Bootcamp For Your Business

bootcamp-for-business

In just ten weeks, this year that has brought us both good and bad times will come to an end. With the new year quickly approaching, I have these three questions to ask you: Are you ready? Is your business ready? And, do you have a plan in place to make sure next year is much better than this one?

I know it sounds crazy to have this conversation in October, but with November just one week away… time is flying fast. As we work diligently, here at BrandMakerNews, to put our own 2011 plans in place, we want to remind you to give your business the competitive edge to tackle what’s to come. Over the next few weeks, we encourage you to commit to a business bootcamp regiment to get your company in shape for the year ahead. Don’t wait until the last minute to plan for your success. Do it now, before the holiday rush bombards you and throws you off track.

The BrandMakerNews Business Bootcamp below consists of ten planning steps that will help you end this year with a bang, and position your brand for unprecedented success in the new year…

Step 1: Evaluate your goals- Look back at the goals you set for 2010. How many goals did you achieve? How many are you still working towards? Think about where your business is today and decide which goals are going to be a priority for you in 2011. Write out those goals, so that you can begin to line up the necessary time and resources to make them achievable.

Step 2: Assess your marketing opportunities- When you look at the customers you’ve reached and the brand loyalty you’ve established, are you pleased with your share of the market? Are there more people you’d like to reach and new opportunities to take advantage of? If so, then start thinking about how you plan to market your brand more effectively in the future. Explore new marketing strategies that you can test out and put in place for 2011. Pay attention to what worked in 2010 and focus on doing more of that to grow your business in the coming year.

Step 3: Analyze your network- You are as strong as your network. Take a close look at the people you have around you. Do they represent who you are and who you are trying to be. To be successful you need to surround yourself with supportive, focused, like-minded individuals who can build you up rather than drain you. Identify mentors, advisors and potential partners. Step outside of your comfort zone and start connecting with other entrepreneurs. Expand your network to open the door for bigger opportunities.

Step 4: Review your website- Honestly ask yourself if your website is really working hard for you? Is it as informative as your customers need it to be? Does it positively represent your business brand? Look at your analytics to review your traffic patterns for the year. And, think about what you can do to convert more of your traffic into completed sales transaction.

Step 5: Search optimize your business- When you Google yourself and your business are you proud of what you see when the results pop up? What keywords do you need to add to your press releases, articles, and marketing materials to improve your ranking on search engines? Google your competitors to see what’s working for them. Put together a plan to make it easier for your audience to find you online.

Step 6: Measure the strength of your brand assets- Lay all your brand marketing assets on the table…your business cards, brochures, flyers, sales sheets, etc… Do they have one cohesive look? Do they all send the same message about your brand? If you’re proud of what you have, assess your inventory to make sure that you have enough to go around. Order more if you have to. If you need to create new assets to represent your brand, get the ball rolling now so you can have everything in place by the new year.

Step 7: Freshen up your outgoing messages- When’s the last time you changed your outgoing voicemail message, or changed your email signature? Take a moment to create fresh messages that are positive, upbeat and professional.

Step 8: Update your bio and about us info- This is a good time to check out your bio and About Us page. Perhaps there are new accomplishments and new awards that you need to add. Now’s the time to incorporate any new messages or areas of expertise that you want to showcase. Make sure these documents present you in your best light.

Step 9: Update your social networking profiles- Get a new headshot to use as your profile picture. Update the information posted on your profile page. If you cater to different audiences (ie…personal and professional) consider creating lists or different profiles to manage the information you share with each network. Also explore new social networks that may be a great fit for your business, and make plans to include these sites in your marketing plan for 2011.

Step 10: Listen to your audience- Before you move on to next year, make sure you take the time to listen to what your audience shared with you throughout this year. They’ve been speaking to you loud and clear… have you been listening? If you haven’t formally asked your customers what they think of your business, you can tell by looking at their actions. What products have they supported, which articles have they commented on, and which promotions got them in the door? The best way you can prepare for the new year is by figuring out how to give your customers more of what they actually want.

    With just ten weeks left in 2010, entrepreneurs and small business owners have a lot of work to do to prepare for the new year. Start right away. Take your business through the  bootcamp above. We promise your company will come out stronger and more prepared to give you the results you need in the year to come. Ten steps in ten weeks…let your business bootcamp begin.

    Good luck!