The end of June has arrived – and we’re about to, officially, step into the second half of 2018. Scary? If you take a few minutes to think back on the goals you’d set for your business at the start of the year, are you left with a feeling of confidence or dread?
What was the old Sydney Sheldon adage about best laid plans, and them going awry? We don’t think that’s necessarily true – depending, of course, on what those plans are. And as we step into the second half of the year, you’re most likely in the heat of tracking reality vs intention, company reports and mid-year milestones.
We’re also heading into a potentially troublesome 3rd quarter fraught with summer holidays, absence of key decision-makers and that one key deal that you’ve been holding onto could quickly become derailed.
You’re either feeling confident about reporting back to your key stakeholders, or you’re mildly panicking and having to re-align your target to a more realistic, justifiable one. Wherever you are – H2 is here – and we share some tips on how you can end 2018 on a solid note – setting you up for an even better 2019.
Close what you can – realistically.
The 3rd sales quarter is often a challenging one. Now is the time to start reviewing your sales pipeline – focus on the prospects that realistically are set to close this quarter, and close them. Work with your teams to re-align a realistic pipeline in a safe and engaging environment. Business leaders often fall prey to the pressure of 3rd quarter absence – a pressure that is steamrolled onto the team. The result: you get the answers you’re looking for, but they’re completely the wrong answers. And by default, you’re disappointed, and dare we say it, surprised, when those opportunities don’t close. During this time, you’re going to want to build on the hard work you’ve put in during Q1 and Q2 – to close what you realistically can – giving your prospective decision-makers, who may be on holiday in the South of France, the chance to get back, and secure your services for the new year.
Clarify your direction
This may also be the time when you feel like things become stagnant. Business may not be as busy as you’d like it to be – again, the dreaded Q3-lull. But that doesn’t mean that things need to stop. There’s probably a little pile of post-it notes that have been gathering dust for years, sitting on the edge of your desk – that pile you assign to the “when I have time” category. Now’s the time. 2019 may be 6 months away, but no doubt you’ve spent many hours rooting through a business growth strategy – and although you may have a clear picture of where you’re going, now’s the time to focus on those areas within your strategy that you simply never have time to review. Where can you save costs? Where can you help your team become more productive? Where can you free up resource to uncover new revenue streams within your business? Ask your team’s feedback on new opportunities for revenue and how they see the overall strategy going.
Re-visit your Marketing Plan
Customer and consumer behaviour changes like the wind. But sometimes, our strategies are so embedded in our infrastructure that it’s like trying to re-design an airplane mid flight. It shouldn’t be. As an agile organisation, you should be able to take stock, evaluate and shift focus when the need arises – and that includes, especially, your marketing plan. Probably one of your largest functional budgets in your business, your marketing needs to be tailored to ensure that you’re speaking to the right people, you’re spreading the right message, you’re setting out the right call to action, and that your entire business is consistent to your efforts. Re-visiting your plan doesn’t necessarily mean re-creating what you’ve spent days (even months) putting together. It simply means to check that you’re still on track, and that your track is still where you want to be headed.
Gear up against cybercrime
How secure is your business? How many threats have you had to fight off this year so far? How many new members of your team have you added – and how confident are you that they’re up to speed with your security protocol? Complacency is the biggest trojan horse for cyberattack – simply because of a “it will never happen to us”. Let’s face it – cyber criminals are becoming smarter, by the hour. And whether it’s a full-on ransomware attack, or simply a disgruntled employee who has access to systems that shouldn’t have, you’re at risk of some seriously crippling cyber threats. Sit down with your IT team (whether in-house, or external), and review your areas of risk, your security protocol, your IT and on-boarding procedure for new starters – and get yourself protected for 2019.
Gear up for Growth
If the next 3 years are your years of growth, and you’re ready to expand your business horizon, then you should be thinking about finance options. Perhaps you have already been – but you’ve lost hope because you simply don’t know which financing is right for you. Now is the perfect time to start a conversation. Find yourself a business advisor who is able to discuss and understand your business needs, your growth prospects and who can advise you on the best growth path for your business – whether you choose to list as a public business, obtain financing from a corporate venture, or simply find a private investor to back your growth prospects. A lot of work will be required of you when you set off on this journey, so make sure the conversations you’re having set you up for success, and provide a service that walks the journey with you – every step.
Map out your financial forecast for 2019
You’re probably already doing that. Great! It may only be 6 months away – but knowing what your spend will be, and predicting where your revenue may lead is a fine art that should be based on reality, and trust, within your teams. You may want to spend some time talking to your key customers and understanding their own growth plans for 2019 – understanding where you fit into the picture, you may want to explore a market that as yet, you haven’t successfully tapped into, you may feel that it’s time to take a different direction and you may even be confident enough to let a struggling revenue stream go which has been costing your business more than feeding into it. Whatever it is – the quieter period means that you have the time you need to spend with your strategic business partners (whether internally, or externally) to gauge where your business may be financially for 2019. And then start planning for it.
Gear up your housekeeping
Getting rid of driftwood is the first way to clear the waters for smoother sailing. Now is the perfect time to review cumbersome business processes that overload the team and keep them from being agile and fully-receptive to new business opportunities. Challenge stagnating cultural behaviour within your business that is holding you back from moving forward. Move what you can to digital and build robust processes that support and drive as opposed to restrict. Even if it simply means cleaning up filing cabinets and broken furniture. It’s a start – and you’d be amazed how a fresh, cleaner outlook affects your teams, and ultimately, your bottom line!