Keen to hit the ground running in the coming year, having made major inroads in your business goals? Consider a January business development and marketing blitz.
There are 12 months in the year, but many small business owners don’t get much done in one of them. Yes, I’m talking about January – the time when half the country is taking it easy! If you aren’t planning on taking an extended break, the first few weeks of the year can be a great time to get a head start on a marketing blitz for the year, even if it’s traditionally a quiet time for your business.
Best of all, January’s slower pace of life may mean you can score some big goals without subjecting yourself to a punishing schedule or denying yourself some well-earned time to chillax.
Planning ahead can make all the difference to your ability to get the most you can out of the marketing opportunity that January represents, so if you haven’t already, start by checking out my article on getting your marketing ready for Christmas and New Year.
Next up, do the following.
Lock in opportunities for the coming year as early as you can
My fixation on using the relatively quiet time of January for long lasting effect is a strategy I’ve successfully adopted from my fellow Flying Solo columinst Andrew Griffiths.
He reports that he locks in a large portion of business during January and sees it as a key time for business development – not least because many of his competitors are taking a break.
This is approach works for me on two levels.
Firstly, as a small business owner, I’m always happiest when I have some clarity around both my workload and my income in the coming months.
More importantly though, since the services I offer are most beneficial to my clients when they’re planning and strategising, making myself available at this time of year also positions me to have the greatest impact on their businesses. It’s a win-win for both of us!
Below are some of my top tips for making it work for you, too:
- Determine whether any of your products or services lend themselves to a New Year promotion and if so milk them in your marketing.
- Try and find out which of your existing or desired clients will be around and working during the January ‘holidays’ and find out whether there’s anything you can do to help them get a jump start on their agenda for the year.
- Given the somewhat cruisier-than-usual pace of January, consider getting out from behind your desk and enjoying some face-to-face contact with those clients and colleagues who are also in town – you might just discover that it’s possible to cement a contract or relationship that will reap benefits for months to come.
Accountability breeds action
For bonus points, find a buddy or a small group of mates who are at a similar stage in business to you and form a short-term accountability group to help you implement one key marketing or business improvement project over the holiday season.
You can do this with as big or small a group as you like, but I’ve found four to be an ideal number of people to work with because it allows a range of viewpoints and ideas to be shared in a reasonable amount of time. Short, sharp and on point is the name of the game!
To get this working for you, set up an agreed framework and accountability system. For example, you’ll want to know the answer to these questions before you get started and possibly before you start inviting your mates to participate:
1. How many weeks will your group run for?
2. How often will you get together during that time and for how long?
3. How much time will each individual allocate to their projects in between meetings? (The answer to this may vary between group members, but it’s the level of commitment that’s important, not necessarily the number of hours they plan to spend at their desk)
4. How will you stay accountable to each other in between times?
Once you’ve assembled your crew, the next step is for each individual to identify the one project they’re going to work on.
To gain maximum momentum from the experience, I recommend you each choose the single project you believe will have maximum impact on your business. It’ll often be something that you haven’t been able to tackle previously because it needs a clear head and a dedicated stretch of time which can be hard to come by when you’re in the thick of running your business day-to-day. (Check out some other ideas for your marketing marathon here).
Ideas for projects include creating new products or marketing content that you want to implement, overhauling your website, or setting up new systems to help make running your business more profitable, efficient or streamlined.
At your first accountability group get-together, invite each person to share their goal and the objectives they intend it to achieve. This is also a great time to ask others for ideas and input and to encourage your teammates to help keep you on track by making sure you’re not overcomplicating or oversimplifying things in your approach.
After that, have everyone break down their projects into bite-sized steps, and tell the team what progress they plan to have made by your next meeting.
Then it’s time for a celebratory beer, a dip in the pool, or both – it is the holidays after all!
Later, slot your commitments into your schedule, planning for intensely focused and productive work sprints interspersed with a bit of family time, socialising or lolling about at the beach.
Rinse and repeat for the month of January on a regular basis and my experience has been that you’ll make far more progress on your marketing goals than you would by going it alone at the same time of year.
How awesome and in control will you feel with some super new resources or supportive structures in place to help you make marketing magic in the months ahead?
Got any additional suggestions for starting the New Year off with a marketing blitz? If so, we’d love it if you’d share them in the comments below.