7 Steps to Retreating, Reflecting, and Re-Strategizing in your Small Business

As a small business owner, I can attest that all of the new technologies, marketing techniques, and advice can make you feel overwhelmed, unorganized, and confused. The key is to stay focused, coherent, and consistent with what works for you. A good old fashioned retreat and look into a reflection pool is beneficial. I recently put my company through a series of exercises that I’ll share with you here.

First, I took time to retreat and reflect on who our niche market is. I began by listing all of our past customers. We have subcontracted to subcontractors and I included all customers served whether we had a direct contractual agreement with them or not.

Second, I studied all of our past customers. I developed 6 Excel spreadsheets and bar charts to describe our past customers in the following 7 categories:

(1) Customers’ Race
(2) Customers’ Gender
(3) Customers’ Profession
(4) Our Marketing Methods than Won the Deal
(5) Customers’ Geographic Location
(6) Customers’ Industry Type
(7) Type of Service provided to the Customer

Third, with our customer information in hand, I revisited the fundamental identity of my company. I gave thought to what we do best and where our strengths lie so that we can build on our strengths. For my firm, it is our emphasis on research, analysis, strategy, and legal compliance. Our clients have been primarily white men in the land development construction arena. Most were referred to us. The referrals came from complimentary service providers that we do not compete with. Most were in our home state. The services have been related to public outreach and buy-in, business writing, and strategic planning.

Strategic Planning Retreat Fulton County, GA Health

Fourth, I developed a clear idea of how we create value. We offer 20 services, so I worked on each service area. I came up with unique, clear, concise, and compelling sales propositions for each of the service areas. I listed ways our services are unique in terms of customer benefits. I then listed the pain points for each service we offer. Reviewing customer testimonials, words of praise, and recommendations helped to see our customers’ perspective of why we are still in business. I am not integrating all of this into our marketing materials as we are in the process of freshening all of that up!

Fifth, I drafted a description of the number one thing I want our prospects to know about what we do and how it will benefit them.

Sixth, I drafted a list of 10 categories of people most likely to want our services. They include:

(1) land development managers
(2) architects
(3) civil site development engineers
(4) surveyors
(5) community development managers and grassroots organization’s leaders
(6) external affairs or community affairs department directors
(7) attorneys and procurement officials seeking training, legal research and writing assistance
(8) chamber directors seeking training seminars
(9) higher education continuing education directors
(10) small business owners in need of business writing services and coaching

Seventh, I listed our top strategic priorities. For my firm, the current priorities are all focused on implementing tools to generate income via ecommerce and web stores. I put the top five (5) priorities on Q cards and posted them to a task cork board. I also wrote the tasks in my calendar to make sure they would be given priority and would get done.

Have you studied your customer pool? If so, what was your approach?

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.
Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Contact Clovia at http://www.lemongrassplanning.com or follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans

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One Response to “7 Steps to Retreating, Reflecting, and Re-Strategizing in your Small Business”

  1. 3 resources to help you get away from your business Says:

    […] Rethink your customers and your direction. Clovia Hamilton went through some precise reevaluation of her small business’s customers and […]

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