Use 2013 to Make a New Start for Your Business
The following is a guest post. If you’re interested in submitting a guest post, please check our guidelines on our contact page.
I’m sure you’re well aware of some of the steps you can make to a fresh start, but while you’re probably focusing on things you can do in your personal life – be it stopping smoking or exercising more – I think 2013 presents a great chance to revitalise your business.
Whether your organisation has faced a difficult 12 months or you’ve experienced a surge in orders, it’s a good idea to use this year as an opportunity to market your organisation and raise your profile.
Of course, each business has different commercial aspirations and, depending on their particular circumstances, will have limitations in what they can do. As a general rule, however, I think incorporating the following resolutions into your yearly business strategy ought to stand you in good stead for 2013, regardless of the size of your company or the sector you operate in.
Offer new products and services
One great way for any organisation to kick off a fresh start is to launch new products and/or services. Whether you’re hoping to encourage existing customers to spend more with you or you’re looking to attract clients for the first time, expanding your offerings should provide scope to generate more income.
Even if you’re a well-established business whose current products are well received among a loyal audience, you should never rest on your laurels and assume your offerings will continue to be in high demand. In most cases, new products – even if they’re derivatives of existing lines – help to drive an incremental uplift in sales.
Conduct thorough market research to assess customers’ views on your current products and any prototypes. As an example, if you’re a school uniform supplier, you might find it’s a good idea to start selling children’s backpacks, sports equipment and stationery.
Reward customer loyalty
Rewarding regular customers ought to be high on the list of priorities for any business. Indeed, if someone – whether an individual or a corporate client – has shown particular loyalty to you over the past 12 months, it’s worth expressing your gratitude.
Of course, you should never assume that customers, even longstanding ones, will continue to stick with you in the year ahead, and you need to put in as much effort as possible to ensure you’ll retain them for the foreseeable future.
Two ways to do this are offering high-quality products and providing outstanding customer service, but it’s also worth sending clients a token of your appreciation as part of a customer retention programme.
This could take the shape of setting up a loyalty scheme that gives exclusive access to new products or sending out discount codes that enable people to get money off online purchases.
Alternatively, you might want to think about distributing promotional gifts. Whether you distribute these with a customer’s next order or just want to give someone a nice surprise, distributing promotional merchandise like promotional pens should provide recipients with a lasting reminder of your organisation, as well as your call to action and contact details should they want to get in touch.
Research carried out by the British Promotional Merchandise Association shows four-fifths of recipients of promotional items claim they are more likely to do future business with the organisation that sent them promotional gifts.
What are your business’s aspirations for 2013? Please post a comment and tell us!