No I’m not wishing away the next three months but what do you wish to achieve before the new year?
Do you want to raise your business profile on Linked In, get more Twitter followers or start to generate ideas to increase sales? However you wish to engage with your customers and potential customers, developing and writing a plan is the best way to go about it.
I find the autumn a much better time of year to start planning ahead than January. It’s warmer to start with and you’re more likely to have money in your pocket. Hopefully you’re refreshed, ready to give your business an extra boost in the final quarter. Three months is an ideal chunk of time to make great progress in achieving your aspirations. It may be a small one-off project or be part of a larger strategy, completing some of the individual tasks within it. Whatever it is, it’s worth putting the time in now that will pay off by the new year.
Planning is important in all aspects of your business but all too often at networking events I feel that the communications strategy (the plan to get your business in front of as many potential customers as possible) has been left out. It’s the tasks people know they should do but always gets pushed to the bottom of the to do list. There always seems to be something more important. Running my own business I know the pressures of working for numerous clients, ensuring their work is completed first. And that’s before I’ve made sure I’m on top of the accounts and the money is flowing into the bank account.
Implementing a communications plan is just as important.
Developing a communications strategy can provide clear direction for your business
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The autumn, like spring, is a key time of the year when the event calendar explodes with exhibitions, conferences, workshops or seminars. Whether attending or sponsoring at these events they all provide ample opportunity to get your business in front of customers. Face to face time is one of the best ways to gauge what customers really think about your business, understanding what they are saying and not saying about it.
So, if like me you will be attending a few events over the next three months have you developed your plan of attack? Will you need additional marketing materials to hand out, does your website need updating with your current products and services or is this the time when really get to grips with your Twitter or Facebook feed? By developing a work plan for the weeks leading up to the event, during and after it, you can ensure you maximise the best out of the opportunity. Without doing so is it really worth spending the time out of the office?
Today there are more ways to engage with your customer than ever before. Alongside the traditional face to face networking and printed materials, the internet and social media tools have created a new world in which to operate. It can be overwhelming, particularly with the speed new technology develops, and understanding how each works and the potential benefits to the business. You’ll need to find out where your customers are hanging out before starting to communicate with them and to do so in an ordered manner takes planning which is more productive in the long-term.
Developing a communications strategy will give a clear indication of where your business is going, help identify any potential risks and help you realise your aspirations.
Consider this list when developing your plan of what you wish to achieve by 2018:
- Write it down
- Set meaningful goals
- Act SMART – make sure your targets are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely
- Break down large projects into small bite-sized chunks
- Monitor your progress
Make sure you make the last three months of the year count.