18 Ways to Improve Your Business in 2018
1. Double down on customer service
Give, give, and give some more! The 80/20 rule suggests that 80 percent of all business comes from 20 percent of the customer base. How do we achieve that? Repeat business! People always remember how they have been treated, and you can immediately begin accelerating your business by taking better care of your people.
No customers = no cash = no oxygen for your business to survive.
2. Research the marketplace
Knowledge is powerful. The more you know about what is going on around your business -- competitors, market trends, customer cares and concerns, current events -- the stronger your approach will be.
The goal of your business should be to find a "blue ocean" where only you exist, and continue to expand that territory, rather than operating within the "red" ocean where all of the sharks are competing for scarce resources. The only way to find your blue ocean is to do what no one else is, and you must have as much information as possible on hand to craft your position.
Don't be afraid to get out their in the field for your knowledge. Attend workshops and seminars to sharpen your skills and to network with like minds.
Dig deeper: What is Blue Ocean Strategy?
3. Dominate your local area
When people think of your industry, is your business one of the first few that comes to mind? Let's think of an example: chicken and waffles. Immediately, Roscoe's flashes across your brain. Their product has created a myth, and everyone who thinks of this unique breakfast pairing is hoping to get there one day.
There is NO place like home, and if your business’ name isn’t ringing bells locally, that is a problem. Within your local community, you need to be one of the top businesses in the customer’s mind.
4. Be timely
There’s always SOMETHING going on, and your business needs to be in the mix. Aligning with big events, cultural memes, holidays, and the like, are smooth ways to stay current and visible.
For example, what are you doing to welcome your customers into the new year? Any special deals? Seize the moment.
5. Host events
Digital marketing is huge, but does that mean we should completely forget about the analog experience? No! If your business has a physical location, then you absolutely need to curate events to drive traffic to the space.
If you don't have a physical headquarters, consider hosting a pop-up shop or partnering with a pre-existing business to leverage their space for mutual benefit.
6. Deepen your network
When we think about networking, it’s often about expanding our following numerically. However, what about the quality versus-quantity principle?
Instead of just padding your stats, consider the option of going deeper, rather than wider. Larger groups are much more difficult to manage anyhow. You already have access to and relationships with family members, friends, supporters, and customers. Start going deeper with them to strengthen those bonds.
7. Expand the product line
Ah, yes! There is room for expansion. One of the simplest ways to increase the bottom line is to offer more products related to your core offerings. For example, consider the juice bar that also sells patties and vegan muffins. Or the juice bar that sells salads and wraps.
To appropriately start this process, we need to take a deep look at our customers, to see inside of their lives and make a decision about what else they may need to progress. Even better, have some conversations. Customers will tell you exactly what they want, all you have to do is listen + deliver!
8. Crunch the numbers
It's SUPER EASY to stay focused on the day-to-day operations of your business because there is ALWAYS something to do or a problem to solve. However, you need to make time everyday to take stock of your financial inventory to know where to cut back, where to apply pressure, and to stop the bleeding where necessary.
9. Trust the process
Lifetime value is an important business concept to consider. It projects the total revenue a customer will add to your business over the course of their lives.
Let's look at the friendly neighborhood supermarket's relationship with one hypothetical family:
- $100 shopping trip
- Every two weeks
- 50 years in the local community
That's $130,000 in revenue, not including any of those random trips where we just pop in to the market to grab a few things. Thus, every business needs to ensure that it is developing long-term, positive relationships with their customers to ensure business growth.
Now, if your business is able to capture the love and attention of the youth, that exponentially increases your prospects of long-term revenue. Look for ways to better align your business with the wants and needs of the youth population. They need guidance, clothes, food, content, skincare, and more, and their parents are shopping somewhere. Why not with you?
10. Add more of your secret sauce to the recipe
The marketplace is crowded, and your brand needs to be easily distinguishable. What makes your business unique, is the “secret sauce” that no one can duplicate, because only YOU have access to the recipe!
Start pouring more and more of that sauce all over your business and the results will begin to accumulate.
11. Pick an area to go from good to great
You’re succeeding, sure, but there is always room for improvement. Take a look in the mirror and your most glaring shortfall is probably right there staring back at you. Pick it up and get to work on taking that element to the next level.
Action Step! Take a few minutes and list out 10 pros and 10 cons about your business. Be objective!
12. Produce at least one form of content on a consistent basis
Social media is necessary. Content marketing is necessary. However, there are far too many variables to manage all at once. Pick a format to go deep on — snapchats every hour, blog posts twice weekly, daily vlogs, once a week Facebook live streams — and build it out over time.
13. Take care of yourself
You know what would really set your business back in the new year? Running yourself off of the road by working overdrive. Rejuvenation is equally as important to your success as the grind. Work out, spend time with family, and do what makes you happy. This is a marathon, and you need energy stored up for the journey!
14. Seek out a new alliance
The most important resource that every business has is its people. Get ahead by aligning with someone new. Be it a new friend, adding a new teammate to the company, or doing business with a firm in a related industry.
In business, where systemization is required, it can be natural to fall into a routine: sticking with the same suppliers, depending on the same clients for repeat purchases. Shake things up! It could be the breakthrough boost you’ve been waiting for.
15. Add a sense of mission
How clear are you on your “Why?” If you know why you’re running your business, print it out in bold letters and keep it somewhere that you’ll see it everyday. If you’re unclear, some soul searching is in order.
16. SELL MORE
The more you sell, the more you sell. The goal of a business is to increase profits! That can only be achieved by reaching more potential customers and adding more value. Promote to 10 people, and that’s your cap. Promote to 1,000, you’ve increased your potential revenues by 100x.
Position your business in front of the people, early and often.
17. Learn from 2017… then leave it where it right is
Sankofa: “It is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind.”
2017 was a year of ups and downs, and as much as we would love to bury our failures, now is the time to dig through them for all of the lessons that will help to strengthen our approach in the new year.
With the distance of time now in place, we can be more savvy with how we relate to 2017’s missteps, rather than emotionally tangled in our losses. Take what is needed, and move in with a renewed spirit.
18. Add a sense of urgency
The time is now! This moment is never coming again! We’ll get another chance in 2019, but it won’t be quite like this. This is the moment of truth for your business to move closer toward all of those lofty visions still left unfulfilled.
Start 2018 in high gear and take it higher as the months progress.