Leading On Business: Reality Check For Your Business

Are you being transparent with yourself about your business results?

Are you seeing it like it is, or are you painting a rosy picture to make yourself feel better about spending so much time on social media, time which, if you are perfectly honest with yourself, may not have added anything to your business bottom-line?realitycheck

Have you’ve already done your strategic planning for the rest of the year?

Unless you take an honest look at what has worked for you in the past, what didn’t work (and more importantly) the “why”, your planning for the future will be out of sync with accomplishing your future goals and meeting your objectives by year end.

Here are five questions to ask when you decide to do a “Reality Check”

1. How do you rate your customer engagement?

This question can be taken several ways. Are you having positive or negative conversations with your clients or customers? Is more of your engagement positive? What percentage of clients that started doing business during the year, two years are still with you, and will they continue with you? This can also be the loyalty ingredient; are your existing customers recommending you? How many recommendations do you get? Has this volume increased over the year? Has it decreased?

Why is your customer engagement increasing, or decreasing, and what do you attribute this to? Find out! Then plan more/less of the same in your current business strategy focus.

2. Are you getting your just desserts?

Are your marketing, PR and social media efforts paying off? Is your social media focus adding to your bottom line? Can you actually measure what is working and what is not? Is your payback only equal to your efforts, or are you in fact making a profit? Even the time you spend marketing on social media should be included in the cost of selling, because what many people fail to acknowledge is that your time on social media is not free!

You spent 120 hours on twitter, FB and G+ in a particular month, and you made a $2500 sale to someone you met on one of your social platforms. That’s just over $20 an hour; is that what your time is worth, MBA and all?

3. Are you meeting your customer’s needs?

Your customer’s needs may have changed over the past year or even months, were you able to flex with them?

Even more to the point, are you still solving your customer’s problems or pain points? Customer development never stops.

4. What do you need to change and why?

How many of you will answer, “I don’t need to change anything”? Probably not many, as in today’s rapidly changing business environment, those who can flex the fastest to meet their customers changing needs are the ones still in business, making money and loving every minute of it!

Your ongoing success comes down to pinpointing what needs to be changed and why.

5. Do you love or hate your business?

I often hear”I love my business but it’s getting harder and harder to deal with my customers”, or “it’s getting harder and harder to keep my customers”, or “harder and harder to find my customers”!

What does that tell you? Maybe the business you first started is not the same one you are engaged in now; either because your focus has changed, or your customer’s focus has changed. Perhaps it’s time for (another) complete business reality check!

Summary

When I’ve implemented a reality check, I most often uncover key elements, which are very helpful in designing my strategy for the future. Some of the decisions to be made moving forward are no so easy, however there is no time like the present to delete the old and get on with something new.

This post has been modified and republished with permission from Casudi (Caroline) Di Diego

CASUDI aka Caroline Di Diego
Caroline Di Diego aka CASUDI is a Social Media whisperer helping Brands, Communities and individuals find their social voice. She is the creator of the successful Entrepreneurs Questions blog; an effective self-help resource for Entrepreneurs. She is an award winning documentary film-maker, using New-Media to tell people's stories with impact. Esse Group, boutique consultancy has been helping companies move from concept/chaos to fundable and or profitable for over 25 years. INCLINEDESIGN focuses on Architectural Design solutions. She is a Co-Founder of the non-profit BankOnRain, solving the global water crisis with an available resource, THINK RAIN! . She is an avid guest blogger
CASUDI aka Caroline Di Diego
CASUDI aka Caroline Di Diego

Comments

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6 Comments

  • April 27, 2014

    KDillabough

    Any day, every day, is a good time for a reality check. I call mine a “pulse check”, where I gauge the health and state of my business, and the mood and needs of my customers. Cheers! Kaarina

  • April 27, 2014

    AlaskaChickBlog

    CASUDI,
    Wonderful post to share! Yes, these are the hard ones- more so when we sit down with ourselves for a very transparent, raw-truth seeking way, even more so than when we do a full meeting of heads and spreadsheets. (I find) ~ I have gotten pretty good at being transparent, with myself and others over the last years. I found myself nodding along with your words- until I came to #5- and where you said “Maybe the business you first started is not the same one you are engaged
    in now; either because your focus has changed, or your customer’s focus
    has changed.” 
    Pioneer is 90 years old this year. Yes, everything has changed. The laws, people, weather… Most of all- the people. The new generation of Guides and well as the new generation of clients. This change was gradual, for a long time- and now very quickly, has completely and utterly become something different. The expectations with a heavy dose of what we here have discussed calling it the “entitled mindset”. So yes, I and we are working hard to adjust to this new way of thinking and to still be able to give people the joy, inspiration and fulfillment we have always provided.
    Thank you for sharing this!

  • April 27, 2014

    CASUDI

    AlaskaChickBlog Interesting you mention how your business has changed, a business started 90 years ago. I was having a discussion earlier today about attitudes towards wildlife management and how hunting is in some places a crucial ingredient where the predatory wildlife has been rendered extinct by the encroachment of man. The other person could not grasp this POV, and went on an anti rant. They had no concept of the balance of things in an environment that has been changed by “civilization”

    I give you a lot of credit for bringing your business in the 21st Century. And thanks again for continuing the conversation here, always appreciated AL.

  • April 28, 2014

    AlliPolin

    Incredibly helpful questions for every business owner to ask!  I think that if the answers tell us that it’s time for a change, it may feel scary or make us unsettled but it’s really for the best.  We all deserve to make an impact doing something we love and activity can obscure impact unless we’re intentional about looking under the covers.  Great questions CASUDI

  • April 28, 2014

    AliRodriguez

    Love this.  It inspires others to think of how the business is being sustained around their lifestyles and not the other way around.  And, that changes to a business does not equate  QUITTING.

  • May 1, 2014

    Bnixon1

    Great post Casudi, one every business owner should read.