Top 3 Holiday Tips for Business Owners

The good thing about the world shutting down for the holidays is that you'll have some time to re-evaluate what you did in 2009. You can take action to address your marketing plans, strategies and your business in general for 2010. 

Every business owner/CEO can benefit by spending a little time on these 3 Tips and taking action NOW for your success in 2010: 

1.    Budget

2009 was a tricky year because most budgets became obsolete quickly, driven by the economy. Budgeting involves making assumptions about how next year will be different than last. Ask yourself:  

What are sales going to look like each month for next year? Its hard to predict things, but write down your assumptions on why you think this or that will happen, so you don't go back later and wonder why you budgeted sales that way. Take a hard look at your alliances and business partners. Are you getting the most out of them? What can you do differently in 2010 that would increase your sales? 

What is the best case, worst case, and realistic case for sales, capital expenses, software and tools, and operating expenses. 

How is your process for budgeting going to be different in 2010? Are you using a rolling budget cycle that you pay attention to monthly, quarterly, or even weekly? If not, set that up so you keep looking into the future as dynamics in your market change.

Look hard at your costs to see if they make sense. If the numbers don't make sense to you, get some help figuring out the story behind the numbers.

Do you have the right employees on board?


2.    Customer Focus

What percentage of time did you spend with your customers or prospects in 2009? If it's less than 60%, figure out what needs to change starting in January 2010. I realize us business owners wear many hats, so which hats can you give up to spend more time with your customers? If you answer, "None of them, I do it all" then 2010 will probably look a lot like 2009 or worse.

How often do customers and prospects get multi-touch communications from your company? Make specific plans to leverage all the ways you CAN communicate with them.

Look at your technology and systems. Prioritize your budget to ensure you expand your tools so your employees and sales people can perform at their highest levels.  

3.    Strategies

Write down in detail who is your ideal customer. Don't hold back on things like these for B2C:

  • Demographics
  • Income range
  • Location
  • Lifestyle
  • How do they feel when they get the benefit from your products/services?
  • Why do they feel that way?
  • What do they envision will be better in their life after they use your product?
  • Male or Female/Single, Married, with kids.

 For your B2B customers:

  • What business they are in?
  • Who are their ideal customers?
  • How easy are they to do business with and why?
  • What do they feel when they buy your products and gain benefit from them?
  • Why do they feel that way?
  • What do they envision will be better in their life after they use your product?
  • What type of people are they and do they match your values?
  • Can you become their trusted advisor?
  • Who pays you the fastest?

There may an ideal customer for each of your business lines or product lines. When you share that with everyone in your company, they can focus on finding and servicing the good ones. Figure out which customers are a drain on your resources and send them to your competitors.

Strategic planning is an ongoing process, not just a binder that sits on the shelf. Its used internally to drive decision making. Make the decision to review and update your strategic plan at least quarterly in 2010. If you don't have a strategic plan, get facilitated help. Doing this right will give you clarity and direction to crank up your company's velocity of growth in 2010.

Take positive action over the holidays and focus on budgeting, your customers, and your strategies. 2010 can your best year ever.  Otherwise you'll look back at 2010 and wonder what happened, as more surprises will be in store for your company.

Every day CxO To GoTM helps Owners/CEOs accomplish greatness regarding these topics and more. Call us if you'd like to have the same type of trusted advisor relationship with us. 303.995.4523.