Make a Difference in 2013!

At this time of year it is natural to reflect on your annual performance and set personal and business goals for the upcoming year.

The question is what kind of results do you want to create for yourself and your business? Do you have customers coming back for more of your product or service? Do you have a set of ideal customers you want to cultivate? Are your business processes in control and capable of producing what you and your customers require on a continuous basis?

The demands of today’s business environment have caused many of us to shift our approach from thinking as a professional to acting as an entrepreneur. Avoiding past mistakes and taking the time to plan your next moves can make the difference between an exceptional year, and a mediocre year for you and your organization.

Being Generic. Do you act, look, and sound like your top competitor? Sales material, customer approach, support center processes, website content, all similar? Look for an edge that breaks you away from the rest of the herd.

The Emperor with no Clothes. How deep are your relationships with your top customers? Can they identify beyond normal business practices how your value to them increased from last year? What types of evidence would they reference? Don’t ever take the crown jewels for granted, your competition is lurking.

Failing to turn your Customers into a Sales Force. Your customers can become your largest asset for customer referrals. It is much easier and cheaper to keep in contact and query your current customers, than for example cold calling.

Putting a Square Peg in a Round Hole. How much time did you spend on sales and marketing actions that didn’t produce results? Is your sales force making promises you can’t keep, or not fully understanding the capability of your business processes?

Same Stuff, Different Day. Are you still marketing yourself the same way you did last year, five years, ten years ago? Which of your marketing decisions drove bottom line increases and what didn’t? Look around your industry, and seek the difference!

Become a Renowned Expert. Successful business people spend their time developing their reputation. They don’t just rely on their business to sell themselves. They use tools to sell themselves and their products – speaking, writing, attending seminars/tradeshows, joining and contributing to professional and community associations.

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