The holiday season is fast approaching and most companies are looking forward to winding down. Instead of letting your guard down, Sharon Williams, Managing Director of Taurus Marketing, advises savvy operators to make the best use of this time to stay one step ahead of the pack.
Taurus is a boutique marketing, PR and creative agency specialising in the IT, financial and professional services industries. "In the northern hemisphere, businesses often only close for the week between Christmas and New Year," Sharon says. "January is a great time to be active while your competitors are on leave. Prospects are often more relaxed during the quiet period and happy to take your call."
Stand back and take a fresh look at your company image
A bit of distance from the daily buzz can help you see your business more objectively, including your image. Look at your brochures and your website and take a look at that of your competitors - how do you measure up? Is your image in step with how your business has evolved over the past year? Taurus does this every year and encourages their clients to so as well.
Get competitive files up and running
Look to innovate all the time. Watching your competitors is one way to check if your company still adds value or is run of the mill. Competitor files should hold press clippings, brochures, business cards etc of your competition.
Celebrate the year's successes and evaluate the failings
You are half way through the financial calendar year so check on your goals for the year. Are you financially on track? Do you need to increase revenue? Are you doing better than you think? Are you well resourced? Taurus has a half yearly review with its accountant and business advisor. Evaluate yourself - your strengths, weaknesses and achievement of goals. One way Sharon does this is by writing her own ideal job description. She writes down what she is not good at, what would be a more efficient and effective use of her time and explore alternative options such as outsourcing.
Revise your business plan
Use this period to plan and review goals. When updating your business plan, dont let it be more than four pages long - have you got time to read anything longer? Make it practical and tactical otherwise you wont do it. Taurus does this every January. When they did this last year, Taurus was able to check in on objectives and make some strategic HR decisions. They also revised their budget targets to obtain a clear idea of what they needed to achieve.
Business New Years Resolution
Review everyones job descriptions leading up to Christmas so they can reflect over Christmas about where they are heading and, importantly, hit the ground running when they get back. Kick-start your team's year back at work by holding a 'New Years Resolution' session with staff - brainstorm all the things you hope to achieve in the year ahead. Divide those goals into monthly chunks and actually track the progress as the year goes on.
Work on your database and use this opportunity to make contact with your network
Use this time to update your database which, apart from your staff, is just about the most precious commodity you own. Make calls to contacts and update their details- it is a great excuse to say hi! Send Christmas or New Years cards and take the opportunity to send a corporate message of success to communicate your business news. Taurus encourages all their clients to do this and several of them put this to practice.
Smart at Parties
Christmas events are a great way to cement relationships and form new acquaintances that may well be vital to your business in the next 12 months. Christmas parties gives Taurus a reason to contact their database and invite new prospects along so that they have a chance to mix with happy clients. It goes without saying, when invited to an event, be yourself, add value, be gracious and enjoy! And always send a personal thank you to the host after the event.
Festive Season Messages
Include seasons greetings on your website, voicemail and on hold message. If you are going away for the holidays, make sure you give details of when you will be back and who to contact in your absence.
About Taurus Marketing:
Taurus is a boutique Marketing, Public Relations (PR) and Creative consultancy whose clients range from small-to-medium businesses to major ASX-listed corporations. Taurus offers unparalleled levels of personalised service with a practical approach to executing Marketing, PR and Creative concepts for the IT, finance and professional service sectors. To Contact Taurus Marketing call 02 9415 4528 or visit www.taurusmarketing.com.au