As 2013 comes to a close and Christmas cheers start rolling in thick and fast, we ask three experts how to best prepare your business (and yourself) for the year ahead.
Compiled by Lauren Arena
Digitise your business.
Increasingly your customers are doing their due diligence digitally – from Google to social networks – via ever-improving smart phone screens. This means that you need to ask yourself which brand touch points and customer service interactions you should digitise, and which ones you shouldn’t. Ask yourself whether your digital and analogue brand touch points stack up and are aligned – can customers seamlessly switch between multiple channels? If not, make sure you start investing in a seamless brand journey between the digital and analogue worlds.
Customers taking matters into their own hands.
Literally. Australia has one of the highest mobile adoption rates in the world, and it’s not only early adopters and innovators who are mobilising and monitoring your brand and services online. In your push to go digital, make sure your digital communications are mobile optimised. Invest in great mobile designs, and get out in front with marketing channels that literally sit in the customers’ back pockets.
Turn Big Data into Rich Data.
In an age of abundant choice, the customer is increasingly promiscuous in their choice of providers and vendors. Thus loyalty schemes and VIP service is critical. Make sure you incentivise your customers to keep buying from you and in the process, ensure that you capture their purchase and buying patterns to build insights and knowledge about your core clientele.
Don’t throw the analogue baby away with the digital bathwater.
Most likely your business has built up personal relationships, awesome face to face trust, and deep human loyalty. In your rush to focus on the shiny new penny of the digital world, ask yourself which analogue touch points offer you a competitive advantage and should perhaps be amplified via your marketing channels. Whatever differentiators you have in the analogue world, keep wearing your analogue heart on your sleeve and reach out to customers who cherish it.
Customers’ rational minds might increasingly be digitised, but their hearts are enduringly analogue and emotional. Digital is phenomenal for attracting new prospects and for transferring information. Analogue, traditional channels are great for retaining established clientele. So ensure you offer more informational value to our rational minds via digital channels, but also keep offering great experiential value to our emotional hearts to build enduring loyalty. Go Digilogue in 2014.
Get in the mood:
The culture we create in our homes and personal lives permeates into our business. Wake up early every morning and get outside, take a walk or run. This activates the mind and body and provides a mood and body boost. The sun changes the biochemistry of the body to set you up for the day, without this activation you can often remain listless and drowsy.
Take a moment to write down 10 things you are grateful for in your life. When we begin to concentrate on what we are grateful for instead of everything we don’t have or don’t like in our lives then we create a positive energy. This can continue throughout the day in our thoughts, maintaining a good, constructive attitude.
Eat a breakfast made of real foods to sustain the body and mind throughout the day. Breakfast cereals and toast are not the way to start the day, they increase blood sugar then drop it sharply and you find by 10.30am you need another sugar hit. By consuming proteins like eggs, nuts and seeds you not only keep your blood sugar stable but you increase dopamine in the brain which helps with brain activity and enduring physical energy.
Plan your day, week, even the entire year with written objectives and plans. I usually have a lot to achieve in a day and when I have a plan more is achieved. I always plan two years ahead and by doing so I don’t get too upset with some of the hurdles I have to get through before reaching the ultimate goal.
Limit screen time:
Spend your evening away from screens. Prepare a healthy meal and communicate face to face with family and friends, then get to bed early. Screens (TV, computers and smart phones) have become a way of life, but the light of the screens in the eyes, especially at night, can change the sleep patterns and biochemistry of the body.
Look behind you:
If you’re going to start the New Year with a bang, then it’s important to reflect on the previous year. Many people recommend you look at areas that didn’t work so well so you can find ways to improve. While that’s important, I think it’s more beneficial to look at what did work well so you can repeat and perhaps even better it. Celebrate your victories.
Act like a football World Cup commentator and shout it out. It’s all about goals. Set them. Go against the flow a bit and make sure they are ‘unattainable’ – not ridiculous, but bigger than what you would normally set. If you set a goal to increase your business by 10 per cent, you’ll work out ways to do that. But if you set your goal at 100 per cent, your strategies will be completely different. Even if you only reach 80 per cent, you’re still eight times better off than you were with the safe option.
Break it Down:
When your goals are large they can be daunting, so break them down. The first level is to create strategic ways of achieving your ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. You’ll run these through the entire year. Next come projects, which will run for around 90 days. You can then break these down to activities, which can be set on a daily basis. The idea is to keep all these factors aligned, that way when you complete the day-to-day activities, you know they are helping you to achieve your goals.
Do some omphaloskepsis:
No, I didn’t lose a bet and now have to include the most obscure word of the day. Omphalos means navel, and skepsis, to look at. So use your time at the beginning of the year to do some contemplation. What is it that you love doing? How can you set up your life and your business so that you do more of it? Set your goals to include your passion. Schedule it in. Schedule a proper date-night with your partner at least once a month and treat it like any other appointment, that way you’ll keep it… and you’ll thank yourself when you look back in 12 months time.
Get up and get going:
If you’ve done your planning well, you know it’ll be easy to get started. Goals aren’t so daunting if you break them down into easy-to-achieve activities. Choose one and do it. Once you get the ball rolling, the momentum will keep it going. And have some fun. The more you and your team enjoy yourselves, the more you’ll achieve. Loosen up, enjoy what you do and each others’ company and remember to celebrate all those little victories. Remember, if you’re climbing Everest, you’ll want to celebrate arriving at each base camp along the way. m