While every company needs to strengthen different aspects of their business, here are a few suggestions on areas to focus on as you make plans for the coming year:
- Prioritize the Customer Experience. Personalized customer service is often lost in a fast-paced world. High quality customer service should be a priority at every level of your organization. Be proactive and reach out to customers to see how things are going, and ask if you can do anything to help. Although a quick text or email may be appropriate, a phone call or a personal meeting will make a lasting impact long after an electronic communication is forgotten. Personal touches will set you apart from competitors and keep your clients coming back.
- Know the Numbers. All companies should maintain and analyze careful financial records on profit margins, fixed costs, and variable costs. Larger businesses should also seek to utilize economies of scale and explore what efficiencies can be gained by scaling up different aspects of the operation. The new year is a wonderful time to revitalize the budget process. Companies of any size can explore ways to optimize their resources, seek new ways to maximize profitability, and stick to parameters that are attainable.
- Play to Your Strengths. Good quantitative data is essential for internal operations, but you also should try to understand your value in the customers’ eyes. What it is that your company does better than anyone else on the market? Is your equipment the most updated and efficient? Does your insurance policy adequately protect potential exposure for you and the client? Do you have a reputation for high quality service? If you’re not sure what your “specialty” is, ask! Talk to loyal customers and find out what keeps them coming back. Their insights will be helpful as you market your services to new clients.
- Keep an Eye on the Future. It goes without saying but as you tackle the day-to-day challenges of running your company, remember that the decisions you make today shape the organization tomorrow. Don’t cut corners for quick fixes. Instead, address problems with fundamental investments in the structure of the company. Dutifully and consistently detail plan and set growth and improvement goals for several years down the road. Run your company not as it is, but as you would like it to be.
- Build up the Team. When your people are thriving, the company will thrive too. Check in with employees at all levels of the organization, and find out how they’re feeling going into the new year. Set goals together that utilize their skills and ideas to that will help them grow professionally and contribute to the success of the business. Keep them actively engaged by challenging them and outlining a clear path of advancement t. Explore ways your managers can build leadership skills and how they can contribute to both to the employees they oversee and the company as a whole.
These fundamentals are likely the same things that led you to the success you enjoy today. Remember what brought you here, keeping learning, and stick to foundational principles. Revisiting the basics and maximizing your strengths will help your company stay healthy and profitable this new year.
Wishing you the best in 2018!