We’ve enjoyed our summer vacations, gotten the kids back to school, and settled back into a familiar work routine. It’s time for what many businesses consider their busy season: the fall, winter, and spring months when we execute on our quarterly goals, fine-tune our annual plans, and assess our progress in the new year.
If you’re looking to grow your business this fall, it’s important to enter this busy season with a concrete strategy for success. Below we break down five strategies to maximize your results, performance, and productivity as we head into 2018 and beyond.
Reconnecting: We often think of past clients or customers as opportunities that have passed. In fact, your past clients may be one of your best sources of new business. Often clients’ own internal priorities or needs may have changed and they may find themselves needing your services once again. In other cases, past clients may have a current referral that they would like to pass onto you. Either way, reconnecting with your past clients demonstrates goodwill and professionalism on your part and may just rekindle a business relationship, too. This doesn’t have to be a fancy request—a simple note can go a long way.
Referring: In addition to past clients, we often take current clients for granted. We assume, sometimes mistakenly, that there is little room for improvement if they are content with your current relationship. Rather than making assumptions, be proactive and reach out to your current clients to assess what’s working and what’s not in your ongoing business. You can even ask them for a letter grade of your performance, as we do at CB. They may share insights that were unexpected and informative, helping you change your approach for the better. Reaching out to current clients also has the added benefit of allowing them to refer new business your way. If you never ask, your current clients may send related business elsewhere.
Expanding: This step requires a bit of creativity on your end but can often pay off in increased client satisfaction and an expanded scope of work. Many of your clients may be taking advantage of just one of your key services and may not be aware that you offer additional related services. This shouldn’t be seen as an opportunity for an upsell but rather an opportunity to extend your services into another area where your client may be struggling. They already trust you and know the quality of your work. You’ve both worked hard to establish a mutually beneficial relationship, so introducing them to new services that you provide should be a win-win for both sides. The same holds true for past clients, who might need exactly what you now offer.
Hiring: As you expand your referral and marketing efforts, it’s important to assess how well-placed your team is for success during the busy season. If you bring on new clients, expand the scope of work with existing clients, or gain a bevy of new referrals from past clients, is your team positioned to handle the increased workload? Do you have a sales team—and are they ready for an increased sales and outreach effort? If you’re unsure about either of these points, it’s good practice to review your existing organizational structure and ensure you’re fully staffed to accommodate both new growth and new strategies moving forward.
Streamlining: In addition to hiring new personnel and growing your internal team, it’s always good practice to assess how well your internal processes and workflow are performing. If your team is at full capacity currently, how are your employees handling their responsibilities? How is the organization coping as a whole? If you still have room for growth, is your internal workflow keeping up with the pace? How will it perform when it reaches maximum capacity? If there are areas for improvement or roadblocks that are holding back peak performance, now is the time to address them—before the busy season hits.
The next few months are full of potential and promise, especially if you strategize, plan, and manage accordingly. Following the five steps above will get you off to a good start in 2018 and might just save you time and money for many months to come.