While we’re not exactly sure what 2021 will look like, no doubt there will be new challenges. That’s why it’s so important to prepare your business.
You might like to take out finance if the Christmas period has left your business short on cash, or consider focusing on these six key areas in 2021 to drive lasting growth.
1. Customer communications
If you’re slapping content together hoping it will stick, 2021 is the year you start looking more closely at your audience and figure out how to resonate on a deeper level.
Your style of communication should be guided by data. Brainstorm and test different types of content—as well as the presentation and scheduling of that content—and allow the test results to inform your decisions. Even seemingly simple things like a colour or CTA change could make a huge difference to your conversion rate.
If you don’t have personas created for your brand as of yet, 2021 is also a good year to start profiling your typical customer so you can better understand their needs and build a more meaningful connection with them through your brand.
Once you’ve researched, created detailed personas and set up relevant experiments, it’s time to analyse the data and let it decide how you’ll communicate to your key audiences moving forward.
2. Alignment between sales and marketing
Often, sales and marketing operate in silo and lack consistent, effective communication. This means missing out on conversion opportunities and higher quality leads.
Ideally, sales would inform marketing on what makes a quality lead so that marketing can work on attracting more of them. This makes everyone’s job easier: selling becomes faster and marketing more effective. But without the right processes in place, short-term priorities take hold and teams operate in silo once again.
Keeping communication open between teams is a good start, but you’ll also want to prioritise a consistent feedback loop (potentially a weekly or monthly meeting) between sales and marketing in order to maximise growth and conversion opportunities (and in time, make everyone’s job a whole lot easier).
Personalising your communications is a great way to retain existing customers while reaching new ones. Rather than treating each customer as a number, the goal is to make them feel like an individual within unique needs, desires and challenges that you can help solve.
The first step is understanding who your customer is, and then communicating to them in a relevant way.
A few tips on personalising your communications:
- Study your customers in detail and learn all about their biggest pain points
- Humanise your brand (i.e. be approachable, friendly and authentic) and ensure your method and style of communications is relevant to your key audience
- Recommend new products based on your customer’s previous interactions and purchase history
Most businesses will make decisions based on internal opinions, ideas and gut instincts, but this doesn’t always result in the best outcomes.
A proposed strategy is not guaranteed to solve the problem it’s supposed to, and implementation takes time and requires resources.
Why not test your strategy before implementing it? By dipping your toes in first, you can get a feel for how things will pan out and potentially save a bunch of time and money. Use the data you receive to determine whether your strategy should indeed be actioned, tweaked or re-evaluated.
5. Your team
Your team is your biggest asset and crucial to success. It’s more important than ever to look out for your employees and their mental health, especially after a year like 2020.
Employees who feel genuinely supported (not only as professionals but individuals) do their best work, are more motivated and feel more connected to their team and company. They will give you their all and be present with you during each milestone.
6. Profit growth
Of course, the biggest goal for business owners year in and out is to become more profitable. You’re here to make money, and a healthy business can keep operating at its full potential.
Whether you need to buy new business equipment, upskill, implement a new process or build out teams, working smarter rather than harder can help boost productivity and efficiency, which in turn helps you to build momentum.
Preparing for achievable milestones
With a few ideas on areas to focus in 2021, it’s time to put pen to paper and create achievable goals that will further define your strategy. Creating SMARTER goals can help you turn 2021 business plans into reality.
SMARTER goals are:
- Specific: Is your goal clear and defined? What challenges might you run into?
- Measurable: How do you know you’ve succeeded?
- Achievable: Is it realistically possible to achieve this goal?
- Relevant: What will achieving this goal mean for you/your business? Is it worthwhile?
- Time bound: Should you create a timeline? If so, how much time do you need?
- Evaluated: Are you on track? What’s working and what isn’t?
- Reviewed: Are you hitting a wall? If so, this doesn’t make your goal inherently flawed, it just means you need to re-think how you’ll achieve it.
Whether it’s to grow, solve cash flow issues or grab that new asset you have your eye on, feel free to get in touch for all your business finance needs in 2021. From ours to yours, happy new year!
Emma is our Senior Copywriter at Valiant. Working closely with our lending experts, she enjoys educating SMEs on the latest in business finance, and empowering them to achieve their entrepreneurial goals.