As 2020 draws to a close, many of us are taking stock of where we stand and where we’re going. How many of our personal goals have we achieved this year? Did we even get close to reading all of those books or getting to the gym as regularly as we’d hoped? This year’s been a doozy, and many of us may find ourselves pretty far from the resolutions we made last January.
Many of us are also assessing our business and career positioning as we look towards 2021. There were plenty of curveballs to navigate this year, from stay-at-home orders to rampant unemployment, so if you managed to keep your business afloat and steady that’s enough of an achievement to celebrate. That being said, the new year is a great opportunity to strive for more than just stability. The Coronavirus vaccines are being rolled out around the world, which means that this year brings with it a hope for normalcy and a chance for business growth.
With that in mind, you may be wondering which applications and tactics are the best to employ in order to scaffold healthy and productive growth for your company. Should you invest most of your capital in social media marketing? How should you plan for continued remote working or a gradual shift back to in-person office work? What software will help you manage operations smoothly in an end-to-end way? For answers to these questions and more, keep reading.
Use OKRs to achieve ambitious goals.
If your company had to deal with shifting to a remote work framework over the course of 2020, you already know that keeping everyone aligned wherever they may be is harder than it looks. Sure, there are plenty of apps for that, but you probably still have some trouble making sure that all of your employees are on task and being mindful of overarching company goals.
In fact, with the economy and worldwide markets swinging like a pendulum, even the management may have a hard time grasping what the company goals are and whether you’re achieving the benchmarks you set for yourself or not. After all, most businesses check once a month or a quarter for progress markers. These days, the whole world shifts in the course of a day—who can keep up.
One solution that was pioneered by Google and has been used by major corporations since, is an OKR framework. OKRs are Objectives and Key Results, and the framework allows for companies to align employees across the board and check for progress in real-time so that adjustments can be made if necessary. By using measurable outcomes for defining key results, you’re able to see where these adjustments should be made. Adjusting more quickly can end up saving a whole lot of time and even more money in the long run. There’s even OKR software out there that can be used to streamline the whole process. You can learn more about OKR frameworks on the go, by listening to an Objectives and Key Results podcast.
Invest in your salespeople.
It’s a brave new world out there, and you need to keep up. Not only that, you need to ensure that your workforce is keeping up as well. If your salespeople are still flipping through a Rolodex card holder to find their contacts, you’re probably not up to speed with how the sales world works these days. There are plenty of other signs that a salesperson is lagging behind the times or allowing their weaknesses to get in the way of selling. Do you see someone avoiding calling certain potential clients? Does another person spend double the time reaching out that they should be?
It might seem impossible to hold a workplace seminar on ideas to increase sales over Zoom, but it isn’t impossible. Remember, sales are the heart of any business. If you aren’t selling products or services, you aren’t going to be able to stay out of the red or stimulate growth in 2021. Investing in your salespeople’s skill set is absolutely an investment in your company’s financial growth over the course of the new year. If you’re nervous about hosting an informational seminar over the web, consider getting your salespeople a subscription to a digital magazine that specializes in sales. Anything to keep them sharp and inspired to do the best they can do.
Optimize your communication.
OKRs are great for optimizing in-house communication, but you need to think about external communications as well. After all, your distributor is probably not in-house and, even if they were, you would still be communicating any major information over the web. Do you find yourself in muddy waters when you’re trying to transfer XML files safely from retailer to distributor? Lots of people do, which is why the folks over at Quixotic360 have come up with a number of solutions to this problem.
Generating XML files can be time-consuming and get in the way of streamlining. And you can only have sustainable business growth if everything is working as smoothly as possible. The Quixotic360 software maintains the highest standards for file security but also works to automate operations in a way that allows for growth and scalability. Plus, by working with a SaaS (software as a service) company, you know you’ll have the customer service to manage to incorporate new tools into your infrastructure.
Social media is your friend.
You shouldn’t put all of your marketing eggs in the social media basket, but you also shouldn’t underestimate the strength that comes with investing in social media marketing. Ad managers on platforms like Instagram and Facebook allow you to target your ideal audience by age, gender, location, hobbies and interests, and more. If you’re looking to find new markets for your business to grow into, it’s a good idea to target new customers by putting some time into your social media presence and ads.
Considering that videos usually generate more clicks than text or still images, you should probably spend some time finding a company that can work on product videography with you. Don’t try to use your iPhone or Android to shoot your explanatory videos or promotional videos. You need a production company who can work with you to make something really sensational that will have your product or service standing out from the crowd.
Take note of role models from who you can learn.
If you’re already thinking of business growth for 2021, you probably have an ambitious bent to your personality. You dream big, and that’s great. But don’t think that you have to invent the wheel to get to the next step in your career. Take a minute and think about other executives whose work you admire and how they work. Are you more of a Jeff Bezos or a Bill Gates? Do you emulate Sheryl Sandberg or Clint Stinchcomb? Be clear about whose work you feel inspired by, and try and articulate exactly what it is that they do that gets you motivated. Maybe read a few biographies or profiles of the people you admire as a way of investing in your self-education as well.
There has never been a better time to think about business growth. With the world reshaping itself after an earthquake of a year, you can be one of the shapers if you play your cards right. Take a step back, assess what tools you need to move your company forwards, and go get those dreams.