Can you believe there are only 4 months and 9 days left of 2020?
For many this year has been a year of major disruption, but it has also been a year of major initiation too. I have found over the last 4 months that there are two very clear mindsets business owners have… Positive and negative. At the end of the day, we can’t just keep sitting here being disrupted and we must be positive about the situation! We must start taking action to move forward and I am going to share the top 10 things I have done to help me stride through 2020 ready for 2021.
- Profit and loss – I did this in February and realised that my services were not making enough profit so it was time to put my prices up! I now review this monthly and also use a sales CRM to keep track of invoices due and monthly payments received.
- Take time to take an honest look at how much your business brought this past year versus how much you spent and stop being an ostrich about this. This may not be the most fun task, but the last thing you want to do is start your next month without knowing what your finances look like! It can be hard to get an overall picture of your profits and losses without using some form of tracking software. Most banks or your accountant will have advice on the best one for you to use – Xero or Quickbooks are some popular platforms for this.
- Regular cash flow forecasting can highlight where problems occurred in the past and where there could be improvements made for the future. However, most importantly, a cash flow forecast will give you a good idea of the health of your business cash flow at a glance.
2. One year and then five-year business plan – I always do a 1-year business plan and for the last 3 years I have achieved my goals. Set the financial goal and then work out what you need to do to achieve this goal.
- Sit down with your team and put together a business plan for the next year.
- Pull together some financials and create goals. Are your financial projections still in sync? If noticeable changes have occurred, edit your business plan to reflect them.
- Put together a detailed business strategy for how you will attain those goals.
- Then every month – Stop and check it! Are you hitting all the short and long-term goals, and the objectives you had for your business? If you are not then you need to focus on what is working well in your business.
3. Have a 12-month Marketing Strategy – Social Media is changing every day and so is the technology you can use to grow your business. You need a great mix of advertising across print, online directories, social media, podcasts, and radio too. This is why I set up my business like I have, so I can help lots of small businesses advertise affordably and to their target customers.
- Referrals have made up 80% of my business this year!
- Social Media Management has to be a priority – Update your social media presence and stay visible.
- Evergreen content that you can use across multiple channels is going to be the best PR for your business over the next year.
- What has had the most engagement over the last 6 months and focus on more of that – Make analytics your best friend and engage, engage, and engage!
4. Build a great team both Freelance and employed – I am lucky to have a really great team now that is a mix of Freelance experts and my first employee this year too! Outsourcing is helping my business grow and I would not be where I am today without my awesome team!
- Make a list of what you enjoy doing and what you do not and make a list of everything that you spend time doing. This should include work-related tasks, marketing, projects, goals, etc. Identify any things that you no longer enjoy doing or that might be distracting you from working toward your bigger goals. Then eliminate extraneous time-suckers.
- There’s a difference between working toward something worthwhile and simply wanting to finish something in order to feel disciplined. A great trick I learned last week was to put £ signs next to everything on my to-do list and do the biggest £££ first! This will help you figure out which activities and projects are the most important and rewarding to you. Is there a project that has lost steam?
- Is there a task you can outsource or delegate? I promise you that once you can let go… It will be the best decision you ever made!
5. Customer engagement, feedback & testimonials – Whilst I am fully focused on customer engagement, I find it hard to ask for feedback and testimonials. Testimonials are amazing though and when you do ask for them, they remind you where your strengths are and how your support is appreciated!
Top Tips I will be adopting this year:
- Send out a handwritten thank you card.
- Create an email campaign that converts.
- Visit your customers in person.
- Spend a few hours each week reaching out to your best customers or future prospects to prepare for the future.
6. Find a mentor or coach – Investing in a mentorship programme and listening to many of the great coaches podcasts recently has seriously helped me define my business model and grow in confidence.
The specific benefits of being mentored include:
- being encouraged and empowered in personal development
- being helped to identify and achieve career goals
- being helped to identify and correct gaps in generic skills and knowledge
- increasing your confidence
- developing and maintaining a broader perspective on career options and opportunities
- having access to a good role model who has the experience
- developing your own mentoring/coaching skills
7. Listen to the advice they give you and implement it as soon as possible! How many times have you been given advice by an expert and not listened? Or listened but not taken action?
L-isten – I-mplement – S-ales – T-eam – E-ngage – N-iche
- Work on all of the above and you will notice a massive difference in focus and growth!
- With thousands of business podcasts available for download and more created every day, it doesn’t matter who you are, what level of experience you have, or what industry you are in. There is a podcast available right now that can benefit you in some way.
8. Focus 100% on the business and how you can make it better – As soon as Covid-19 hit the UK and we went into lockdown I knew things had to change. I found a great Business Growth Expert and made a bootstrapping strategy plan.
- Get to know your business inside and out, and bootstrap as much as possible to get through what is left of 2020. Focus, grit and sheer determination are the qualities which are going to get you there…So keep going!
- Get better at creating content and do an equal amount short term content (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter posts) and long term content (Pinterest, Blogs, Podcasts, LinkedIn Articles, YouTube, and saved Facebook Lives).
- Look at your systems, can you implement automation?
9. Never be afraid of a failure or a mistake – This year has made me realise that I have made quite a few mistakes along the way and some of them have been very painful indeed. However, I have grown so much over the last 3 years and these mistakes have definitely made me stronger and I have learned from every failure!
- Good businesses don’t thrive by playing it safe. And failure is a natural risk when you push the limits and try new ideas. But failures can also lead to huge leaps in efficiency and profitability.
- Take some thoughtful risks and study a failure thoroughly to discover the little jewels of knowledge and experience that you wouldn’t have known otherwise! It’ll make you and your business better…I promise!
- Never quit after a mistake or failure, try again and again until you get it right!
10. Have the courage to step out of your comfort zone!
There is a lot of content and advice here but I hope you find this helpful. I have learnt a lot over the last three years and I would now like to help others in the early stages of building a business. If you think I can help you then feel free to book in a call @ https://sjpcollective.com/book-a-call/
“Samantha is an asset to any business small or large. She has built her contacts from nothing and really sees the importance of social media marketing to get the business known. Her knowledge is golden. She helps businesses grow, think outside the box and, has many angles where they can be seen. Samantha just gets you the minute she meets you. Her personal input makes you go far. Thank you Sam for all your input over the years.” Carol – LinkedIn