It’s a brand new year, and it’s natural to be looking for ways to make this year bigger and better – so here are 16 things to do for you and your business in 2016.
1. Evaluate what happiness and fulfilment looks like for you – In 2016, your life can be however you want to design it. You can have a lifestyle business that fuels your creativity and contribution, or you can build a dynamic fast-growth performance business. Either choice is valid so long as you are conscious about which you choose.
2. Select a micro-niche and own it – Being a generalist business in 2016 is a terrible idea. Aim to own a tiny little niche then pivot to a slightly bigger one. Niche-pivot-niche-pivot-niche your way into the size of business that you’re seeking.
3. Employ people – I’ve heard all the arguments for outsourcing everything and having virtual assistants managing the aspects of your business. It doesn’t work. The best businesses have a core team of people who make the business come alive. My belief is that you aren’t a proper entrepreneur until you’ve got a team and the rewards are awesome for getting it right.
4. Outsource more stuff – The people you employ should be empowered to find virtual staff who they can outsource to. The trick is to be able to increase the speed an idea can become “market-ready”.
5. Have a high-end offering – All the money has moved up to the top 10% of the population and a small group of people have a very high budget to get their needs met. In many cases it’s easier to sell a £5K package to a high-end client than a £500 package to the middle income market. Take your most expensive product and multiply by 5 – launch something at that price.
6. Do more for free – Your business needs to entertain or educate people for free. Not just a little bit, you need to give people at least 7 hours of content before they really fall in love with your brand.
7. Whatever you do, you’re also in media – I don’t care if you run a hair salon, a consultancy or a high-tech drone business, you also need to become better at creating the media that tells your business story. You need lots of video, downloads, reports and audio content.
8. You are also an IT business – in addition to the media you’ll also need to be more tech savvy. You need data – lots of data. You need systems that do heavy lifting for your business. you need client portals. You need stuff for mobile, for desktop and for tablet. You need dashboards. And more.
9. Start measuring “Revenue Per Person” – Take the total sales your company makes (revenue) and divide it by the number of full-time (equivalent) people in your company. That number needs to be higher.
10. Have more sales meetings – People think that media and technology results in sales – it doesn’t. It only helps your business create relationships with people who are receptive to a conversation.
11. Re-think your sales approach – Inauthentic sales conversations are dead (hooray!). Forget the “porcupine close” the “hot potato technique” or any other slimy sales speak you’ve been taught in the 2000’s or earlier. Have real conversations with people the way you’d talk to a friend or a family member. Most importantly, if your product isn’t right for someone be the first to suggest the person does NOT buy it.
12. Export – It’s a big, wide world out there and it’s never been easier to open up your business to customers in other parts of the world. This might mean selling products that ship, consulting to people over Skype or it might even mean setting up an office in a foreign country.
13. Feel small and out of your depth – Spend more time with people who stretch your thinking. Hang out with people who have a business 5-10 times bigger than yours. Do something that feels like a stretch. Take a risk with your creativity and your finances.
14. Fail at something – If you aren’t failing, you aren’t really trying.
15. Start scheduling 2-3 years in advance – While you are thinking about 2016 extend your thoughts through 2017 and 2018 too. Schedule some events, new product launches, a book launch and training programs to attend. Get yourself a big wall chart for the next three years and start planning goals that take several years to achieve. You can change things if your priorities change but at least you’ll have a back-up plan based on your current best thinking.
16. Block out your holidays NOW! – This year will go by so fast and you’ll always have work to do; don’t leave your holidays to chance. If you know you’ll function better after a week on the beach, put it in the diary now and book the flights while they are cheap. Schedule your holidays for the coming few years even.