Past … Present … Future
The New Year is filled with hope and promise – I hope you start out with a plan and I promise that people are going to try to steer you from that plan! Those plan-wranglers start out with the best intentions, but ultimately it's up to you. Even with a New Year, a New You, and a New Plan, I implore you to look at the past first!
History tends to repeat itself, especially when you don't spend any time trying to learn from it!
You need to take control of your business and not let the world (or others) take control of you! A business plan is just that … a plan! All of us need to have some benchmarks and measurables to gauge exactly where we are and how we are doing. These gauges can be financial, measures of output, or conversions of prospects to customers! You have to pick and choose what is important to measure for you and your business!
Let's Get Down To Brass Tacks!
What does get down to brass tacks mean? A theory is that it comes from the brass tacks in the counter of a hardware store or draper’s shop used to measure cloth in precise units (rather than holding one end to the nose and stretching out the arm to approximately one yard). It's about measurement. I don't care what you measure, as long as you measure something.
Benchmarking is just that … marking your position on the bench! What is that bench? It could be finances, profits, units sold or anything measurable. The bottom line is you have to measure something to see if you are doing better or worse.
Reach Out To The Past
What I am asking you to do is look back, so you can reach forward. What happened last year (or in prior years) can and will affect what happens to you in the coming year. We all have to learn from our mistakes and grow from our successes.
- Reach Out To The Past – Some of us are so focused on new business that we forget our past. Just because people are past customers does not mean that they are gone customers. Maybe they don't need you now, but what makes you so sure they don't need you in the future? Maybe they need a refresher on all of the new things that you have to offer? Stay in touch! They did business with you before, and chances are they will again (if you encourage them to)!
- Embrace Old Marketing Methods – When I owned my recording studio in the 1980's, I sent a print newsletter to all of my current customers. With today's free (or close to free) methods, we tend to lean on the internet, email, text and other delivery mediums. How about sending a printed letter or a postcard? Yes, you will incur printing fees as well as postage, but you can stand out at the place that is not over used! The email inbox is inundated, but the physical mailbox is not. Show how much you care with a physically printed piece delivered to a person's USPS address!
- Look At Your Books – I am a Quickbooks junkie! There, I said it! I check my Quickbooks weekly (if not daily). It shows me how people are rewarding me with their dollars and where my focus should be. It also shows me where I think I should spend my time, but actually need to let go as far as business goes. The Devil is in the details and the numbers don't lie. When I started my business, I used to duplicate CDs and DVDs. When my duplicator broke, I was selling only $200 a year in copies. Do you think I spent another $1500 to replace that broken machine?
I wish you much success, and I would LOVE your comments and feedback. So, please share this post and comment away!