The new year is now in full swing with most people now back at work. It’s always a somewhat apprehensive time for business owners because they’re taking the time to go over the mistakes they made from the previous year and trying to figure out what the trends in 2020 will be. Regarding the latter, it’s always dependent on your industry. Every industry has its own unique culture and openly agreed on shortcomings. However the former is something each business is left on their own to accomplish.
This is where research plays a significant role in the much-needed improvement of your business. Many of your mistakes won’t be evident until you delve deeper into any and all issues you had. But don’t be down or bored, research is one of the most exciting parts of running a business. It’s where you really find out what you’re made of.
Interdepartmental communication and more.
Who’s playing ball and who isn’t? It’s something that every business owner wants to know as rifts within the business will almost always be more harmful than any outside forces. Interdepartmental communication and collaboration are essential for products and services to be created with a holistic approach. When all departments are working together, products are more likely to meet the goals set out in the brief. Projects with greater input value from all sides are also less likely to encounter issues that slow down the process. It’s easy to predict what will happen if there is a rift of any kind between departments.
Now comes the tricky part, researching into the effectiveness of each department in last year’s projects. Go through your records to see where was a project halted and for what reason? You’ll find that rather than any major, there will usually be a massive flaw in communication. It could be something as simple as a manager not writing and sending an email to another department’s manager over the weekend. Issues that could have been resolved days and days ago, end up causing a big problem further down the line.
Effectiveness in risk management.
Were you involved in some kind of debacle last year? Maybe you were planning to partner with business and there seemed to be only two viable choices. However, it soon may have turned out that there was a third option but because your risk management department didn’t look into it, it was too late. They either partnered with another company or you had already signed a contract. Researching the effectiveness of your risk team is highly rewarding. The risk department is often the unsung hero, that averts disaster for businesses and gives the CEO and his or her C-suite, plenty of time to avoid a problem which could incur massive losses.
They only way to know if all is well and everyone in the department is working together is to go over the records. Devote an entire day or more to looking over the key risk reports from last year. Now with hindsight, can you see any issues? Many things may have come true but others may not have. Other highlighted concerns may have been overblown.
You could also order a report to be made about all of last year’s reports by the department itself. This would give the risk team time to look over their work and reflect upon their advice, warnings and actions. It’s incredibly exciting to self-investigate, especially in the risk department. As the world changes and risk analysts have to adapt to the circumstances, you can’t expect every prediction to come true. Thus, it will sharpen the intuition of the department as a whole, to see where they were wrong and what the reasons were.
Feed the beast.
In 2020, every industry will be in a reflective mode for a couple of months. There’s a whole new decade to conquer, and being ready for any kind of trend is vital to winning the lion’s share of customers. By default, if you’re the first one to set or realize a trend, you will be ahead in the race. So for this new year, how is marketing going to change? Well, rather than first looking at lofty industry-wide issues that pertain to the needs of the global market, how about focussing on the local area? Local marketing is now hand in glove with Google. A business not willing to feed this beast is going to find itself sidelined by its local competitors. How does one ‘feed’ Google?
Website content is one of the most important tasks. Consumers changed their behavior drastically in the latter part of the previous decade. In just a couple of years, it has become apparent that the number one and or number two strategy to getting customers to connect with your business, was to offer amazing insightful content. CEOs writing honestly about their weekly challenges, professionals talking about new software updates, experts giving their opinion about the latest trends, all had to be posted on the business blog. Data-driven decision-making must be implemented even for local awareness marketing.
Consider predictive behavioral data and shopper scoring strategies to know your customers better. Send targeted messages to customers, be specific about the types of products you offer. Google wants more corroborating information about who you are so that it can splash your business around on other websites.
Seeing as the start of the year is a great time for self-reflection, how about yourself? What mistakes did you make last year? Business owners have to have a great quality of self-critique. You must be your own worst critic. Look back throughout the decisions you made, where could you have spent the money better? Where could you have managed your employees better? Go back throughout the year and seek out where you didn’t spot errors in reports or what advice you didn’t ask for.
In business, research is quite an exciting endeavor. You begin the process of improving and evolving as a business when you make time to reflect on the previous year. Now is the time to go through various reports, projects and end results of the previous year, to see where things could be improved for this coming decade.