No matter how great or tough your 2016 was, the ball is in your court to grow your business in 2017. By examining what went well last year — and what didn’t go as well — you can begin to set goals and create your networking and marketing strategies for this year. Here’s how to set the table for a successful 2017:
Set some time aside to reflect on 2016. You may already have some updated technology tools in place to help with analysis, but — regardless of these tools — you should be asking yourself some questions.
- Which jobs did you win? What did you do to make them happen?
- What about the jobs you didn’t get? What could you have done differently?
- In which business areas did you earn the most revenue? How did you make this happen?
- Where did you lose money? Why?
Set goals and benchmarks
Setting a direction for your business through goals and benchmarks is important. Like a GPS, these goals provide ways to navigate toward success and keep you on the right track. When creating your goals, be as specific as possible: Don’t just say you want to make more money in 2017; decide on a specific amount. Think about what you want to accomplish this year.
- How many jobs do you want to get? You can give a little bit of a range — like 30-40 — but don’t make it too broad.
- How much money do you want to make? You can even break it down into gross and net earnings.
- How much do you want to cut your losses by?
Once you give yourself a direction with your goals, you then need to create the action steps and strategies that will provide the framework to achieve them.
- Look at the jobs you completed last year and examine the steps you took to get them in the first place.
- What about the jobs you didn’t get? Did you have strategies in place that you now need to change or let go of altogether?
- You’ve already figured out the areas in which you made money in 2016. Re-create these scenarios. Write down what it will take to do this again this year.
- For the situations in which you lost money, cut out the practices you employed and focus on what did work.
Focus on connecting with customers — rather than selling to them. Nobody wants to be sold to, and your customers are no different. They want to know they can trust you and rely on you to do your job well, and they also want to know you care about the work you’re doing for them. Here are some ideas for staying connected:
- Consider using social media to keep your clients in tune with what you’re doing. It will help you continue the relationships you have and keep you on the forefront of clients' minds when it comes time for them to hire you again or refer you to someone else.
- Ask your happiest customers if they mind providing referrals to those who could benefit from your services.
- Write case studies on completed jobs and add them to your website or social media pages.
- General contractors work with a lot of the same people who would hire you for your services. Consider developing a relationship strategy that includes general contractors and others who share the same clients as you. Also, ask them how you can best support them.
- Market directly to business owners and consumers in your area.
If you’re proactive with your goals and strategies this year, you’ll start your 2017 off right — and set out on a direct course for success!