Optimize Your Processes - Do you have certain processes that perform well for you? Then squeeze everything you can out of those processes by optimizing them. Many of our respondents said they wanted to improve various business processes that would result in reduced printer usage, less travelling, and fewer rework and mistakes. One agency reported that it will utilize checklists more to reduce mistakes and rework in the contracting process. Recently, NPR reported on the effectiveness of checklists in hospitals. Check out the article here.
Consult More Experts - As much as we would like to think we can do everything ourselves or that we already know everything we need to know about our business, we know that the most successful people and individuals are those that can leverage the knowledge and abilities of a team. Many of our respondents said they would consult with more experts this year rather than try and do it themselves. Accountants, lawyers, bankers, technology experts, and other dedicated professionals can offer very valuable services in a short amount of time. For example, you agency owners will want to find out how much your unemployment insurance expense will increase due to changes in state laws and plan accordingly. Small businesses are projected to face anywhere between a 2.5% – 600% increase in payments (yes, that is six hundred) according to entrepreneur.com.
Measure, Measure, Measure – When you are so busy doing your daily work, it really is difficult to find the time to look back and quantitatively see if what you did really benefited the business. Did you spend thousands of dollars on building a Web site? Have you recouped your investment yet? The same applies when looking forward as well. Conducting a survey of your target market can help you determine if you really need to take on a new product. Many of our respondents vowed to really look at measuring ROI before making significant investments. Want to learn more about measuring ROI? One agent recommended the book How to Measure Anything by Douglas W. Hubbard. It has a 5-star rating on Amazon with 55 total customer reviews.
Improve Sales Presentations - One big issue among our respondents was sales presentations. Many feel they can improve their presentations to close more sales. Many promise to incorporate more imagery into their presentations. Showing too much documentation or talking too much can quickly lose the interest of potential clients. This is especially true when selling products over the phone. As you well know, not having a physical presence makes the sales process that much more difficult. To compensate many agents are integrating their Web sites into their phone sales process to present images and information while making their pitch over the phone. Some agents said they are going to look into video conferencing technologies for those seniors who are more computer savvy. Even if a senior doesn’t have a camera of their own, they can still see your face and get more of that personal feel without having you there in their homes. One good place to start is http://www.megameeting.com.
So what resolutions have you made for your business? We encourage you to share your resolutions and ideas in our comments section.