The New Year is a time of renewal, a time to refocus, re-energize and rediscover the things we love about entrepreneurship – and most importantly, it’s a great time for your business to hit the ground running with revitalized sales and marketing efforts. If your sales have been sluggish, if your marketing has grown stale, or even if things are going well but you want to take your startup’s success to the next level, here are a few key tips and to-dos for how to start the New Year off right:
Review results from the previous year
Start 2019 by taking a look at last year’s results. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What worked, what didn’t and what could improve?
- Did you lose any big clients or accounts?
- Did you try some new marketing channels that didn’t pay off?
- What were the biggest sources of your business success?
- What were your best-performing times of year?
- How can you do more of the good stuff while cutting back on the laggards?
Business success is not random or based on luck; unless you’re exceptionally lucky or in an industry that is highly chaotic and subject to the vagaries of the market, you really do have the power to chart your course and capitalize on your strengths.
Check in with current clients
This doesn’t have to be a highly formal or regimented process, but you should start the year by touching base with your current customers. See how they’re doing, thank them for their business, and ask how you can be a bigger part of their success in the year ahead.
Depending on what you sell and what kind of relationships you have with your clients, you might want to ask them to fill out a survey, or schedule a personal 30-minute call or presentation to talk about developments for the year ahead.
Your current clients might assume that everything is “business as usual” unless you proactively talk to them and ask for more business. Big opportunities for the year ahead might open up simply from some casual conversations with your existing customers.
Ask them: “How can I be a bigger part of your business in the year ahead? How can I do more with you? What do you need?” And go from there.
Check in with former clients
On the flip side, along with reconnecting with your current clients, the new year is a great occasion to revisit some of your former clients who have gone silent or lost touch. Who are some customers that you haven’t talked to in a while, and why? Often these “old clients” fall away because they just don’t need the same services that you offer, or perhaps because the timing wasn’t right to buy from you.
Check in with them and get organized. You might be surprised at how often a former client is eager to hear from you and is willing to begin the sales conversation again. Sometimes getting back in touch with “former” clients turns them into “current” clients.
Set a big goal for the year ahead
Aside from big picture sales goals like revenue and growth, give yourself a big audacious goal for what you want to accomplish with your business in the new year. This could be anything from “I want to be a guest speaker at an industry conference” to “I want to read a new business book each month” to “I want to self-publish a book.”
Depending on what industry you’re in, your goals may vary. But the start of the year is a great moment to really dig deep, take a breath and challenge yourself to do something spectacular.
Try something new
What is one new thing that you want to try this year? Whether it’s a new marketing tactic, working with a new vendor or experimenting with a new platform or tool, try it now. Start the year off with something new and you can bring that positive energy into your business throughout the rest of the year.
There’s nothing magical about the New Year, and often people put too much pressure on themselves to change their entire lives with resolutions or excessively aggressive goals. But if you break that energy into manageable steps, you can make big progress in your business. By starting with a simple to-do list and putting focused effort into a few key areas, you can get your startup’s sales and marketing goals off to a great start for the year ahead.