Call them traditions or habits—we’re all familiar with New Year’s resolutions. Every January, we eagerly make our lists to ensure that this year will be better than last year. This is the year we’re finally going to lose weight, or hit the gym, or stop smoking, or cut down on soda. It’s interesting, though, how many of our personal resolutions include sweeping, overnight changes—rather than taking smaller, simpler baby steps with which we’re much likelier to stick. The same can be said for our professional goals.
Too often, people think they need some monster-sized new strategy or lucky break for their businesses to be successful, and that simply isn't true. If you've been in business for even just a few years, you've undoubtedly spent time and resources building your brand and developing a client base. “Reinventing” doesn’t have to mean scrapping everything that you’ve done well or completely starting over. Chances are, you don’t need a dramatic overhaul to make more money than last year—but improvement does require change; otherwise, you can expect the same results you got in 2017.
It's The Little Things
Businesses are a lot like personal relationships: both require a certain level of commitment, passion, and consistent attention thrive. Think back to your relationships. Sometimes, the most memorable moments were the simple gestures, like the time your beloved surprised you with a handwritten note, left under your pillow. I’ll bet you saved that note, even though you quickly forgot about the fancy dinner that occurred before he wrote it. Heartfelt gestures create experiences that turn into memorable moments—and in business, memorable moments lead to loyal customers, referrals, and ultimately, more and/or bigger sales.
An example that comes to my mind of small gestures that add up big involves a recent holiday cruise that I took. I’ve been cruising for a decade, so I’m pretty familiar with the options typically associated with this version of leisure travel. While some cruise lines are more luxurious than others, all will try to win customers over with decadent cuisine, breathtaking activities, and over-the-top entertainment. This cruise offered all of those things and yet, it really stood out to me for several reasons. As usual, we visited various islands during the day but as we boarded the ship upon return, we were entertained by a mini dance party with a DJ, and offered numerous free items including island popsicles, Jell-O shots and fruit-infused water. They weren’t “big” things, but they made a big impression. In a sea of cruise ships (pun intended) where there’s tremendous competition, this line managed to find small but unique ways to really WOW its cruisers.
What “little things” could you add to your business model this year? What memorable moments could you provide to customers to enhance their experience with you in a profound way, and at the same time, improve your bottom line?
Break It Up
It always helps me to break up goals into manageable segments. Try thinking about 2018 in three parts. Devise a plan to reinvent your business every four or so months.
1. During the first four months, you could provide every client with a detailed skin care “prescription” for the year, so that by the end of it, their skin will be in the best condition it has ever been.
2. In the next four months, you could offer a free facial with the purchase of any other treatment.
3. In the last four months, you’ll focus on above-and-beyond customer service, such as walking every customer to his or her car at the end of an appointment and following-up with a text the next day. Again, you’re creating memorable moments.
Don’t leave the reinventing up to yourself, though—let staff and co-workers get in on the fun. Perhaps you could incentivize your front desk staff to help you improve your social media presence by holding a contest each month: the staff member who gets the most clients to friend/follow your business on Facebook, Instagram, etc. will receive a small monetary bonus or a Starbucks gift card. You get the idea. These are all small items that won’t break the budget but will help you keep you on track for improved success, and at the same time, ensure you stand apart from the competition.
Reinventing your business doesn’t have to be a giant leap. Small gestures, performed consistently, can make a big difference. Here’s wishing you a very successful new year.
Top Tips for Reinventing Your Business in 2018
1. Advertise. If your reinvention includes a free service or anything that will enhance your customer’s experience with you, be sure to advertise it. For example, you could include that information on your website, social media posts and written marketing materials.
2. Keep track. Keep track of both your changes and your progress. If you’re getting the results you want, keep going. If not, tweak your changes and head in a different direction.
3. Research. Spend some time researching what your competition does to enhance their customers’ experience and take it up three notches.