As you begin to develop your business strategy for 2013, it's wise to first reflect on the prior year: Did you reach your goals? Did you achieve all your business objectives? What would you have done differently given the opportunity? Did your actual results match the goals/projections you set?
This is the first place to start when building your 2013 business strategy. Then, look at the goals themselves. Were your 2012 goals reasonable? Don’t set goals that are out of your reach. For example, if you grew sales 5 percent in 2012, don’t set a goal of 50 percent in 2013.
Your goals in 2013 should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Resolutions are similar to goals. They encourage and motivate us. Set your business goals six months ahead on the calendar in order to give yourself time to achieve them.
In 2013, resolve to:
1. Know your competition.
Become an expert on all of your competitors. The better you know them, the better you'll be able to compete.
2. Know your competitors' strategies.
Adopt strategies that make sense and improve on them— make them your own.
3. Know your competitors' promotional strategies.
Know the depth and frequency with which your competition promotes their products. Develop a strategy that will grow profitable sales and attract their customers.
4. Know the retailers you serve.
Understand their competition and the challenges they face. Work to help them remain competitive.
5. Become a trusted, value-added resource for your retail partners.
Become a category leader. Apply your passion to developing the best product to growing the category at retail. Your sales will increase as the category grows and the retailer will reward the support you give them.
6. Know your customers and your competitors' customers intimately.
Use this valuable information to develop a loyalty program that differentiates your brand and attracts new customers.
7. Commit to a loyalty strategy.
Engage your customers and get them talking about your product. Keeping the conversation going is the easiest way to develop a loyal following. Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook can accomplish as much if not more than some retailers targeted loyalty programs.
8. Lower your cost-of-goods-sold.
Develop strategies to improve and optimize your internal efficiencies. There are two ways to improve profits: increasing sales and reducing costs. Some businesses are so focused on the former that they overlook the latter.
9. Commit to working smarter not harder.
Develop an organizational strategy that keeps you on track and laser focused on your goals. Have a system to validate your results. A scorecard is a great tool to help you work smarter and accomplish more.
10. Be excellent in everything you do.
Don't allow yourself to make excuses. Commit to being the best at what you do and sales will follow.
What are your resolutions for the upcoming year? Share in the comments.