Make These 3 Business Resolutions for the New Year

Maple Ridge Farms Team

A new year feels like a fresh start. The ball drops, and you have so many goals and dreams for the year ahead. Have you made your business and professional resolutions for 2020?

Whether you make New Year’s resolutions or set goals throughout the year, remember to make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Based). It’s difficult to achieve a goal or resolution if it’s vague or unmeasurable. Also, try breaking down your goals or resolutions into smaller steps. As you make progress towards your goal, you’ll be motivated to keep going. Don’t lose sight of your resolutions while getting bogged down in the day-to-day grind.

While you’re making resolutions, don’t forget about your business or professional life. Below are three key areas that you can focus on when setting goals professionally. If you have employees or business partners, invite them to participate too!

Continue Your Education

We’re big believers in continuing education on the Farm, so we always support and encourage Ridgers who are interested in professional development. Last year alone, all full-time members of our team achieved their Trained Advertising Specialist (TAS) certification, while others have achieved or are working towards their Certified Advertising Specialist (CAS) or Master Advertising Specialist (MAS) certifications. A thorough understanding of our industry will help you better serve your customers and deliver solutions that work for them.

There are several ways to continue your education in our industry, such as:

  • Attending educational sessions at industry events, including the PPAI Expo, ASI Shows and regional association events
  • Attending webinars on topics you’re interested in learning more about
  • Going on factory tours and/or meeting with supplier representatives to explore their lines
  • Earning your professional certification from PPAI or ASI

If you’re interested in growing your food gifts business (all year long), we offer both live and on demand webinars and sales tools videos to help you succeed. We’re also happy to schedule a webinar specifically for your group, so you can have your own private learning session.   

Network Your Way to Success

We’re in a relationship business, so it makes sense to have as many strong relationships in our industry as possible. Networking events are one way to meet new people and strengthen relationships, although there are numerous ways to get involved.

Strengthen your industry network by:

Networking events or activities can propel your career to new levels or create new opportunities for you. At the very least, you’ll get to know more people in the industry, and life’s more fun when other people are along for the ride!

“Don’t just sit in the back of the room at Expo and absorb the knowledge and take notes. Engage with your neighbor. Ask questions. Connect with the speaker on LinkedIn or Facebook, or send them a personal email thanking them for sharing their knowledge.” -Jessica Gibbons-Rauch, Is Your Net Working? Lessons Learned from Networking in the Promo Industry

New to our industry? Review A Promo Mixer: The New Distributor’s Guide to Finding Your Tribe.

Focus on Your Current Clients

Like most business owners and professionals, you’re probably eager to grow your sales. But are you looking for new business in the right places?

Focus on your current clients first for a few reasons. One, they’ve already decided to work with you, so they deserve your full attention and best service. Don’t make them feel like they’re no longer as important to you, because you’re only interested in landing new clients. Plus, it’s good for business. It costs at least five times more to land a new customer than to keep an existing one, and increasing your customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. [Sources: Invesp, Bain & Company]    

Two, delivering an exceptional customer experience will encourage your clients to refer new customers to you. Word-of-mouth marketing is so powerful, and nothing beats a personal referral! In fact, the lifetime value of a referred customer is 25% higher than the lifetime value of your other customers. [Source: Wharton School of Business] In addition to delivering a memorable customer experience, it’s helpful to set up a referral or customer loyalty program.

Three, focusing your attention and resources on your current clients will help you grow your business with them. Take time to proactively discuss their pain points and challenges, so you can recommend personalized solutions tailored to their needs. Your current business with a client may only be a fraction of the business they’re doing within your capabilities. Are you known as the promo guy or the apparel lady? Do your clients know the full extent of your capabilities? By discussing their overall needs and opportunities, you’ll find opportunities to grow your business with them. For example, did you know there’s at least three opportunities with every one of your customers to sell food gifts? It’s true! Chew on this food for thought before your next promotion or event.   

First Steps to Success: Tips for Food-Gift Selling First-Timers

How can you focus the spotlight on your current clients?

  • Understand their style/preferences so you can send them relevant ideas
  • Set up reminders for reorders and recurring projects
  • Send suggestions/schedule meetings well in advance of holidays and events
  • Communicate via their preferred channels
  • Schedule a quarterly (or bi-annual) review (and bring treats!)  

Happy New Year from all of us on the Farm!

Make 2020 your best year in business yet. Resolve to continue your education, network your way to success and focus on your current clients. We’re looking forward to working with you on all your food gift needs this year. Wishing you a safe and prosperous 2020!

Making your business or professional resolutions? Share them with us on social!