It’s June and I have graduation on my mind. While thinking about the future is important, it’s equally important for small businesses to evaluate the past. In this case, the past six months. June is the annual halfway point and a good time to evaluate progress, challenges and opportunities.
Here are 10 things you can consider doing this month that will set the tone for the next 6 months:
Do mid-year performance evaluations. It is important to make sure that your team is on target for goals and that projects are moving along smoothly. A mid-year evaluation will give you and them an opportunity to address what’s going right, what’s not going right and most importantly how to make sure to get back on track so annual goals are not only met but surpassed.
Do a mid-year deep dive budget review. I’m a big advocate of knowing your numbers intimately (I like to get weekly stats), but if you’re not as fastidious as I am, a mid-year deep dive is a must.
- Are your revenues on target? Why? Or why not?
- Are your expenses on target? Why? Or why not?
- Celebrate the yesses and address the nos quickly!
A marketing review will yield very important information:
- Google analytics– how’s your website doing? Social media?
- We use Infusionsoft and it gives us reports on open rates, click rates and subscribe/unsubscribe information
- Take this time to map out June- December marketing themes. Stumped for ideas? Google is very helpful. You’ll find hundreds of ideas. The key for small businesses is to always bring it back to your expertise and provide solutions. (I found the graduation theme that led to this post by searching for June marketing themes.)
Are you going after new markets? A budget review and marketing review will give great insight on whether this is possible or even desirable at this time.
Client testimonials— happy clients are always happy to give testimonials if you make it easy for them. And the number one reason people don’t give testimonials? They are not asked for them. We always have good intentions after a particularly great meeting, project or exchange and then we get sidetracked and so do our good intentions. You can make it easy for clients by repeating their own words back to them and asking if you can quote them on your website.
Client surveys— this is another good way to get testimonials. Ask the question directly on the survey: what is the best thing about working with our team? Another golden question is to ask is what else would you like us to do or what else can we help you with?
Ask for client referrals— here again, we often forget to ask. A client that is referred to you is usually easier to work with, easier to retain and easier to satisfy than a brand new client because they have been pre-vetted. You know the maxim: the friends of my friends are my friends…
Evaluate your performance toward strategic plan goals. Are you like most people who have a strategic plan that you only pull out once a year? Look at it in June and make course corrections if you need to.
Consider instituting a corporate citizenship program and volunteering in your community. The summer months are often challenging for employees with small children. Consider a shorter work week with credit for volunteering at camps and non-profit organizations. Your employees will be grateful and this will be great marketing for your company. Post the activities on social media, write a press release, add it to your email signature – you get the picture! Bottom line, promote your communities ties and corporate culture.
Start planning end of the year celebrations for your employees and clients. It’s not too early to book a room, contact a restaurant or event planner and to start thinking about invitations. You should celebrate employees, clients and potential clients. Adding the latter is a smart move because your current clients will be your networking ambassadors. Another maxim that always holds true:
People do business with people they know, they like and that they trust.
The most successful business owners I know are constantly evaluating and redirecting and/or pivoting. Since June marks the six month point, it is the perfect is time to know if something is going to work, if it’s working or if it’s time to make some changes.