Have you reviewed what you did right last year? Many of my clients are talking a lot about what they will do differently this year, but what are they going to continue to do because they did it well? That’s a question they haven’t spent much time on. I recommend the following:
Start with the tools and software you use. If you run a report out of your accounting program, or just make a list of what you have, which ones are no-brainers for renewal? Which ones do you have to upgrade because they are such an important part of your business you need the latest and greatest? And which ones are vital but can stay just the way they are?
Next, list the groups and memberships you have. Which meetings gave you value? For the ones that gave you direct monetary value, put those on the calendar right now for 2011. For ones you believe were valuable but don’t have numbers to back it up, be sure to know when they are and what you want to track to prove it next year. That way, your calendar will be populated in advance and you won’t ever scramble to make a meeting work because you didn’t have it on the schedule.
Which people helped your business the most? Figure out when you can do something for them to let them know. It may be a note or a recommendation on LinkedIn or could be a note to their boss. Something at a non-holiday time of year makes a lasting impression and really says thank you.
Review your service and / or product mix. Which ones were your best sellers? Often people think their best sellers are the things that take the most time or what their customers talk about the most but the reality is often different. Running the report can make a big difference.
Finally, you need to know who your best clients are. Time and again I talk to people about their client mix and when we run a report of percentage of business, there is always the one or two steady customers who never have complaints but pay a great deal of money every year that weren’t on people’s radar. Showing your appreciation to those customers goes a very long way in retaining them as well as encouraging them to give you referrals. After all, wouldn’t you love more customers like these?
Reviewing what went right in a given year is just as, or more important, than reviewing your mis-steps. After all, things you’ve done right are easily duplicated!