Are we there yet?
Those four words conjure up road trips from many years past. Before we were out of town, someone would be asking, “Are we there yet?” Generations of kids have badgered their parents with that universal question. In business, a better question is: How will we know when we're there?
I'm a rare Wyoming native who has never been to Nebraska. Laramie is my hometown, just a few Interstate miles from the Nebraska border. But so far, I've never been in Cornhusker territory. Why? Because (with all due respect to my Nebraska friends) I've never had a reason. I've never made a plan.
Once, when severe boredom was closing in, I recruited several college buddies to head out on a Nebraska adventure. The adventure ended 45 minutes later in Cheyenne. Cheyenne Frontier Days activities were just warming up. In the excitement of the moment, we got sidetracked. Our motivation to see the sights of Nebraska evaporated. We did get to a “there” but the “there” wasn't Nebraska. We failed because we didn't have a plan.
In January I encouraged my readers to take stock of where their businesses are and where they are going. I offered 10 tips for improving the bottom line during the new year and suggested that every business have a viable and up-to-date communication/marketing plan.
So how are you doing?
We have officially entered the second half of 2015. When it comes to developing that communication/marketing plan, are we there yet? Do you have a plan or is one still under consideration? Have goals, timelines and tactics been moved to the front burner? Are there clearly defined goals so you won't have to ask if your business is there yet? With a solid plan in place, you will know where you are and what is coming next.
Much has happened since January. Some businesses have gained ground. Others have faltered or fallen back. They aren't sure where they're headed or when they will get there. They're going through motions, but absent a plan they're not getting much action.
Even businesses with solid plans in place can benefit from a mid-year review. How is the plan you made six months ago holding up under current conditions? What is working and can be expanded? Are there plan elements that haven't panned out? Should those elements be reconfigured or abandoned in favor of better strategies? Are new goals and strategies being implemented to capitalize on new opportunities? And this – the biggest question of all: Is your business growing and profiting because it is just happening or because you're making it happen?
Mid-year also is a good time to check in with current and prospective clients or customers. What is their view of you? Do they know all that you have to offer? Are they receptive to the messages you're putting out? Do they have suggestions, criticisms or feedback that might bring your communication/marketing plan into sharper focus.
Some business colleagues confess that they're pretty much winging it. With minor modifications, they're doing what they've been doing and hoping that customers/clients will keep coming through their doors. They're quick to agree that a comprehensive plan is a good thing and it is on their bucket list. They're definitely going to get going on a communication/marketing plan one of these days.
That's why I've never gotten closer to Nebraska than hearing Peyton Manning yell “Omaha!” But Nebraska remains on my bucket list and I'll get there one of these days.
I've already made it from Laramie to Cheyenne.
Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising.
Visit www.comm-concepts.com or call 303-651-6612.