A funny thing happened recently, it was about 3 to 4 weeks ago. Right about the time that schools started up again actually, and although I am not sure that it directly has anything to do with education per se, no doubt that in our minds at least, this marks the time of year that all of us get back to “it” – whatever “it” is! Here at C L Graphics we started to pick up activity. This is not uncommon, as the Fall time tends to be one of our busiest. And yet, it was funny to me how the rise in activity was almost in perfect alignment with beginning of school. People everywhere know that summer time is over and it is time to get busy again.
To be sure there are many other “mile markers” that trigger our minds to react in certain ways – instinctively we remember just how great that steaming cup of hot chocolate can taste when the first snowfall hits. Or, suddenly we know it is time to start the diet again along with the gym memberships come the start of the New Year. And after a long, cold winter, we all begin to feel renewed and refreshed when the first Spring days invite us outside again!
I am not sure if there is anything specific that signals this, however this time of the year does begin the process of looking ahead for year-end planning. Barely three months to go before the budgets are due, which means we will need to look at past strategies and analyze what has worked or not. What new markets are we looking to penetrate? Are some products or services becoming obsolete? How about funding sources – are they as reliable as in the past? Questions are a great way to begin the process and challenge us to dig a little deeper. In fact, you might even look to gather your troops just to brainstorm a contrarian viewpoint, if nothing else then to confirm that your current strategies are in fact correct!
Another potential part of the process that we can sometimes overlook is to actually include our client base in the process – to ask them what is important to them when we market ourselves, and what they most typically respond to. Perhaps we are “spot-on,” or then again we may find out that our money is being spent in a way that really does not impact our existing client base and they only continue to work with us because they already know of us! This will not help much if we look to introduce a new service or product to them, and likely what does or does not work with them will also be the case for your prospecting efforts.
So this year, before we fall into the same old routines that seem to happen every year about this time, what do you look to do differently when it comes to year-end planning?