Many small business owners are so busy taking care of the details of their business that they forget to pause, take stock, and reevaluate their business and marketing strategy. Take advantage of these cold winter months to plan ahead so you can dive into spring with a clear plan of action for your company. But first, it’s a good idea to write down your goals for your business, both tangible (sales, personnel, costs) and intangible (morale, company reputation). Use the checklist below as a guide to help you decide what pieces of your strategy need some tweaking or a complete overhaul to help you reach those goals.
- Do we need to make adjustments to our product line? Are there any new products or services to launch?
- Do we need to expand my geography or alter our distribution channels?
- Do we need to make price increases this year?
- Do we need to cut expenses this year? What areas should be targeted?
- Are we happy with our current suppliers? Are there cheaper solutions?
- Should we attend any conventions or conferences this year for sales/networking purposes?
- Are we doing a good job of reaching our target audience?
- Should we keep our current advertising messages or do we need to reevaluate?
- Should we conduct seasonal campaigns, such as Summer Savings or Back to School specials?
- Do we need to make any changes to our advertising budget?
- Where should we shift our money? (Evaluate TV, radio, newspaper, billboards, direct mail, coupons)
- Are we effective in our online marketing strategies? Do we need to alter our campaign message?
- Do we need to make any changes to our online marketing budgets? (Evaluate PPC, email campaigns, social media)
- How are we doing with our Social Media campaigns? In the coming year, what topics should we post on Facebook, Twitter, blog, or Google +?
- Does our website need updating? Do we need to add any content, including videos, tutorials or customer testimonials? How are we doing on SEO?
- Does our sales staff need training? What is the timing and content for training?
- Is our sales incentive plan working? Are our people happy?
- Do we need to do any hiring this year? Where should we recruit?
- Should we hire a summer intern? What projects would be appropriate? Where should we recruit?
- Do we need to hire temporary staffing for the summer months?
- Do we need to conduct any kind of customer feedback survey?
- Does our company need to engage in any online reputation management?
- How are we doing with online reviews versus the competition?
- Does my company have a good reputation in our community? Are there community events that we should get involved in? (Summer festivals, fall or holiday events, fundraising, sponsorships)
- Are there community-networking groups we should join such as a local Chamber of Commerce?
Once you have created your laundry list of “to do’s”, prioritize them in terms of urgency and lead-time. For example, if you decide to reevaluate your marketing tactics, you will need to get moving on this quickly as these often take longer to execute. It may be time to call on a professional marketer to give you guidance. The Price Group specializes in marketing for small businesses and would be happy to review your current promotional plan and company goals and suggest any revisions in your marketing plan to reach those goals.
If you’ve run through this checklist carefully, you will know where to focus your time and energy in the coming months. Before you know it, spring will be here and you will be ready to go!