DON'T FORGET TO ANALYZE ALL YOUR DATA!
Although it’s tempting to try to tackle all the different pieces simultaneously, it’s important to use your data wisely. As you gather both your quantitative and qualitative data, make sure you’re using these insights to make decisions on what is truly vital to tackle in the new year.
As the days get shorter and the holidays get closer, projects are slowly starting to get delegated to the “we’ll start fresh in the new year” pile. It’s always great to start fresh, but in order to get to that point there’s a few things you should be doing now.
The end of the year is the perfect time to do some data gathering in the different corners of your business. We’ll discuss four areas you should be examining to help prepare for fruitful actions in the first quarter.
Your team is on the front lines every day. They have a perspective that differs from yours and may be able to pinpoint certain problem areas that you’re not aware of. More importantly, the employees who operate where your product or service meets your consumer will have a different perspective on solutions you have been tackling all year.
With the daily tasks and projects, this is a perspective they might not typically have the opportunity to express.
Depending on your seniority level, schedule some “one on one” meetings with people you don’t typically get to sit down with. Be sure to let them know ahead of time that you’re interested in hearing their perspective and ask them to bring feedback to the meeting.
Pro tip: Treat the scheduled meeting time as sacred. Consider taking them out for lunch or coffee. It speaks volumes to your team when you make time and make them a priority.
You’ve probably spent months working with your internal marketing team or an external agency to get your branding just right. You’ve nailed down what your website looks like, you’ve perfected the language and visuals of your product emails, and the many other points where your customers engage with your company. Once you finish that initial marketing foundation, you simply keep building and work on the details.
However, your clients (and vendors) see it a little differently. They are seeing your company for the first time from a fresh perspective.
Now is a great time to put yourself in their shoes. Walk through a client journey from a client’s perspective. Starting with the initial Google search to the final email. What makes sense? What feels stiff? If you take a moment to review the process from the other side, you can potentially save your clients a lot of frustration.
Prot tip: A fresh pair of eyes is extra helpful. If you have the resources, hire a third party to complete the audit. If that’s not in the cards, ask a trusted colleague to walk through the process and provide detailed feedback.
With so many things happening constantly, the year is often a race against time. This race makes it challenging to slow down and analyze processes to understand what's working and what can be improved.
At The Virtual Forge, our experience tells us that data, the lifeblood of any business in 2023, is sometimes left to exist without much consideration. And we can't stress how disastrous that can be.
Now is the perfect time to set aside some time to get into the various components of your data. We suggest starting with these questions:
Pro tip: Remember, data is not just a record of the past; it's a powerful tool for shaping the future. Gather available information by sitting down with the appropriate stakeholders and reviewing without judgment or "what could have been."
It’s normal to accumulate numerous technology tools as your business keeps growing. You have a tool to help clear out your inbox, one to help with presentations, something for communicating internally, something for tracking your orders, something for tracking clients, and so on.
It’s great to solve daily challenges with a great tech stack. What’s even greater? Making sure your tech stack is efficient!
Did you happen to acquire multiple tools that do the same thing? Is there a way to consolidate? Or on the other hand, are you using too many tools that all do different things and maybe it’s time for a custom tool to do it all in one place?
This is another great area to ask your team about. Check with the team on how they are using tools and what they would like to see done differently. Ask your team if they’ve come across tools that they’re interested in piloting. Don’t fall for the old “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality.
Pro tip: Reach out to your account representative for the different softwares you use and ask them what functions and features you aren’t utilizing that you should be.
Approaching the end of the year is a great time to review how things went with your budget for the previous year. Following your review of the other areas of your company, you may have slightly different priorities on your finances. Use your newly gathered data to set the appropriate financial goals and boundaries for the upcoming year.
Pro tip: To decrease your employee hiring costs, ask your team how they prefer to be recognized and make sure you budget for that.
Yes! This may seem like a daunting task and it may feel easier to cruise into the holidays and tackle these things at the start of the year. However, if you want to get a leg up on your competition, you should be reviewing these things now and creating a plan for execution of improvements in the new year. While your competitors are just starting the review process, you’re already executing.
The Virtual Forge team is dedicated to helping our clients solve operational challenges through intelligent and strategic use of Data and Software. We understand not all solutions are right for all people, that’s why we take a consultative approach tailored to your specific challenges. If you complete your business review and find that you’re wanting to do more with what you have or need a fresh start, reach out for a complimentary consultation - our team is always happy to find a unique solution.
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