The first week of August we dedicate a few hours, here at ACTION, to do a 6 month business review. The purpose is to take a close look at our business, where we are and what we need to do to hit our revenue goals for the year.
I must admit, this is not necessarily fun for me. Carving the time for it it’s not easy, especially with the workload the team is managing these days. But the benefits are crystal clear, we always feel energized by this activity and improvements happen right away. Incomplete marketing projects projects come to life, activities that don’t work get ditched, and internal processes are improved.
If you want to perform such review for your company, which I highly recommend, here are the 6 steps we follow:
1) Clarify The Purpose of The Review.
This might seem obvious, but when a bunch of creatives get in a room, ideas start to fly in every direction and it’s easy to go off the tangents. At least it was the case for us. So we now start by stating the purpose of the review, reminding ourselves we’ll be evaluating our business performance, the goals we want to achieve, and planning the next 3 months of activities.
2) Review Alignment of Your Company’s Mission, Vision and Values
This is helpful because it provides direction of your marketing activities and campaigns, especially when evaluating “brilliant” marketing ideas. It becomes easy to identify those that fit our business and those that don’t.
3) Perform a SWOT Analysis.
Next, list your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This is important because we tend to live isolated lives as a business, and more often than not, we don’t pay much attention to any of those things. This means we are unaware of our business position in the marketplace and how we can effectively compete. Knowing them makes a big difference in making the right business decisions that will lead to success.
4) Customer Personas
You should have a target audience description that includes the type of companies you want to work with and the person you will be dealing with within those companies. If you don’t, create it, if you do, review it and adjust as necessary.
5) The Marketing Activities
Now is time to determine and plan the marketing activities for the next 3 months.
• First off, take a look at the activieits you’ve implemented so far and the results. Can improvements be made for better results? Are some total failures and need to be ditched?
• The unfinished projects: we all have those. Great ideas we started working on and set aside in the procrastination bin. For us at ACTION this was our newsletter. We do that for our clients but couldn’t get around doing our own. So we looked at what we needed to do to get it rolling and it turned out to be very little, it was a matter of assigning a handful of responsibilities and scheduling it, and we finally launched it!
• One high level marketing effort you need to start. Maybe it’s a new website, a rebrand, a specific promotional campaign for a niche you want to focus on. Start working on the first – or next – 3 steps
How much will you set aside to invest in your marketing? This is different for every business. But as a rule of thumb, the more unknown your company is, the more you’ll need to invest and the longer it will take to see results. So it boils down to a balance between what you can afford and the costs of the marketing necessary to take you where you need to be.
Running a business takes a lot of work, and some of it is not fun. But reviewing where you are in your business is key to building a profitable business. Setting time aside to work on your business ensures you are going in the right direction and make adjustments as needed.
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