(As published in the Sunday Star Times and Stuff.co.nz, January 24, 2015 – read that here.)
I look back at 2015 and think that I am a little bit wiser than I was a year ago, mostly due to my experience with my business coaching clients.
Working with so many clients means I get to further my learning by seeing how they do business. Today I am going to share with you some of what the best businesses did… and also what the worst did.
Use them as a blueprint to consider for how you run your business and team in 2016.
1. Make sure you are truly passionate about what you do.
For example, I have a few sustainable or eco-focused clients where the owners are totally driven by making a difference in the world.
All of them have had exponential sales growth the past year. Yes, it is a growing movement in the world but I believe they are also successful because they do what they love and working doesn’t feel like “work”. If you feel like your business or job is your purpose, you’ll be more driven.
Lesson one: Make sure you truly enjoy what you do and if you don’t, start taking steps to move you closer.
2. Be focused on your progress – every week.
Setting goals is one thing but actually measuring your progress regularly is the most important aspect of hitting goals.
It’s one reason AccMe (accountability software) exists. Some businesses have no clarity on how they are going at any point in time. They might have some vague goal but have no idea if they are moving any closer to it.
Remember: it only takes one step forward every week to move closer to being what you could be. If you are not moving forward on a weekly basis, six months will pass before you know it and there goes your chance of hitting your goal.
The best companies are real-time focused and driven to reach and exceed their goals. If you reach focused goals every week, growth is inevitable.
Lesson two: Set a goal and then consider if you are moving forwards towards it, every single week.
3. Being well connected helps businesses immensely.
I heard Craig Donaldson (CEO of KEA) at the recent Nurture Change Business Retreat in Fiji advising, “Never make a cold call”.
You’ve got more chance of doing business with someone who has a common connection with you. Find that connection and get them to introduce you. We have three degrees of separation in NZ, so use it to your advantage.
And thinking globally, many Kiwis around the world are often willing to help connect you.
Lesson three: Be proactive to build your network as you can never know too many people in a business context. Then make the most of it by having genuine connections.
4. Create opportunities by generating leads and converting them.
I see business leads being wasted through poor presentation of product or services that won’t generate interest and a lack of follow-through with potential leads. Recently, a new client told me they contacted four business coaches and I was the only one who got back to them.
It’s crazy how businesses spend money on marketing and advertising and then just throw away potential new customers!
Lesson four: Make sure you look and act world-class in your field to attract leads and then do everything you can to convert them (a tip here is to add value early in the process and you’ll stand massively ahead of any competitors they might also be considering).
5. Be focused on customer retention.
Firstly, measure it. Secondly, and most importantly, have an early warning signal as to who is showing signs of not being happy. Once you identify them, get on the front foot and blow them away with how you look after them and by maximizing the positive impact of your service or product on them.
Lesson five: stop your customers leaving you by having a system that identifies any who are at risk and then blow them away to stop them in their tracks.
And what do the worst performing companies do? Their biggest downfall is not addressing what they should be sorting and prioritising in their business and sit on their hands instead.
They simply continue on doing the same things they’ve always done. For them, their standards of performance will never hit world-class level. These businesses accept mediocrity, but mediocrity in business means you will not be around in 5-10 years time.
Enjoy thinking on these tips and then watch 2016 flourish.
Do you struggle with any of these six things? Then talk to me about getting some help with your business strategy: email@example.com
Zac de Silva is an award-winning business coach who owns www.businesschanging.com and www.accme.co where you can sign up for regular business-thinking questions and build a prioritised action point list. He is co-founder of www.nurturechange.com, the Fiji business retreat in November 2016.
Love this. Thanks Zac.
Zac de Silva says
Thanks for reading, Meg! Hope things are going well with you!