Do you often start the New Year, only to find yourself half way through March in the blink of an eye? Are you always chasing your tail when it comes to marketing strategies for your business? They’re hard traps to avoid, but with the right insights and guides, you can make sure you’re 100% ready and focused for the year ahead.
Whatever industry you’re in, January can be the perfect time to zone in on your key goals for the year, plan out your sales and specials, evaluate your marketing channels, and prepare yourself early, so you avoid business chaos later in the year.
Here are the 5 big business tips to planning ahead for 2018, and making the most of a quieter January.
Plan, plan, plan
Not everyone is organised by nature, so sometimes you have to give yourself a little nudge in order to keep your business in check. Planning is ultimately the best way to do this. So start small. Get a diary, a big wall calendar for the office, and a notepad or two.
Highlight the busiest times of year for your business, the dates you want to run sales, the holidays you might benefit from working around – anything relevant to your business needs to be on that calendar.
Maybe you work as a florist, meaning all the Hallmark dates of Valentines and Mother’s Day will be big boons for you. Get your marketing scheduled for six weeks before, and plan a few online newsletters for subscribers to remind people of your brand. You get the gist!
Review your marketing
Planning might be all about looking forward, but that doesn’t mean you ditch your rearview mirror. When it comes to business, the most important thing to do is compare how things went in 2017, and see how you can make it even better in 2018.
Did you slack off on the digital side of things? Maybe your website could use a little updating. If it’s not your area, then it might be worth getting an expert’s opinion, like that of True Local’s Business Hub. They’ve got all the tools to get your website on track, and reaching more users with better tactics.
It helps to do a stock take of your other marketing channels too, namely social media. Did your content reflect your brand? Did you share enough? Did your audience grow? Think about how you might build on that, and utilise the platforms social media provides.
Sort out your work admin
We all know what life admin entails, so take that idea and apply it to your business. Whether it’s cleaning out your email inbox, tidying your office, store or work vehicle, or going through any goals you set in January 2017, it helps to know where you’re at.
Take stock of what your budgets looked like for 2017, and how your spending matched up. Go through all your computer folders, ensuring all invoices and bills were paid, so that you’re starting 2018 with a clean slate and a balanced checkbook. And while business is a bit quiet throughout January, take the time to clean up your storefront. Try a few new designs, get creative with your brand messages, and get customers excited to come back into your shop.
Hire some help
If, after looking at your 2018 marketing plans, you find it looks like too much to handle, consider enlisting a bit of help to reach your goals. It might be that you hire some copywriting freelancers to write weekly website blogs, or suss out what companies like True Local have to offer in terms of making your digital offerings look sharp.
If the budget allows for a whole new employee salary, perhaps an assistant could help lighten the load. Whatever makes your job easier will ensure that you don’t lose focus or get burnt out as the year goes on, and you can keep your business fresh and full of new ideas.
There’s nothing like a brother in arms to keep you on track to meeting your targets. So within your circle or friend’s circles, find someone who’s at a similar stage in their business growth, and buddy up to give each other some motivation.
Catch up once every month, and ask each other the tough questions: what are your goals, how are you reaching them, what will you have done to implement your strategies by the time we meet next month? Having someone hold you accountable, and rely on you to hold them accountable too, will be all the motivation you need to stay focused and not slack off.
Still a bit lost on how you’ll find the ultimate path to success in 2018? There’s nothing like a trusted buddy to pitch in and give you the help you need. Chat to True Local and check out their snazzy Business Hub for more resources for 2018.