Planning for Growth | Lydia Mehit

images2015 was a growth year for CBPS.  We connected with new referral sources for clients, celebrated one year in our new office and expanded our list of services.  We are now formulating our plan for 2016 and beyond.

Sometimes you are so busy in your business that you don’t have time to step outside and view it.  Stepping back from the business helps you gain clarity.  In 2015, we took time to put a marker down and articulate where we wanted to go.  Although things didn’t turn out exactly as planned, we still booked more work in 2015 than in previous years.

Just deciding how you want to measure progress frequently puts your attention in the right place.  Do you want to measure the number of customers who bought vs the number of customer inquiries?   Do you want to measure the number of hits to your website vs the number of conversions?  Do you want to measure the percentage of your business that comes from referrals versus marketing?

Keep in mind, that whatever you focus on will grow.  When you consciously monitor something you will begin to see ways to enhance the growth.  Once your imagination has caught fire you can put a plan together that allows you grow that area of the business.

So, how would you put together a plan to grow a particular area of your business?  I’m glad you asked.  First, you select the area you want to grow, next you establish a baseline and finally you test your change and measure the results.

As an example, let’s decide that the area of improvement you select is website conversions.  This would be visitors who view your website and are convinced to call to set an appointment.  This is what you will be measuring.

Next, you must establish a baseline, or starting point for your growth.  Your starting point is your current conversion ratio.  Using Google Analytics, select a time frame, and see how many visitors you had to your website and compare it to how many calls (conversions) you received.

Let’s say your results show that in three months, you had 200 visitors, and you received 4 calls that requested appointments.  So your conversion ratio is 2% (4/200 = .02).  This is your baseline and you will measure your growth from this number.

Now you put together a plan to encourage more people to call after viewing your site.  Whether you make an offer, write new copy, add a video, change your key words or make some other type of change, you will compare your results to your current 2% baseline.

Did the enhancement increase your conversion ratio or was there no change?  You continue in the test/measure mode until you have successfully increased your conversion ratio.  You can use this method with any area of the business you want to improve; marketing, referrals, repeat business, etc.

March of 2016 begins our 12th year in business.  As business owners we are familiar with the ups and downs that are your life when you run a small business.  But, planning for the future gives you something to ‘hang your hat on’.  It gives you a focus beyond today’s problems and issues.  It allows you to view your business within a specific framework, your plan.  Once you have a plan, the decisions you make about your business should keep moving you forward on that plan.

This doesn’t mean you plan is cast in stone.  There may be good reasons to change the plan or the direction of the plan, but you can’t change what doesn’t exist, so plan.  It may only seem like a plan to improve a portion of your business, but it is really a plan for your success.

Custom Business Planning and Solutions wishes you a fabulous, profitable and enjoyable 2016.

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