Have you made 2014 resolutions for your small business? If you haven’t, it’s not too late.
Retail business owners should review their business plan, customer service objectives, and marketing plans annually.
Business Plan Review
When was the last time you reviewed your business plan? Most likely it was when you applied for a loan; or were searching for investors to finance your business. Business plans include all of the details specific to your business. If you haven’t looked at this foundational document in a while, maybe it’s time to revisit these parts of a good plan:
1) The Mission/Vision statement is the cornerstone of your business, and outlines the business you want to create. Have you built the business you set out to develop? If not, why not? Do your business goals support what you’re trying to accomplish? Do you need to amend your statement to reflect changes to the original mission/vision?
2) SWOT analysis – what are my Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats? Have these factors changed since you opened your business? If so, how, and what effect do they have on your business today? What are you doing to actively promote your strengths, shore-up your weaknesses, take advantage of your opportunities and mitigate your threats?
3) Revenue (and expense) projections. Are you on track with your original projections? Review income and expense items by account and determine how they vary from your original forecast. Then dig deeper to understand what is causing the variance. Are the differences caused by a change in the industry, economy or environment? I recommend reviewing financial statements and comparing to prior periods at least monthly. Financial statements are an excellent way to measure success and to make relevant business decisions.
Customer Service Review
Is your customer service the best it can be? In a blog posted by Patrick Hull a Contributor to Forbes.com, Patrick relates an interesting statistic from Marketing Metrics. “Businesses have a 60 to 70% chance of selling to an existing customer while the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5 to 20%.”
Get out from behind the counter and look at your business objectively, through the eyes of your customer. Are your employees friendly and welcoming? Maybe it’s time to recruit new employees or retrain employees to share your vision of customer service. Is your store a place that you’d visit on a regular basis? If not, make it that way. Customer service can make or break your business. Once a customer enters your store, you want to keep them as a customer. You may have only one chance to do that. Are there stores you patronize because they provided excellent customer service? There are a few on my list!
Marketing Plan Review
Do you have a marketing plan? Marketing is key to increasing sales and getting some of those 5% to 20% prospects in your door. If you don’t have a comprehensive marketing program, consider putting one in place. NFIB, the voice of small business, found in a recent poll that 55% of small employers think their businesses do not need much marketing because their products sell themselves. A comprehensive marketing plan includes promotion to gain visibility, publicity to get your business in the media and advertising to remain noticed by the customer.
If you are hoping 2014 will bring greater success to your business, resolve to review these key areas to improve your business.
Foundation www.morguefile.com by kconnors