So, I am going through the exercise of reviewing my year. That means I took a look back at the goals I set for last year and reviewed the good, the bad and the ugly of it! This is the beginning of moving forward and and setting up goals for 2021. All entreprenuers need to do this even if we have an awesome business plan. To keep moving our business forward, we must look back. Looking back is a chance to celebrate the successes, to learn from our failures and to set a path forward to an even better year.
I meet too many clients who have great ideas but didn’t take the time to put pen to paper and think strategically about how to accomplish them. Even I’m guilty of the idea rabbit hole. The truth is most of us do not have the killer app that everyone loves and uses across all demographics and makes a million dollar out of the gate. Most of us start with an idea and work to make it a business. My advice is to have a plan that goes with your ideas and define the metrics that help guage whether its working or not.
This year it is especially important to think strategically. We have been through months of uncertainty. The advantage of the uncertainty is that as we go forward into 2021 we are more able to predict the outcome. We know what it is like to move our businesses online, to network through Zoom and hopefully become more personally acquainted with our customers.
This post is my look back at my year and a look forward to the year ahead.
Metrics Are My Marketing Jam
Let me do my pitch. If there is ever a time to hire me or another marketing consultant, this is it. My peers and I streamline your marketing efforts and make them more efficient. More importantly, we elevate your brand and get it into your customers’ stream of consciuosness. If you get a great marketing consultant on your team, your whole company will be better. If you get a sales focused one, like myself, you will accompish your goals.
Sales is the first metric of any plan. I believe all roads lead to it. My marketing philosophy is based on the fact that if you align your company to sales with a customer focus you will be successful.
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I love metrics. It’s the only time in my life where I like to be measured. Back when I was in corporate America, metrics was how I got my raises. I put in all my proposals the metrics that my team’s performance is to be measured against or as I why I will call it here “Why you pay me the big bucks!”
As a business owner you need to set up the metrics that matter to your growth. We know the big ones:
- Revenue – Sales rule. It’s the beginning and end of where your company exists.
- Profit – Revenue is cool and necessary but this is my number one. If I can’t make enough money, I can’t take care of business outside of my business, with the #1 priority being my son.
- Cash Flow – Cash flow didn’t become important until I didn’t understand why I made money but still ran out.
- Gross Margin – This became important to me as I started to gather partners that allow me to deliver s full-service marketing agency.
Did I say I love metrics? Well these are the ones that make me happy when I beat them and sad when I don’t:
- Sales Growth Year-to-date, month to date
- Qualified leads per month
- Proposals-to-Client Conversion Rate
- Monthly website traffic
- Social Media Engagement ( Sharing is caring and drives brand awareness!)
- Email opens and clicks
- Hours worked per project – This was new in 2019. But, I had to get serious about pricing so I started to track my time with Toggl.
Mai Year: The Good, The Bad and The Ok
So as I said, here is my look back.
I didn’t hit my revenue goals. I am sure I am like you. I have more great ideas than time and when I get a new client that’s it. In 9 years, I still haven’t learned the right mix of growing my business while at the same time helping others grow theirs. So in 2021, it is time for me to find an accountabilty partner and hire an assistant. I truly believe the “insanity is doing the same thing”…quote applies to entreprenuers.
The other great idea I have is to package up offerings that sell the most. That should eliminate time spent on proposals and other sales duties. If I can spend less time chasing sales and more time closing then the revenue should be automatic.
My plan in 2020 was to become a certfied woman and minority-owned business. And I was happily moving along until the Pandemic hit. Then, I was like everyone and didn’t want to spend any extra money. That’s why I was happy to create and update the blog post about Covid-19 resources! This is why cash flow becomes an important metric to track.
I started my businesses in a recession, I have kept it going through the some serious ups and downs and this year marked 9 years as an entrepreneur. So I consider myself a SUCCESS. This year I amped up. While I didn’t hit my revenue goals my marketing metrics are off the charts. This tells me I need to work on my conversions. Perhaps, I’m too focused on the creatives and need to focus on my CTA (Call to actions). I also need to do a deep dive on where my customers came from and my responses to it.
Here are my GOOD metrics:
- Profitability- I have only lost money when customers didn’t pay me and I didn’t check cash flow. This year, I have been profitable but also very conservative with spending.
- Qualified leads per month – Each person I have a meeting with is ready to purchase services.
- Proposals-to-Client Conversion Rate – I streamlined my sales process and was able to deliver proposals that hit directly to my customers’ pain points.
- Website traffic – Thanking my digital marketing skills!
- This site hit the 1000 mark in views and visitors in October!
- My marketing site has over 10,000 views this year and thanks to my new chatbot I am capturing leads every day!
- Social Media Engagement ( Sharing is caring!)
Here are a few more marketing metrics that will be good next year:
- Cost of leads and lead generation – I think I will start to track this as this could be the reason I’m not hitting my revenue goals. I could be pricing too low or not hitting the market that can afford my prices.
- Keyword ranking – I will call in an expert to help with this. I have started to rise but I’m not being strategic with keyword ranking.
Resources for planning and metrics
The New Year is the perfect time to review and assess your new year. With Covid still trying to create destruction and with months of data you can use to measure, the importance of setting and reviewing metrics can not be overlooked. Now is the time to do it. It should be done at the same time that you are planning the year and you should review them monthly.
Speaking of ideas, here is one I am working on for 2021. Take a look at the steps and use that to help you review and set goals. We can always chat at a Coffee and Inspiration event too so don’t forget to register.