What are your business goals for 2019? Increase revenue? Cut unnecessary spending? Decrease employee turnover? Those are sensible goals, but how will you reach them?
As you take stock of the last year’s accomplishments and set your sights on new ones, remember what poet Antoine de Saint Exupéry said: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Here are some concrete steps you can take to grow and strengthen your business in 2019.
1. Improve internal communication
Without robust internal communication, time and energy is wasted, misunderstanding and resentment take root, employees feel undervalued, and good ideas fall by the wayside.
Establish a procedure: Every employee should know who they should go to with questions or concerns and how. Is email the preferred mode of communication? Instant message? In person? We love Slack here at Spatial Networks, but sometimes a face-to-face chat is the most efficient way to get your ideas across. (Voice or video calling on Slack works great when in-person isn’t possible.)
Set an agenda: How many hours did you waste this year in meetings that went nowhere? In 2019, vow to start every meeting by establishing its purpose and the action items that should come out of it.
Hold 1-on-1s: Keep communication lines open by scheduling regular 1-on-1s between each team member and their direct manager. Even if it’s just once or twice a year, having a meeting on the books lets employees know their input is valued and their concerns will be heard. This makes it easier for reticent team members to discuss ideas and issues, because they don’t have to take the sometimes-difficult first step of requesting a meeting — it’s already scheduled.
Be open to criticism: It’s not always easy to hear when an employee voices a complaint, but it’s important to listen. Remember that leadership sets the tone!
2. Help your employees grow
Burned-out employees cost an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion per year in health care costs, according to the Harvard Business Review, and a recent study found that 23% of workers report feeling burned out at work “very often” or “always.”
A great way to energize your team is to send your employees to conferences and industry events.
When your employees travel to conferences, not only do they come back refreshed and inspired, they:
- Become ambassadors for your company, increasing awareness of your brand
- Make new connections that introduce them (and your company) to new opportunities
- Bring new skills and ideas back to your business
- Feel valued and trusted, which boosts their loyalty and improves retention
In fact, people who are given the opportunity to continually develop are twice as likely to say they will spend their career with a company than those who aren’t, according to Gallup research.
Encourage employee growth closer to home with office mentoring programs, cross-training, lunch-and-learns, and even tuition reimbursement.
3. Give something away
Philanthropy is simply good business. Yes, it feels good to give back to your community, but it also increases your company’s visibility and attracts new partners, clients, and revenue.
To get the most value from your charitable acts, give back in a way that makes sense for your business. That might mean donating your time, your money, your products, or all three.
For example: At Spatial Networks, we offer Fulcrum Community, a way for people to use our mobile data collection app for humanitarian projects at no cost.
When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in 2017, people used Fulcrum Community to locate residents who needed rescue, as well as shelters and other resources. It felt great to know we contributed to the relief efforts, plus we were able to introduce a broader audience to our software and the general concept of geographic information systems! (Our CEO, Tony Quartararo, also matched donations made by staff members to the recovery effort.)
Another way to double down on charitable contributions is to volunteer your (and your employees’) time. In October, the Spatial Networks staff spent several hours making and distributing sack lunches to the less fortunate in downtown St. Petersburg. In addition to giving us a sense of satisfaction and pride in our company, we came out of the exercise a stronger team, having worked together in an entirely new way.
4. Go paperless — finally
If, like many companies, you’ve been talking about “going paperless” for the last decade, make 2019 the year you turn it into reality!
Switching from paper to mobile forms is not only better for the environment, it reduces business costs.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the average organization spends:
- $20 to file one paper document
- $120 searching for each misfiled document
- $220 recreating a lost document
Altogether, U.S. companies spend more than $450 billion a year managing paperwork.
On top of the costs of paper, printers, ink, filing, and storage, mobile forms save you time by allowing your remote teams to share information instantly. No more waiting until the end of the day for data from the field, and no more time-consuming, error-prone data-entry processes. That means projects get finished faster!
With a mobile data collection app like Fulcrum, you can do anything you would normally do with paper forms — inspections, inventories, field surveys, asset and facilities management, work orders and more — but faster and with more accuracy.
5. Improve your sales follow-up
Following up with prospects and former customers is a surefire way to boost your revenue in 2019. Talk about low-hanging fruit!
The people in your database are there because they have already had some contact with your company, so they know who you are and (probably) what you do — that’s half the marketing battle! Now your sales team just needs to convince them that they need what you offer.
According to Marketing Donut, only 2% of sales occur during the first call. That means 98% of sales are closed with follow-up!
Think about your experience as a consumer. Your email inbox (or perhaps your spam folder) is probably full of special offers from businesses you have interacted with. There’s a good reason for that: it works. No one would do it if it didn’t! (Even if you, as a prospect, find it annoying.)
Remember that your prospects’ answer isn’t simply “No,” but “Not right now.” If you don’t follow up, you’re leaving money on the table, full stop. That’s a bad business habit that deserves to be left behind!
We hope we’ve given you some inspiration for ways to crush your business goals in 2019. And if you’re ready to take the first step toward a paperless office, sign up for a free trial of Fulcrum today!
Have a happy and prosperous new year!
Fulcrum is a data collection platform that enables businesses to reduce costs, access critical data in real time, and improve decision making at every level. With Fulcrum, you can create custom apps using our simple drag-and-drop builder to turn your paper documents into digital forms that your field teams can quickly complete on mobile devices.