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  • Writer's pictureAlex Johns


Updated: May 2, 2018

As the days become longer and slightly warmer brands and businesses tend to come out of their shells and do by their nature become more active ... plans will have been created to activate in the warmer months, the high street opens up with summer campaigns, start ups will find new chances to close fund raising deals as the new tax year begins to kick in and its that time of year to be generally more expansive.

But have you changed and evolved your business from this time last year? or is it just the same old, same old stuff you've done and tweaked lots of times before? Have you taken stock, stopped and thought about what you could be doing differently to make you more successful?

I think Spring is great time to have a bit of a spring clean and whilst the business operates its day to day, to find time to really analyze what's working and what's not and to throw out the stuff that is'nt and try out those which might. So here are a few things to try:

1. Interrogate your business - no matter how big you are?

Most businesses I deal with are pretty poor at this and now is the perfect time to assess how things are going? That doesn't mean looking at the numbers and comparing them year on year, it's deeply thinking about all areas of your business and getting your sleeves rolled up and seeing how things are going? Be brutally honest, heres 5 things to do right now:

1. Do you have a shop or restaurant - do you know your customers well enough - like deeply know their habits and trends, do you analyze it? do you make changes accordingly? if not why not?

2. Do you know what's selling and what's not, have you tried something new in the last month and tested it out? do you understand what offers are working and which are'nt, have you changed around your gondola ends, your windows, tested new signage, have you tried out a new and different experience to see if that works? This should be done weekly in any case.

3. Is your website up to date and are you selling your services via it & have you dived into the detail to see what's working and what's not? is all the marketing you planned doing its job, do you understand deeply what pages are working and which ones aren't? what are you doing about it to change it up and make it better? this will be linked obviously to facebook pixels, hotspotting, basket abandonement, content which engages and & doesn't, customer segmentation to ensure each content type is relevant etc etc There is lots here I could write ...

4. Have you refreshed the menu, the POS, the signage, the VM or decor to reflect the time of year? have you run an offer or promo or created a collab with a brand or a supplier to win new fans, if not do so, test and learn and try it out. Nows the time.

5. Is the service you provide the best it could be ... and if so how do you know? when was the last time you asked for feedback from your customers and how have you changed based on their comments? do it now and see what they say?

2. Are you a start up?

Have you been thinking about starting up a business or have you got a plan and are trying to get in front of some investors? now's the perfect time to do so but remember, be expansive when you meet them and think what they might want to see when you get there, here's a few tips:

1. Is your business plan beautifully presented? does it spell out what your business is and critically how it will make money and fill a void in the market? how many people have you showed it to before your investor meeting?

2. Can you visualise your business? its amazing how many times I see plans where this isn't the case and entrepreneurs complain when they don't raise? spend money in this area pre raise to bring your plan alive, investors are visual people!

3. Are the numbers deliverable? don't make them pie in the sky as this won't work? do you know how your business is going to make money? have you used an accountant to put them together and what insight are they based on?

4. Make the valuation correct? don't value your business ridiculously high as that kills most deals.

5. Have you got a mentor to sit on your Exec team? a business plan is invariably made stronger when there is an experienced exec team assembled who can bring real kudos to the offer, ideally the Non Execs will play a role in helping you build the plan out.

3. Innovate Now

2018 is the year to innovate ... what are you doing about it? this is so important and I see a lot of businesses not doing so because they don't have the experience or don't know how. Here's a few things to consider:

1. Your customers will almost certainly be engaging with your business via mobile - what are you doing about it to offer them something unique? have you tried mobile commerce via Instagram or Facebook? have you updated your social media program to be more engaging? do you use video to engage with your fans and if so why not ... its 8 times more engaging & impactful than static imagery?

2. Do you advertise or use social marketing to find new customers? do you link your web experience via social media to track visitor sessions? do you think your brand is doing enough here?

3. When was the last time you tried something new & innovated? there will be something in your business which could be streamlined via the adoption of a new way of doing things - Augmented reality, Warehouse management, ECRM to manage day to day ops better. Ask yourself the tough questions now and get into the detail, your time won't be wasted!

So as 2018 goes into the Summer months, don't let your business stand still doing another year like the last one, there will be another business like you doing it better, a competitor about to roll something out which could be an issue to your business ... grasp the nettle, look into your business with precision and then do something new, it will not be a waste of time. If you don't, someone else will and you will undoubtedly regret it.

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