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Driving Action in Your Business

Written by Nigel Browne on .

In my last blog, we explored the importance of revisiting your business vision

(See) reacquainting yourself with your ‘why,’ and creating a financial forecast (Plan) to map out how to achieve your vision.

The vision is the what and the forecast the how. Now it’s time to identify some key actions. So, it’s back to SPAM!

In this blog, we will look at Action and Measure in more detail.

Action

From your vision, you may have identified that to create your desired revenue, you need new customers, which could be one of your first actions. Now delving into that a bit deeper, what type of new customers do you want? Where do you think these customers will come from? For example, they could come from word-of-mouth recommendations, offers and promotions, or a new marketing approach. This is where your marketing strategy becomes so important.

As a business mentor, guess how many businesses I talk to that have NO marketing action plan in place? It’s about 90%! Staggering, isn’t it? How on earth can you grow your business if you have no idea how or where you’re going to market it?

What’s that age-old saying – fail to plan, plan to fail? The main advantage of a marketing plan, or any plan for that matter, is that planning compels action! One of the main benefits of having a business mentor is that it also creates action for your business.

When it comes to your action plan, it pays to be selective. I recommend no more than four or five key actions to focus on. Having too many steps will detract from what’s critical for your business at that time, and there’s less chance you’ll commit the time and energy to get them completed. Once you’ve completed your first four or five actions, remember that there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from going back to your action plan and defining your subsequent important steps, and so on.

One of my favourite phrases is “what gets measured gets done”, so remember to set a clear deadline for your actions and the steps needed to achieve your goals. This will help to keep everyone involved motivated and onboard.

Measure

On that point of “what gets measured gets done,” businesses need to measure certain things in order to understand how the business is performing, and to then feedback into the loop of plan and act. Businesses will usually calculate and measure turnover and profit, but these are only the RESULT of the things that you have done. So wouldn’t it be better measure the things you actually DO to CREATE that turnover and profit?

A word of warning on this subject, if you measure too many things, you run the risk of “paralysis by analysis,” where you have lots of data, but it’s difficult to see the bigger picture and clarify where you need to act. Concentrate on measuring what matters and what affects your business result.

Here are some examples of the things you could measure:

  • Number of enquiries
  • Conversion rate of enquiries into sales
  • Average spend
  • Customer retention
  • Gross margin

Another essential metric is your marketing budget as a percentage of sales. It would be great if every business had a bottomless pot of money to market themselves, but that’s not the real-world. By understanding your target audience and finding the best marketing channels to attract more like them, you can make the most of your marketing budget. But one of the biggest mistakes I see business owners make is starting a marketing campaign BEFORE checking their conversion rate. Don’t spend more money on marketing until you are sure you’ve got a very good chance of converting those new enquiries. So check out your customer journey and maximise your conversion rate first.

Let’s use the analogy of a car as in the previous blog. Your car dashboard measures the performance of certain things (fuel water, speed, oil etc.), so you can constantly keep an eye on how your car is doing and can take corrective action if there are any warning signs.

It’s the same with your business, keep a close eye on what keeps it moving forward and take corrective action if you start to see warnings that it’s veering off course.

Book your complimentary mentoring session

Another M for you to think about is MENTOR! If you would like to have a completely free, no-obligation 90-minute consultation with me to discuss your business in more detail, give me a call. As a business mentor and coach based in Somerset, I support small businesses throughout the South West of England, including those based in Bristol and Bath. So, give me a call and let’s get started!

Nigel Browne
Director & Business Mentor
Bristol & South West

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