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An (Almost) End-of-Year Survey

by Courtney S. Dade, CEO and Chief Strategist, CSD Marketing and Consulting, LLC

Getting down to business

We are approaching the end of the year. This is the time when people are getting prepared for their holiday sales season—for some businesses, the biggest source of income for their entire year. This is also a time when many business owners are starting to think about closing the books on 2021 and prepping for 2022.

Wherever you are in your regular business cycle, you must admit this past year has been anything but regular. That makes it a great time to reflect on what was, congratulate yourself for making it through, and consider what’s next. If you’re really focused on success and best practices, you might even do a little internal SWOTT analysis for your business—assessing your business’ strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities, threats, and trends.

Where you are

Notes in spiralbound notebook

It’s always good to check in with yourself on how you are doing. Where are you with your financial and operational goals? How effective is your social media strategy in creating awareness? Does your website succeed in converting awareness to interest? How well is your email strategy at moving people from interest to inquiry? And how do all of your processes, including your own interaction with potential clients, convert them from inquiry to sales?

In fact, it’s a good idea to recognize that there are probably two or three issues or processes that are foremost on your mind. It could be in the areas of finance, sales, or fulfillment, or some other area. But as small business owners and entrepreneurs, we must also consider these business issues in the context of home and family. Life balance. Of course, it’s necessary to work hard to achieve your goals. However, you also need to make sure that you have down time, me time, a life, or whatever you want to call it.

One thing

After you’ve made your short list of what needs your attention, it’s time to prioritize.  What is most critical for you to work on? What do you need to work on to accelerate your business? Is it a website redesign/SEO project? Or a revitalized email or social media strategy? Do you have money to devote to a budget? Do you have the skills and capacity to get it done?

Sometimes we have the know-how. Sometimes we have the money. And #goals are to have both. If not, maybe it’s a project we could research and figure out ourselves. I mean, that’s what the call of entrepreneurship is, isn’t it? But even if you have the budget and experience to get it done, if you have to do the planning and work yourself, it could have an enormous opportunity cost.

Opportunity cost covers the price for the actions and transactions we bypass, or the administrative and CEO-type work we gloss over or neglect altogether. It may not be a cost in current dollars and cents, but it is more than likely going to cost you a bundle down the road because you were spending time on something you could-a should-a delegated.

Turning plans into action

For all this thought to have been worthwhile, you need to back it up with action. Are you ready to take action to take your business to the next level? Hold on, there. I am as biased to action as the next person. Before you roll up your sleeves and start diving in, it’s time to think again. I must be aggravating some people with all my thinking. I’m not talking about delaying for months and creating paralysis by analysis.

I’m just suggesting you should write down where you want to be and work yourself back to present by asking yourself, “what needs to happen before you get to the endpoint? And what needs to happen before that? And before that?” If you do this simple exercise and record each answer in reverse order, you’ll determine how you’ll do it, who (if not you) will do it, how long it should take, and at what cost. Of course, I’ve oversimplified, but you get my drift.

Latina woman on laptop in home office

Final thoughts

Do you have 10 minutes to spare? I want you to do something for you, right now. I want you to click the link below for some serious me time. Think about you and your business, where you are, what you’re thinking about most intensely, what you need to work on, and how you’d go about working on it.

I encourage you to take those 10 minutes to weigh in on our survey and know that in doing so, you become eligible to win $100 cash via CASH APP or your choice of money apps. That’s right! One of our survey respondents will be randomly selected to receive a cash award. You can also request a copy of the cumulative results of our survey and find out what your fellow small business leaders are thinking about. Ready to get started? Here it is: Moving Forward 2022

 

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