Are you ready for a successful 2011? What will it take to design a powerful plan and actually implement it? Business owners know all too well that planning is essential. The fact is, you really can’t determine where you’re going if you can’t put together a plan of action. So, instead of being stuck on cruise control, here are 5 ways to speed your business through a successful new year.
Write a book and get it published! Writing a book can be time consuming but a very critical step in your success as an entrepreneur. It’s a great way to position yourself as an expert, thus, allowing you to create additional income streams and charge higher fees for your services. As an author, you will expand your exposure and add credibility. According to a recent survey the New York Times reported, 81% of people feel that they have a book in them and should write it. To get started writing your book, it’s important to establish a clear vision, topic and purpose for your book.
Conduct a SWOT Analysis. A SWOT Analysis is a great way to access the state of your business. When conducting a SWOT, you are analyzing your businesses strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Strengths and weaknesses are the internal conditions of your business. According to experts, most small businesses are great at looking at the internal aspects but fail to look externally, which are the threats and opportunities. Taking a closer look, here are some key questions you must be able to answer when creating your SWOT:
- What do you do well? For example, review your sales, operations, marketing and management.
- What are your core competencies?
- What experience do you bring to the table?
- Where do you lack resources? For example, evaluate areas such as customer service, marketing, accounting and business planning processes.
- In what areas can you make improvements?
- Where are you losing revenue?
- What new requests are your customers asking for? Can you fulfill their needs?
- What are the technological advancements?
- What are the economic trends that benefit you?
- What are the negative economic trends?
- What are the negative political and social trends?
- Where are your vulnerabilities?
If you aren’t sure how to get started, starting January 2011, National Association Women on the Rise (NAWR) will provide monthly tele-seminars and programs for women in business. Some topics include:
- SWOT Analysis
- Access to Capital
- Public Relations
- Personal Branding
Invest in a coach. It is important to align yourself with a professional coach to help you identify where you are NOW and where you want to be in areas of your life, such as; career, health and wellness, relationships, financial wealth and spiritually.
Working with a professional coach can help you in clarifying your vision, goals, values and purpose while supporting you in mapping out a strategy to achieve your dreams. For years, my focus has been on helping others rather than investing in a coach to help me overcome some weak areas of my life so that I can better serve my family and clients as well as develop and create a plan for my personal and professional goals.
One of the unique benefits of NAWR’s membership is access to professional group coaching. Having access to monthly group coaching is a phenomenal opportunity to gain increased confidence, goal achievement and increased awareness.
Each month a NAWR member can receive “hot seat” coaching during the group coaching session. A “hot seat” coaching opportunity is when a participant comes to the group session and brings an issue to the table that needs exploration, development and solutions.
Set SMART Goals. Goal setting is crucial if you want to remain successful and competitive. Once you identify what goals you want to implement for 2011, you will need to find a way to review and measure progress. Some goals will take time to achieve, so it is important to measure your progress regularly. Try implementing SMART Goals into your planning. SMART Goals is a simple tool used by businesses to formulate an actionable plan for results. SMART illustrates the 5 characteristics of an efficient objective:
S – specific
M – measurable
A – attainable
R – realistic
T – timely
A common reason for failure in completing goals is having too many on your plate. Determine what your priorities are and then focus on them. By prioritizing your goals, you are focusing on those that are important to the overall success of your company. The key to success in setting goals for your business is making sure they are attainable and measurable.
Create a stellar customer service strategy. Providing quality customer service is vital and should be an important part of your business model. What is quality customer service? It involves relationship building, establishing communication, building trust and resolving potential problems or conflicts.
Are you at the top of your customer service game? Do you have processes in place to handle customer complaints? How do you measure quality service? According to most consumer surveys, a typical business hears from about 4% of its unhappy customers; while 96% just go away and 91% will never come back.
Don’t sit on your morals! You should never get too comfortable, instead, regularly assess the strengths and weaknesses of the quality of your services, your processes and your customer approach. As a business owner, you should make it a practice to over deliver and under promise.
In conclusion, by incorporating these simple yet effective strategies into your plan, you can position your business for significant growth. Here’s looking at a great 2011!