Guys, it’s almost 2018.
What happened? Weren’t we just counting down the days until summer? It’s -6 degrees outside (-20 with the wind chill factor) as I write this, and I’m feeling a little robbed!
Either way, it’s time to look ahead to 2018, and that means setting some new goals. At this point, you should have a pretty good idea of where your business stands in terms of your vision for 2017. Now is the time to evaluate what worked, what didn’t, and adjust the sails for the coming year.
I’ve never been a huge fan of new year’s resolutions. Mostly because I could NEVER keep them, but also because they can cause us to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to “be good” and not break the promise we’ve made to ourselves. That being said, I don’t play around when it comes to my money, so in collaboration with some of my current clients, allow me to share with you a list of some of the resolutions we’re making for ourselves and our businesses as we look toward 2018. Feel free to borrow them for your own biz, and if you have any you’d like to add, drop them in the comments!
-I will charge what I am worth. It can be easy to think that, in order to stand out in the marketplace and earn new customers, we have to undercut our competitors’ prices. It’s natural. We know people are on a budget, and we know that everyone loves a good deal. Here’s the problem with allowing that mindset to dictate your pricing structure: It may work in the short-term, but it is not a sustainable way to establish and grow your business. You will create customers who refuse to pay the retail price for your product or service. You eat into your profit margin, which means you must sell even more in order to achieve your sales goals. Potential customers become conditioned to expect a discount, and will wait to buy or look elsewhere until one is offered. Research your competition, especially those in your local area. Find an average, fair price for what you do/sell, and price your offerings according to the value and quality of your product. Don’t be afraid to charge what you are worth, and stick to your guns here. Ratcheting your prices down or offering deep discounts can cause your current, retail-paying clients and customers to question their purchases.
-I will make networking a priority. As much as we wish we could build an entrepreneurial empire all by ourselves, it’s only through the relationships and partnerships that we cultivate that we can see real, LASTING growth. Find people within your industry, locally or otherwise, and talk to them. Don’t sell at them, don’t grill them about how they do business. Simply share experiences, talk about industry trends and news, or ask about collaborating with them. Even if you work within the same exact commercial sphere, you will inevitably have different audiences, and by connecting on a genuine level with other entrepreneurs and businesses within your industry, and in industries that compliment your own, you build a network of referrals and amplify your message beyond your own audience.
-I will simplify my business. One of the biggest mistakes new business owners make is falling into the trap of believing that they need to offer as many products or services as possible, and that growth and sustainability will come via diversifying their offerings. While this may be the case for some, it's very rarely so for new businesses. Do a handful of things, and do them better than anyone else in your field. Once you've established yourself as an authority and well-respected brand in your industry, THEN you can explore new products and services, because you'll have an eager audience of fans just waiting for your next big release. Diversifying too soon or over-diversifying can dilute your brand and the quality of your product.
-I will diversify my business. Conversely, some business owners get so comfortable in their own little corner of their industry that they miss the opportunity to branch out and diversify their products and services. One you have an established, quality brand, don't be afraid to try some new things out on your audience. They will let you know if it's a hit or a miss, and once you find something new that works, you open up a new audience that you weren't interacting with before. Business is about calculated risks, and you'll miss the boat if you don't bother to leap once in a while!