Zip, zing, swoosh and another year has flown by and is in the history books. I won’t take up valuable real-estate by stating the obvious, but it sure does seem like time is going faster and faster. It’s common in the business and marketing world to use January (and the start of a new year), as a reset button for both physical and mental activities. And I am not going to buck the trend.
Business owners should use the start of a new year as a time to reflect, review, reorganize and redirect (as necessary) their business-related efforts, especially when it comes to marketing (preferably this is something you start working on in late October/early November, but I understand reality).
So, with this virtual kick-in-the-pants (and from others like me), I would challenge you to invest some time and creative-thinking energy and consider how you can create forward momentum and success in 2017.
Don’t rush and skim over that last sentence.
I really want you to invest time and energy, while taking a breath from your day-to-day tasks, and come up with a short, but actionable list of ways you can reset here in the beginning of the year, with the goal of forward progress and positive transformation.
On a recent call with a client, almost as if he were quizzing me, he asked me to rattle off five things I would look to reset, if I were in his business (dental practice). Without missing a beat, here’s (a longer version of) what I suggested to him:
1 – Show more appreciation. It’s rough out there and the number of examples of rudeness, disrespect and virtual muscle-flexing I see (and sadly sometimes personally experience) is far too many. Reset your mindset and daily interactions and show more appreciation to the family, staff, customers, vendors and even pets in your life. Say “thank you” more. Show gratitude often.
2 – Always have an offer. For students of direct-response marketing, this should be nothing more than a reminder, but after working with thousands of business owners over the past two decades, one of the biggest “holes” I see is the lack of consistent, quality offers. This is not just about making more sales offers, but it’s also about making offers for helpful information, to get referrals, to get reviews, etc. Look at your advertising, marketing and sales efforts and see how you can beef them up with more quality offers!
3 – Expand your authority position. No business owner can go wrong by investing time, energy and money into creating their own, personal authority position on a specific topic or expertise. There are many ways you can accomplish this. You can write a book (at least a short book), speak at events, be a guest interview expert, etc. Establish real credibility and expertise and completely differentiate yourself from your competition. What one or two things can you do in 2017 to build or expand your authority?
4 – Offer more experiences. People remember experiences much more than products, brands and logos. Creating opportunities for memorable experiences will enhance the relationship and bond with your best customers. If you are in a more transactional business (e.g. pizza shop), you could offer a how to make pizza workshop. The owner of a local Greek restaurant I like to dine at put together a 12-night trip to Greece last summer and is doing two trips this coming summer. This is an opportunity for him to forge long-lasting relationships, and you can do the same thing by creating your own experiences.
5 – Keep things complexly simple. Huh? My point, with this obvious oxymoron, was instructing my client him to keep things simple, but to make those simple things as complex and robust as needed to obtain the established goal. I get running a Main Street business is not easy and you have a thousand things tugging at you each day, which is why I constantly preach the less is more and keep it simple mantras. Take the start of 2017 for example. We know plenty of people who are going to make all kinds of resolutions they cannot (or will not) keep. Instead, come up with a short, but doable list, that has very specific goals and milestones. So rather than say “I want to do more marketing in 2017,” you list a handful of very specific marketing goals, like “I am going to send thank you letters to every new customer.” You need to chunk these efforts in a way that you can consistently and repeatedly accomplish. Then you should maximize the heck out of them and make sure you are extracting every possible ounce of opportunity out of the effort. This is how you get stuff done (and why marketing automation is so important).
So, those were some of my ideas on how one can kick-start 2017. I would love to hear your thoughts and personal mantras for this new year. Leave a comment below.