New Year’s Resolutions do not have a good track record for success historically, so let’s not call it a resolution. There are steps you can take, some of them are not big steps, to make 2022 a momentous year.
However, the start of a new year is the perfect time to re-evaluate your life—both personally and professionally—to make changes, set goals, and try new tactics and methods that lead to improvement and success.
If creating a vision board inspires you and helps you take the steps for a successful year, then do it! If marking off days on the calendar inspires you — as Jerry Seinfeld recommends — do it. Everyone is different — capture what motivates you and use it to your advantage to achieve your 2022 goals.
As you leap into the new year, there are top trends to consider in your life — for business growth, personal growth, and marketing.
You operate a successful kitchen and bath business already, but how can you improve your business to be better than the year before? Stay focused. Be different. Stand out from your competitors.
- Find good collaborators — this includes vendors, contractors, and your own team of employees.
- Innovate in one or more areas of the business — Review your processes, services, and customer experience. Identify where you can make improvements. Find innovative solutions with these improvements to stay relevant in the market.
- Time management for big and small tasks — Avoiding procrastination, project delays, missing deadlines, and not using your time efficiently will hurt your business. Learning effective project management is key! (Start 2022 right — attend the SEN Project Management Course on Jan 12-13.)
- Plan ahead and set goals — Planning is the best way to “map” out your business and it’s the best chance for success. You’ll want to have a business plan, marketing plan, and a financial plan. Writing it down is a great first step leading to execution. It’s also a great way to hold yourself accountable. You now have “official” goals — now go out and accomplish them!
- Digital and cloud technologies — All businesses should have a strong digital presence. Internal communications can also benefit from innovative technology. Leveraging technology can help level the playing field with much larger companies who have large budgets.
- Family-first workplace values — The pandemic has brought work and home life closer together than ever before. People have begun to prioritize the work-life balance issue. You must do the same. Business is all about relationships, with both customers and prospects. Your employees are some of the most important people in your life.
- Hybrid workplaces — Allowing employees to choose their optimal work schedule is a great benefit and recruiting/retention tools.
- Networking — Meet people you do not currently know. Build relationships with prospects or possible partners/vendors. You never know where your next referral may come from.
- Digital marketing — With the many changes in our lives during and post-pandemic, many lifestyle changes are remaining. The digital transformation for many companies has been hastened and reaching your target audience through digital means is often more efficient than any other means.
- Coaching and mentoring of employees — Offering professional development and caring about your staff’s career path are more valuable than trendy perks like office ping pong tables. It’s a fantastic way to work towards employee retention.
- Strategic inventory management — Supply chain issues will be here for a while. It is important to think ahead and plan in advance for inventory you will need on hand.
- Maximum utilization of Google — Learn how to use Google to your advantage for your digital presence. This includes Google My Business, local services, ads, and search engine optimization. Did you ever notice when you enter a business into Google Maps, they provide you with things like hours of operation, menus, and other things pertinent to the business. This is the importance of your profile with Google.
- Invest in your brand identity — If you want to be a leader in your industry, a strong brand is vital — including personality, visuals, tone of voice, and values. Have you reviewed your brand lately?
- Some COVID changes become permanent — The way we did business in 2020 in the height of the pandemic leaves some processes and procedures still intact. Be sure to create processes that address the way we need to do business so that customers are comfortable with you.
- Concentrate on building long-term relationships — Sales is all about relationships. Make relationship-building a priority in 2022.
- Become a good writer — Professionals who are not writers by trade often feel insecure about publishing a written piece, like a blog. Get accustomed to writing! Regularly scheduled blog posts are valuable content and updating your website regularly with articles is good for SEO value.
- Be proactive improve your service — Stand out from a crowded field of competitors. Differentiate your company from everyone else through exceptional service.
- Review your team — Like your finances, continuously review your team. Make appropriate changes to maximize the talents and strengths of each team member. Sometimes this means making tough decisions about changes that are necessary.
- Be different — Think outside the box is more than simply a cliché. Be innovative. Use technology. The more you can differentiate your company from the competitors, the much better chance of success you have.
- Produce storytelling content — The more you can show prospects how you have solved problems and provided solutions to other customers, the easier it is for them to see how you can help them. You have many beautiful, completed projects to show where you can “tell the story.”
- Establish yourself as a thought leader — Establish your expertise and be the leader in your market. Show your knowledge and experience through excellent content, completed projects, events, speaker opportunities, networking, and your website.
- Set goals — Writing it down is a great first step leading to the step of execution. It’s also a great way to hold yourself accountable. You have your goals in writing — now go out and accomplish them!
- Manage customers’ expectations and make customer service a priority — Communication is key. Communicate often, especially with the supply chain issues, inflation, and labor shortage across many industries. Customer service seems to no longer be a priority for many businesses across multiple industries. You will stand out by merely being excellent at customer service.
- Give your customers a unique experience — Great customer experiences is a priority in business today. Customers want that. A unique experience is memorable. It will result in more business for your company.
- Customer retention — It is far less expensive retaining customers than new customer acquisitions, as much as 5-7X less. Stay closely connected to them. Learn what they like, what they want, and what they don’t like. Improve your processes and services after learning directly from current customer.
- Automation — Automate repetitive tasks. Relieve your staff of time-consuming and often repeated tasks.
- Invest in your people and talent retention — With the labor issues that many industries across the country are facing, it is important to success to build the best team possible…and then keep them. Offering professional development and ongoing education is one great way to recruit and retain.
- Create a marketing strategy — Do you have a marketing plan? If you do not, create one…today!
- Focus on educating, not hard-selling — Prospects do not want to be sold. And in today’s digital world, they can easily find a company that will not hard-sell them. They want information to make a decision.
- Connect with your customers via live chat — People like answers immediately. Live chat, whether on your website, or social media (like Facebook Messenger or Twitter direct message) is a great way to accomplish instant communication.
- Stay ahead of the trends with Nextdoor — In your local market, people are communicating with their neighbors every day. Be where your customers are. Nextdoor has business ads available.
- Website audit — Is your website user-friendly with a great customer experience? Is it easy to view completed projects through gorgeous photography or videos? Does your website have great content, so that it serves as your 24/7/365 salesperson?
- Exceptional photography — Professional photographs of your completed projects displays a higher level of professionalism and provides credibility to your company and its expertise. You can achieve much more with a single photograph than with pages of text. SEN Member, Lang’s Kitchen and Bath, does a great job with their photo galleries!
- Video — This is one of the most viewed mediums today. Research shows that video increases brand awareness by 70%, traffic by 51%, and sales by 34%. YouTube is the second largest search engine, second only to Google. SEN Member Kerstin Cobb with Kings Kitchen does an excellent job with her videos.
- Online appointment scheduling — Make it easy for your prospects to schedule time with you.
- Direct communication — With all the challenges of the kitchen and bath industry, communicate clearly and often with customers. Even if it’s bad news, communicate with them!
- Standardize systems and processes — When your entire team works the same way, based on your requirements, there is a better chance for success. The Good-Better-Best Sales Process is the perfect example. Every customer receives the same, excellent customer experience and it is in line with your brand standards.
- Know your numbers — You cannot know how successful you are or what problems you have if you do not know your financial numbers. The SEN 4-Day Executive Business School is a great place to learn these important lessons.
- Leverage technology — You can differentiate your company from your many competitors, be more productive with your time and resources, and provide an exceptional customer experience when you utilize the benefits of technology. For an industry-specific technology that can change the way you provide your services, consider DesignAlign for your company.
Grow as a person. It will improve your life and overall happiness. It will also improve your professional life. Like a business brand, you want to be known for your personal brand. Make it a great one that will make you proud.
- Get a mentor — Learn, confide, and learn some more. A mentor is an invaluable supporter in your life, whose only goal in your relationship is for you to succeed. Mentors are inspiring!
- Take care of your health — One of the most important aspects of your life, be vigilant with your health. Eat well. Exercise. Get enough sleep. Being healthy is one of the biggest contributing factors to reaching your goals.
- Do not neglect your family and friends — It is the never-ending quest for work-life balance. Do not be too busy to enjoy the important things, and people in your life.
- Be OK with the fact that everyone may not like you — Life can be tough. You have your goals. Others have their goals. Sometimes they can clash. Keep moving forward. What others think about you is really none of your business.
- Speak up if you disagree or think differently — Your opinion is as important as any other’s opinion. People respect others who stand up for themselves and their opinions.
- Cultivate a growth mindset — Always be thinking about how you can improve yourself. When you make it a priority in your life, you will accomplish it. Believe in yourself.
- Improve your presentation skills — Toastmasters comes to mind. Learn how to be comfortable speaking in front of people. It will change your life.
- Set boundaries — The natural inclination is to say yes to everything and everybody, in order to not disappoint anyone. Set reasonable boundaries for yourself so that you have every chance to accomplish your goals.
- Get out of your comfort zone and learn new skills — Try new things. Stretch your abilities. Maybe it is running a marathon or hiking a challenging mountain. It will inspire you in other areas of your life too. Always be learning. Knowledge is power. People are never sorry they learned something new, whether it is a professional or personal skill.
- Keep your goals top of mind by tracking — Keep your goals as a priority, something you are consistently and persistently working on. It is the only way they will get completed. Make the effort and keep yourself accountable.
- Share your goals with others — This is a great way to keep yourself accountable. Tell others and let them help you stay accountable.
- Cut yourself some slack — Not every effort will be a success. Don’t get discouraged and keep trying.
As you plan your marketing efforts for the new year, consider some other initiatives that you can execute which can help you reach your audience in innovative ways.
- Video marketers will keep content short — Video is an impactful marketing tool. The trend for 2022 is short video content. This will keep viewers’ attention and they will be open to viewing more video content from you.
- More consumers will hear branded audio content — Podcasts are popular content avenues for companies to explore. Audio content is portable. You can listen in a car, on a bus, during a flight, on a break, and just about anywhere. Consider audio content as a means to share your expertise.
- Video marketing will become crucial to the success of your marketing plan — If video is not part of your marketing plan today, when you go back to work after the new year, revise your plan and add video to it. It’s impactful and memorable.
- Social media content will become even more important for marketers — Be where your customers and prospects are. Social media platforms are the equivalent of digital word of mouth communications, with a much larger audience than traditional word of mouth.
- Marketing roles are evolving and will be less about the product and more about the customer’s needs — Marketing captures your prospect’s attention when it addresses their needs. Benefits and features are no longer a highlight in a marketing piece. Marketers are becoming educators and leaders rather than just advertisers. This reiterates an earlier point — people do not want to be sold. They want to be educated.
- Conversational marketing — It is customer-centric and capitalizes on real-time conversations. Live chat, chatbots, and messaging apps enable these one-on-one conversations. It captures the audience in the real-time moment and has become an important marketing tool.
- Content articles need to be longer — Stay updated on the requirements because Google often changes these requisites. In the past couple of years, it was better to have shorter content. Now Google is indexing longer content as a priority.
- Optimize all your content for voice search — The way people search for companies to provide them they services they are seeking has changed. Think about voice search as a relatively new method — including Alexa, Siri, and other competitor voice search methods. Your content is more important than ever. Make sure it is good, informative, and educational.
- Focus on Customer Retention, Loyalty and Testimonials — It is a smart area of focus for businesses today. You already have a captive audience in current customers. And retention is far less expensive than new customer acquisition. There is no better marketing than a happy customer who advocates on your behalf. Advocacy is inexpensive too! In this digital world we live in, peer recommendations often play a big part in the decision-making process of a purchase or engagement with a company.
- Live Video — Utilizing everything in the marketing tool belt, live video in social media platforms is an engaging tool that turns into great content. Video is a definite “must” in 2022 and great variety of video types is smart.
Happy New Year and enjoy a prosperous 2022!