Reality Check 2013 for your Business: FIVE KEY Questions

Have you been transparent with yourself about your 2013 business results?

Are you seeing it like it is, or are you painting a rosy picture to make yourself feel better about spending so much time on social media, time which, if you are perfectly honest with yourself, may not have added anything to your business bottom-line?

Soon enough it’s midnight December 31, 2013, and you are eagerly looking forward with optimism to the New Year; you’ve already done your strategic planning right?

But unless you have taken an honest look at what worked, didn’t work (and more importantly), why, in the year about to end, your planning for the future will be out of sync with accomplishing your goals and meeting your objectives in the New Year.

Here are FIVE KEY QUESTIONS to ask, to start your 2013 reality check.
1 How do you rate your customer engagement?

This question can be taken several ways. Are you having positive or negative conversations with your clients or customers? Is more of your engagement positive? What percentage of clients that started doing business during 2013 are still with you, and will they continue into 2014? This can also be the loyalty ingredient; are your existing customers recommending you? How many recommendations do you get? Has this volume increased over the year?

Why is your customer engagement increasing, or decreasing, and what do you attribute this to? Find out! Then plan more/less of the same in 2014.
2 Are you getting your just desserts?

Are your marketing, PR and social media efforts paying off? Is your social media focus adding to your bottom line? Can you actually measure what is working and what is not? Is your payback only equal to your efforts, or are you in fact making a profit? Even the time you spend marketing on social media should be included in the cost of selling, because what many people fail to acknowledge is that your time on SoMe is not free!

So you spent 120 hours on twitter, FB and G+ in a particular month, and you made a $2500 sale to someone you met on one of your social platforms. That’s just over $20 an hour; well done, but is that what your time is worth, MBA and all?
3 Are you meeting your customer’s needs?

Your customer’s needs may have changed over the past year, were you able to flex with them? Even more to the point, are you still solving your customers problems or pain points? Customer development never stops.
4 What do you need to change and why?

How many of you will answer, “I don’t need to change anything”? Probably not many, as in today’s rapidly changing business environment, those who can flex the fastest to meet their customers changing needs are the ones still in business, making money and loving every minute of it!

So your ongoing success comes down to pinpointing what needs to be changed and why.
5 Do you love or hate your business?

I often hear ”I love my business but it’s getting harder and harder to deal with my customers”, or “it’s getting harder and harder to keep my customers”, or “harder and harder to find my customers”!

What does that tell you?

Maybe the business you first started is not the same one you are engaged in now! Either because your focus has changed, or your customer’s focus has changed. Perhaps it’s time for (another) complete business reality check!

Summary: When I’ve implemented an end of year reality check, I most often uncover key elements which are very helpful in designing my strategy for the New Year. Some of the decisions to be made moving forward are no so easy, however there is no time like the start of a New Year to delete the old and get on with something new.

Are there other KEY Questions that you ask yourself at the end of the year, which would be helpful to our audience?

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