Plan for a Great 2017

By Brent Shoji, Executive Director, TRAFFIK

Business development is a year-round process, but now is a great time to get your ducks in a row for a successful 2017. It’s a proven fact that the mind begins to turn to jelly somewhere around the time of your last round of seconds at the Thanksgiving table and doesn’t return to its full cognitive capacity until after the New Year breaks, so October and November are critical months for planning anything important.

With that in mind, here are some quick thoughts to help get those biz dev muscles flexing:

1. What Are Your Goals?

This seems like a no-brainer, but all too often businesses don’t clearly define what their goals are. Instead, they think in terms that are too high level to help inform a strategy. If your goal is “to grow my business,” well, that’s not going to get you too far. If your goal is to “grow my business by X amount of sales before Y date,” then you’re getting somewhere.

2. What Did You Learn in the Past Year?

Sometimes, the most brutal part of operating a business is the matter of analyzing past performance. Looking at what worked and what didn’t can be long and painful—especially when a lot didn’t seem to go right. But this is how you learn—and taking stock of what happened over the course of the past year of business is an important step to take before preparing for the year to come. Otherwise, you can become trapped in a cycle of repeating mistakes that blocks growth.

3. Scrutinize Your Touchpoints

As a growing business, you probably have developed several ways of reaching out to and engaging with your prospects. Maybe it’s just an ongoing e-newsletter, or perhaps you prefer the tangible quality of direct mail. You almost surely are engaging with your prospects and customers on one or two (or five) social media channels. Now is a good time to pull analytics reports and find out where you’re actually making headway and where you’re just spinning your wheels. Plan to concentrate more resources in strategies where you’re getting results and start thinking about cutting bait where there hasn’t been much activity.

4. Those Two Magic Words: “Agency Review”

If you have outsourced any of your marketing or business development activities—from creative advertising and community management to SEO or pay-per-click campaigns—you know it’s a big investment. That’s why it’s important to conduct a regular agency review to make sure you’re getting the ROI you were promised. Your agency partners should be providing you with measurable outcomes—use them! And if they aren’t, they may be trying to cover up deficiencies. Most of all, ask yourself, “Is this working?” Part of the relationship with your agency can be felt on an emotional level—when your “partner” isn’t really being a partner, you know.

Interested in discussing business development strategies for next year? At TRAFFIK, we can do that until the cows come home. Give us a call at (877) 769-1921 or reach out at to start a dialogue.

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