2016… What Did We Learn?

The New Year is a great time for reflecting on the past year and setting goals for the new one. This is great, of course, for personal issues we want to improve. But, what about your business? Have you sat down and really looked at where you’ve been and where you want to go?

Last year, did you reach your business goals (gross sales, unit sales, market share penetration, new client acquisition, new locations developed, reduce costs, increase profits)? What do you think your greatest achievements were of 2016?

There is a common saying, “Celebrate your successes and learn from your failures.” Personally, I think we can learn from anything… if we ask the right questions. So, what made your victories successful? Sit down and really analyze what made something work. Was it the extensive planning, as well as preparing for various outcomes? Was it the new personnel you hired? Was it you taking a more hands on approach… or less? Was it that social media campaign? That PR blitz? That creative direct marketing idea?

On the other hand, what didn’t work? If you could do something different in 2016, what was it? How would you do it differently?

As George Santayanna wrote in his book Reason in Common Sense“Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” So, looking back on the past year, it is essential we study what did and didn’t work and, more importantly, why.

Once you have done this – and I suggest you take a diligent week by week or month by month approach when reviewing 2016 – you are ready to set your goals for 2017.

What is it you want to accomplish this year? Whatever those goals are (increase sales, profits, market share, staff, locations, etc.), write them down and make them public. Let your team know these are the goals. Keeping them in your head and to yourself is simply giving yourself permission to fail. Share them and make yourself accountable.

Once you have your goals, it is time for strategy. Look at what did and did not work last year and plan how you will build on your successes and change what did not reach your expectations. This takes time and is a blog for another day. But, when you get your initial strategy in place, write it down, as well. However, make sure to use a pencil and be prepared to adapt to challenges along the way.

Good luck! If I can help you in any of these steps, please let me know.

Your Guerrilla Marketer,
Rick Verbanas

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