Where is Your Business Going This Year?
I dont mind admitting that 2012 was a really tough year for Appletree. The recession crept
up on us and we'd been too busy marketing our clients to notice that
our marketing wasnt being done properly. At the start of the year I set
some high financial goals, but we didn't have the action plan
behind them, to show how we would achieve them so we missed them all by a
By comparison, 2013
has started brilliantly and looks set to stay that way. What's the
difference? Why is this year the one when we get back on track and exceed our targets? How is it that we now have a steady flow of new prospects
waiting to work with us? It's all in the Plan. Read on and you'll find out how
we've created one and how you can too, so you can really take your business
places this year.
Where is Your Business Going This Year?
Here's what happened
at Appletree last year and the marketing lessons we learnt:
January full of
good intentions and positive feelings, I set some big scary turnover goals.
Well, they're supposed to be big and scary, arent they!? Lesson one goals need to be achievable.
February having not
hit my January target, I just carried on doing what I was doing, hoping that
something would change. I took time out to reassess the business and figured
that just by working harder I would get to where I needed to be. Lesson two working harder won't
necessarily get you places.
March my Admin
Assistant decided to leave at take a job he'd been offered. Just as it felt
like my team was really gelling, it was all about to be broken up. I decided
not to replace him, but to take on a Marketing Apprentice who could learn the
ropes and really spend time doing marketing for Appletree. Lesson three make sure you've got the right resources you need for
member staff who had been with me for 5 years decided it was time for her to
leave too. This meant I really had to find the right Apprentice and I knew I
needed to find the right person. Lesson
four dont rush into any decision that will affect the future of your
business, including marketing investment.
May at the start of
the month, things were looking really bleak. I stood back and took a long look
at why I do what I do. I realized that I'd lost my mojo and when I reconnected
with what I'm passionate about, things started to look up. Lesson five focus on what you're passionate about and really good at
and it will sell itself.
June a week after our
Marketing Apprentice joined the business I knew we would be OK. He came with
loads of energy, enthusiasm and ideas. Lesson
six dont try to do all your marketing yourself.
July with the new
team settling in well, we looked properly at what we wanted to achieve over the
coming year (our financial year runs from 1 August.) This time we set realistic
goals. Lesson seven as for lesson one
and they also need to inspire you.
August I took a two
week holiday in Wales and did a lot of work on my second book. I had time to
think and came up with some good ideas for the business (including our
Christmas cards to get the early bird discount!) Lesson eight take time out to rebalance.
September when I
came back from my holiday, I realized I'd been away for too long! We didnt hit
our September target, but October was looking good. Lesson nine make sure your marketing still gets done while you're
October the first
month of hitting a new target! The enquiries were coming in more rapidly and
consistently, as a result of more focused marketing. Lesson ten dont try to promote everything to everyone; focus on what
you're really good at and have a reputation for.
November this is
the time of year when many businesses start to think about how to do their marketing differently
the following year. We were taking bookings for work for November, December,
Lesson eleven help your
potential clients to see how they need your services.
December by the
beginning of the month, when the Christmas cards went out, we had already
created our Marketing Plan for the first three months of 2013 and the targets
were being met. Lesson twelve plan
ahead way ahead! Put your plan somewhere you can see it and keep referring to
it EVERY day!
That's a snap shot
of the highs and lows of last year and some key lessons learnt. If
there's one thing that helped the business, it's the existence of a really
strong Marketing Plan. Because a plan isn't just about what marketing to do to put a plan together properly you need to look at where your
business is (your strengths), where you want it to go (your goals), who can
help you get there (your resources), how much it might cost and how much time
you've got. Work on that and it will really focus you into having a great year!