First quarter nears end: How did you do?

As the first quarter of the year draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on your marketing strategy over the past three months. Measuring your sales and goals performance and how effective your strategies have been will direct whether or not you will need to revise your move forward strategy.

For most business owners, pouring over the sales numbers isn’t the most exciting part of running a business. It is necessary, however, if you plan to grow your bottom line profits and subsequently your business throughout the rest of the year.

Many keep the below thoughts in mind each month, but for the small business owner, that might be a challenge. As such, a quarterly analysis of your business becomes even more critical to your success.

Set a goal and set reasonable benchmarks
What are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to grow your business by the number of new clients? Do you measure your performance in terms of sales? What is it going to take to reach that goal?

With that in mind, you can set benchmarks throughout the year. Maybe you hope to increase sales by $100,000. Maybe that takes three clients. With that information in hand, you can plan, quarter by quarter, how to reach your goals and analyze where you are financially as time goes by.

Look over the past few months
By now you have all of last year’s data to work with and at least that of January and February of 2011. As you review the data, look back on your goals and determine how well you met them. From there, you can start to decide what goals might be reasonable to make for the rest of 2011. You may be on-target, but some may need revisions based on your current figures.

Work on your strategy
Now that you have your goals and quarterly benchmarks set, go over your marketing strategy. Take a look at what you did last year and adjust it according to what worked and what didn’t.

Did that money invested in direct mail pay off? How is your social media doing? Are you seeing any trends? This is where you can get a really good picture of what types of people you are reaching. Don’t be afraid to really dig into your different media campaigns and analyze which people are paying attention, or which people you are missing entirely.

Sometimes more exposure doesn’t mean better results. Especially if you work in a market where clients come from a very slim demographic, it may be better to have a highly targeted strategy than one that just gets blasted from the megaphone to as many people as possible.

Budget, budget, budget
Nobody has unlimited resources. That is why going over the numbers and developing solid strategic plans is so important, especially if your marketing budget is living on a very slim diet.

Once you trim the edges, you can use those extra resources toward what works or what might be innovative that you haven’t tried before. It’s really hard to see any changes financially if you are unwilling to change your own strategy. There is no one-size-fits-all package when it comes to growing a business. It takes some creativity and some good planning.

If you ever have any questions about marketing strategies, or you would like to talk about professional services, don’t hesitate to call me (214-528-5775).