It’s a new year folks, and that means it’s the natural time to review many different parts of your life. You can spend time thinking about what 2014 is going to bring to the goals of your health, your relationships, your finances – but there’s one category that you can’t afford to overlook; your business! Take the opportunity to investigate the workings of your business in 2014, and arm yourself for a new year of technology, marketing and customer growth. In this article, we’ll explore a few ways you can make sure that your business is adequately armed for the new-year, so that by 2015, the only question you’ll be left asking is “how did my business do so well last year?”
Technology – staying current with business tools
Depending on your industry, there are going to be new technologies developing all the time that affect your business, your products, and your customers. It’s easy to ignore new systems and tools that develop on a daily basis, so a new year is a great time to take a step back, and look at what innovations have risen to popularity in the past year; taking stock of what you want to invest in, and what to pass on. For example, in 2013 the movement toward “cloud” based data storage and transfer grew to a larger percentage than ever before. Do you offer cloud services for the data you exchange with your customers, or do you still expect them to send everything through email? This one could be worth picking up, just to show you’re a current business owner, if nothing else. Another fast growing technology is NFC business cards. Not unlike the already popular QR codes, NFC tags allow a business card to send the user directly to an end destination just by placing a mobile device near the card (hence “near field communication”, NFC). Why not impress your customers and clients by staying tech savvy with your companies’ business cards in 2014? It just might be the thing that leaves your customers saying “those guys seem like they’re really on top of current technology.”
Marketing – staying top of mind in the New Year
As the barrage of marketing messages continue to rain down on customers, it’s harder than ever to stay on their radars. This year, consider breaking the mold, and making a splash with your customers with some less than typical marketing messages and mediums. We’re talking about things like “word of mouth” initiatives. WOM initiatives include things like adding random small gifts to your product deliveries, or personalizing your employee information on trading cards, so your customers get to know them better. Anything that creates buzz, and makes people talk about your business more is a great example of WOM. Remember, WOM campaigns don’t have to be particularly relevant to your actual products or services, think about the recent super bowl ads that simply featured funny jokes, or situations that got people talking. They were almost like a mini-movie that simply said “sponsored by Budweiser”. The result is everyone gets to talking about “did you see that new Budweiser ad?” Talk about branding, their name gets WOM leverage for weeks, and months to follow.
New Customer Growth – the Key to growing your business this year
Keeping your current customers happy with retention marketing is great – and always essential. However, let’s be honest – the key to growing your business this year is going to be the new customers you bring in, and hopefully lots of them! In focusing on bringing more new customers to your business, you’re going to need to get active in marketing directly toward this unique group. Draw in new customers with things like great customer testimonials, excellent product review, and free trial offers. Imagine that your best new customer is walking down the street with one thousand salesman yelling in their face. They try to tune out the noise, but one person looks like a solution to the problem, instead of part of it. That’s what you need to be; the difference, the light in a sea of darkness – and the stone that gets picked up on a beach full of millions. It seems like an unachievable task, but the more you focus on marketing to your new customer base this year – the more new customers you’ll see.
Make a Plan
In all of these efforts, the single best thing you can do for your business to arm it for 2014 is to create a great plan. Organizing your different tasks and campaigns on a detailed calendar will not only leave you less stressed out each week and month – it will help ensure that the work actually gets done! It might seem overwhelming at first, but if you graph everything out over a long period of time, and stick to your commitments, you can make the strides for your business each and every week, month, and ultimately the entire year.