and business.
Start with your big picture goals or vision for your life and then break them down into actionable tasks. If you’ve never written down goals before, there’s some tricks to making them stick – follow the SMART principle and check out this quirky video from one of our fav gals Marie Forleo.
Then ask yourself, what is one thing you can start doing TODAY to help you achieve this?
- Set your business’ financial targets
Figure out the numbers that will support the goals you want to achieve and write them down.
Here’s a couple of easy ones to get your started:
- If your goal is to grow your business:
- Weekly or monthly income/sales target
- Number of new customers per month
- Number of sales calls per week
- If your goal is to improve efficiency and profitability:
- Maximum number of open “jobs”
- Employee Billed hours per week
- List of “jobs” to complete this week
- Target profit per month
- Share your goals and targets with others
Share your goals with your partner – Scott Pape from the Barefoot Investor recommends having a monthly financial date. Check out our Chardonnay Chat here on the topic.
And finally, share your goals and targets with your team.
It’s all about making the invisible, visible and nothing is more powerful than a shared goal.
- Find a way to track and report on your targets and goals
Next, find a way to make these really visible to your team. At Atticus, as much as we love helping our clients to create a detailed budget or using great software to create amazing dashboards that track vital stats in real-time, we want to stress that it doesn’t have to be fancy and it most definitely doesn’t have to be perfect.
Keep it simple! The key is to just get started on tracking and reporting your key targets.
It could be as basic as grabbing some whiteboard markers and a whiteboard and writing your progress up weekly on the board.
For instance at Atticus, we have a whiteboard in the middle of the office with our weekly targets as well as the jobs we want to get finished for the week. Each time a team member finishes a job they tick off the whiteboard. We track our weekly targets on a thermometer printed on a laminated page and each time we do a bill we update the running tally.
If you have a lot of off-site workers, many businesses find it easier to report their results from the week before at their tool box meetings.
- Are you delighting your customers?
Review your customers, one by one, and make sure you are delivering value for them as smoothly as possible – everything you do should be about being easy to do business with.
Ask for feedback – it can be as simple as asking “so, how are we going, we would love to know if we can do anything better for you?”
Speaking of, at Atticus, we would love to know if we can do anything more for you or is there anything we can do better? Drop us a line to [email protected].
- Review your new client onboarding process
Do you have a documented process that is not only customer focused but also means you are capturing all the info you need to efficiently serve your customer?
Or perhaps your process needs an overhaul?
Many businesses don’t have a process or the process focuses on front-end sales, meaning vital info needed by your admin or finance team is forgotten about, leading to delays (sometimes at a critical point like invoicing!) and inefficiency down the track.
Your new customer onboarding process needs to be seamless, customer focused and concentrated on being easy to do business with.
- Does your sales process need a revamp?
Many small businesses are started by great technicians or tradespeople – you went into business because you are a great plumber or you love being an architect but honestly, that doesn’t mean you are great at sales.
Don’t underestimate the power of learning how to sell, properly!
And selling doesn’t mean being greasy and pushy – it means truly understanding your customer’s needs and goals and then working out if you are the right person to help them. We have an awesome sales process that we can share with you if you want to hone your skills. Email us here to request it: [email protected]
Yes, video, many of us find the thought of seeing ourselves on video dreadful. Myself included! But hey, it’s the best way to connect with your clients.
It doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds. First find a topic – think about what you are wanting to achieve – is it to educate your clients, build brand awareness or perhaps it’s more of a feel-good topic like sharing something interesting about your team.
If it’s education, this is an easy one – ask your team what’s something their clients ask them all the time? An FAQ session! Bingo! – a perfect short video topic.
If you want to get started on video content it doesn’t have to be hard. Check out this guide here: Need a website link about how to get started on video.
Maybe this one? Ideally one that goes through basic equipment needed.
- Upgrade your website and keep your social media fresh and current
It can be disconcerting for a customer (or even a prospective employee) to go to your website or Linkedin page only to find that your latest post was
“School holiday special – 20% off. Expires midnight 30th September, 2012”
“how to get the best battery life from your Nokia 3110”
Let’s face it, this doesn’t make a good impression. Your website is not a set and forget marketing tool – it needs regular tending like a garden to keep it looking fresh and relevant. Also, regular updates improves your Search engine ranking.
4. MANAGE CASHFLOW
- Review your customer collection process
Very few businesses keep a close eye on outstanding customer accounts which is a massive danger area if you are trying to build a great business. In fact, here’s a story that really hit home to me about how poorly some businesses follow up outstanding customer accounts (this is a little embarrassing as I hate being someone who doesn’t pay my bills on time!):
Towards the end of last financial year, we had some work done at my house by a tradesperson. I received the invoice several days later by email and this is the embarrassing bit, in the end of financial year rush it turns out that either my husband or I deleted the email (oops!). But at the time, we didn’t give it another thought. Until, over 4 months later, we got a reminder email from the company at which time I promptly paid it. Four months!! That’s a long time with no contact. Now, they are a large business and the amount we owed was “only” about $1,000 but wow, I wonder how many of those “smallish” invoices are not getting chased regularly by this business – I bet for them (or you) this really adds up.
It’s important to create a process to regularly and consistently follow-up outstanding invoices.
Check out our blog on how to create a system to reduce your outstanding customer accounts.
And finally a bonus tip! And probably the most important!
- Invest in yourself.
Educate yourself. I love the Jim Rohn quote – “Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development”
Sure, you’re great at your job but nobody is an expert in everything and we know business owners have to wear lots of different hats – visionary, HR, sales, marketing, people management, customer relations not to mention keeping an eye on the business numbers, keeping up to date with new technology and coming up with new ideas.
Find some courses or seminars to help expand your skills and knowledge. Schedule in to attend a conference this year – check out your industry specific conference as typically they will feature amazing keynote speakers to help get the creative juices flowing. Talk to a mentor or trusted adviser or finally, read some books or listen to some podcasts – there is so much great and inspiring info out there! We have some great book or podcast recommendations – give us a yell if you need some inspiration to get you started.
If any of these tips struck a chord or if you want more info so you can get this implemented in your business, drop us a line anytime at [email protected]