There’s just a month to go until the year changes from ’23 to ’24 and, if you want next year to be an improvement on this one, it’s time to start planning. So, here are our 12 top tips to help you make 2024 your best year yet…
Commit time to working on the business
As the owner of a small business, it is easy to get lost in the business. There’s always something you need to do for your clients, your prospects or your team. Even more so if your business is just you. However, if you don’t spend time working on the fundamentals, you’ll struggle to make 2024 any different from previous years.
Therefore, it’s essential to schedule regular time into your diary to focus on the business as a whole. Ideally this time should be away from your day-to-day responsibilities, or at least away from your phone and laptop. Remove the distractions and you’ll use your time more effectively.
Know where you are now
For 2024 to become your best year ever you need to be clear on a few things. What do you have to achieve? How is your business performing in 2023? Was that better or worse than 2022?
Go through your accounts and your CRM to get the information and then set targets for 2024 for…
- of leads and conversion rate
- of clients
These are just some of the measures you can use for your targets, but you need to choose what will work best for you.
Focus on your Ideal Clients
Every business has clients they like working with and clients they don’t. We all work better and deliver better results for the clients we like (and who pay their invoices), so focus on attracting more of the clients you like.
Develop personas for these clients:
- Who are they?
- What is important to them?
- How can you help them?
- What does success look like?
- How can you get in front of them?
If your marketing is focused on the types of clients you like working for, it will attract more of them.
Get your messaging right – it’s not about you
Building on the previous point and being blunt: Nobody cares what you do as a business. They care about how YOU can HELP THEM. If your marketing starts with the word “we” you’re heading in the wrong direction.
Your marketing must demonstrate that you understand their pains, needs and issues – and that you can deliver a solution.
- Does your website’s home page talk about your business or your target audience?
- Is the first thing in your website menu the About Us page?
- Does the phrase “leading provider of…” appear anywhere on your website or marketing collateral?
If you say, “yes” to any of these (unless you can prove you’re the leading provider), you’re going to alienate people you can help.
Schedule marketing into your diary
We’ve talked about the feast and famine cycle in previous articles (see one of them here) because it can happen so easily. You do some marketing, sell some stuff and then get your heads down delivering what you’ve sold. While you’re delivering no marketing is done and then you wonder why you have no more leads and sales opportunities.
So, schedule time into your diary to ensure your marketing happens. Even if you have internal marketing staff or you use someone like us, you still need to dedicate time to marketing. Outsourced providers will need things from you, such as checking new content is absolutely correct or to discuss upcoming campaigns. So will your internal team. Don’t remove this time. You wouldn’t move a sales/client meeting, so don’t move your marketing time. It’s just as important as a sales meeting.
Make more noise
If you’re converting a decent percentage of your leads, but you want to grow your business more than last year, you need to generate more leads. That means either improving your marketing performance or doing more. If you haven’t measured your marketing performance recently, there’s a great tool here.
More marketing will require a bigger investment (in time or money). However, when it leads to more growth, it’s all good.
Talk to more people
Most small businesses get a big percentage of their leads through referrals. Having a stronger network is highly likely to generate more referrals and introductions for you. BUT that doesn’t simply mean more connections on LinkedIn. This only works with a quality network, rarely with a quantity network (see point 7 here).
And, with the acceptance of Zoom/Teams since the pandemic, there’s no reason not to regularly talk to people so you can maintain and grow your network.
When you get a lead through your website (or other online tools), get in touch with them as fast as you can. Pick up the phone and call them within 10 minutes and you have a far better chance of converting. More stats on lead response times can be found here.
Make sure that your Contact Forms don’t go into your Junk folder. If you aren’t the lead sales person in your company, make sure that person always has their email open. If your website is integrated into your CRM, can you set up a task that tells people a new lead has come in?
Marketing consistency is about frequency and quality. Keeping a regular flow of good quality marketing going out the door does three things:
- Maintains and increases brand awareness
- Proves you know what you are talking about
- Ensures your brand will be remembered when someone has a need for your services/product
If you do find yourself in a quiet period, use the time to create marketing content, collateral and campaigns, but don’t send it all out over a short period of time. Spread it out, so that you maintain consistency and take the pressure off when you’re busy.
Try new things. Perhaps try marketing channels that you’ve not used before. Maybe send campaigns out at different times to normal. You may be getting good results now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get better results by doing something different.
Keep a log of what you test, so that you know what works and what doesn’t.
The only way you’ll know if 2024 looks likely to be the best year ever is to keep measuring your performance. Your accounts will tell you whether the financial aspect is on target, but to achieve that side, you need the lead flow.
- Are you getting enough leads?
- Are they converting consistently?
- Are they your target audience?
- What marketing is most effective?
Keeping an eye on the numbers as you go through the year will allow you to adapt things if needed
As your business grows, the demands on your time will only increase. To maintain the quality all around the business, you’ll need support in the right places. If you’re a customer delivery expert, bring in back office help (marketing, accounts, admin etc.), so there are no issues in those areas. If you’re better in marketing/sales, perhaps an Operations person is what you need.
Remember, without this help things will suffer. Either your client delivery work will, leading to unhappy clients. Or your marketing will, which stops the lead flow and the growth you want.
Start the process now…
So, now is the time to act if you really want 2024 to be your best year so far. Start by working out what you want and what needs to happen to get you there. And, if we can help, call us on 020 8634 5911 or get in touch here.