With the year drawing to a close, and Black Friday behind us, now is a good time to start thinking about giving your business a health check. Is it performing as it should be? Did the decisions you made in 2018 pay off like you wanted them to, and if not, why not?
Today we’re taking a look at how you can give your business a check over so you can enter 2019 feeling confident about your prospects!
Your Customers, Your Brand
All the decisions you’ve made throughout this year have had an effect on your brand: how you’re perceived by the public. Even people who aren’t your customers will have some understanding of your brand, from your advertising, from news stories, from what they’ve heard from friends who do shop with you.
If your brand is stronger (is more widely recognised, and has more positive associations for consumers) at the end of the year than it was at the beginning, then you can feel confident that you’ve good choices. If it’s not, then you’ll need to make some course corrections going into 2019.
You can look into what your customers are feeling about you with a brand tracker survey: this should be a key part of your end of year health check.
Targets and Results
You should have started the year off with some plans and target setting. It’s useful to make this a formal process, with your targets recorded so you can consult them later. This helps to assess whether or not you’ve succeeded. Even if you didn’t formally set targets for yourself, think back to the beginning of the year, and try to remember what your aspirations were for the year. Did you want to grow your revenue? Open new locations and launch new products? Or were you more interested in overhauling your processes and making efficiency savings?
Did you hit your targets? Did you follow through on your plans?
While it’s good if you did, not doing doesn’t necessarily mean failure. The important thing is to look at why you didn’t hit those targets. As long as you can learn something from the experience, then it’s not wasted. If there’s a plan you didn’t follow through on for good reasons, identifying them is a triumph: pushing on with a plan that you’ve learned won’t be successful is the mark of inflexible decision-making process.
Targets for the Next Year
Finally, start making plans for the next year. Make sure you can quantify them, so you can identify success and failure, and try to ensure you can explain why you want each of these things. Bigger isn’t necessarily better, so make sure you can articulate why opening two more branches would be a boon for your business before you start to grow!