With holidays over, it’s time to gear up 2016 plans

By Jim Kendall

This column originally appeared in the January 11, 2016 Daily Herald

                We’re almost two weeks into the New Year and there’s been no call from me to you to get in gear with your 2016 plans. Until now.

There are things to be done – most of which, so you know, are underway at my own small business.

* You know how 2015 went, but take another look at what worked and what didn’t.

Dump the ideas that didn’t work. Maybe there’s a minor fix that, for example, can turn a poor sales campaign into a better one, but we’re looking for winners – not just something better.

Take the programs that worked last year and, if they mesh with this year’s goals, double down. You’ll likely need a tweak or two to adapt to inevitably changed circumstances, but ideas that generated sales and profits in 2015 likely will work in 2016.

You may want to talk to an outsider – perhaps a consultant, maybe your advisory board members – who will bring a different perspective that can be helpful.

* Do your top people know the business’ goals? They may be your management team, senior staff or Joe, Mary and Tess, but the people you count on should know where you want the business to go and when you want it to arrive.

Review ’15 with them. Share your 2016 goals. If you haven’t, get the go-to group’s input.

One advantage of making certain your top people are on board: They’ll be better able to take over so you can get away.

* Do you have the right people in the right places – or did you take your best salesperson out of circulation by making her sales manager? The same issue could be there with your production manager.

* Your business has its own strengths, differences that, if properly utilized, can be a marketplace advantage. How are you (1) strengthening those positives and (2) promoting the differences to buyers, referral sources and your own staff?

* Your website is part of the marketing-sales process, but it likely needs a separate look. Some new graphics may be enough, but look at your website as though you’re seeing it for the first time. Does the landing page grab your attention? Is it easy for a site visitor to find what she came to find?

Is there some type of call to action on every page? Even an email (with a link) for more information helps.

How does your site display on smart phones? Because half the web’s searches are made on phones, your site must be as impressive on a small cell screen as on a larger laptop display.

* Finally make a decision about social media. Talk with a social media expert about your opportunities – new tools come on line all the time – to make certain you’re using social media effectively.

This might be the year to bring someone with social media skills onto your team.


© 2016 Kendall Communications Inc. Follow Jim Kendall on LinkedIn and Twitter. Write him at Jim@kendallcom.com. Listen to Jim’s Business Owners’ Pod Talk at www.kendallcom.com/podcast.