1. Revamp your Business Performance Dashboard

As the pilot of your business, what gauges and controls are on your dashboard? Without the right indicators, you have no way of determining the optimum altitude and speed to get your business to your desired destination.

If you’re monitoring your business and making management decisions based on a traditional profit and loss statement, it’s time to think about a more useful, proactive set of metrics, rather than just measurement for measurement’s sake.

Justin Dry, co-founder of online wine juggernaut and 2015 online retailer of the year Vinomofo, takes a unique approach to business metrics.

Vinomofo is an Australian online wine brand that has set an enviable pace for other e-tailers to follow. Since its launch less than seven years ago, its sales have grown to over $50 million per annum.

With a soaring online business and every conceivable report on consumer behaviour at their fingertips, Vinomofo’s management runs their business with a dashboard that might perplex most business owners.

According to co-founder Justin Dry, they have a different set of metrics today than they did in the early days.

“Many business owners measure things that they think they should be measuring, but they’re reports that don’t have a lot of depth or meaning,” he says, admitting that it was a trap he fell into in the early days of Vinomofo.

“Today we track more meaningful metrics such as customer happiness,” Justin adds, explaining that there is a definitive link between that and financial return.

“We know that if our customers are happy and having a great experience with Vinomofo, sales are up, average dollar spend is up and our return on invested marketing dollar is healthy.”

Focusing on the happiness of customers has simplified the dashboard of metrics and given the broader team a solid focus.
“If you have happy customers, everything else looks after itself,” says Justin.

Other metrics to consider including on your 2017 dashboard and monitor on a weekly or monthly basis:

  • Number of new enquiries
  • Number of new customers
  • Average dollar spend per customer per transaction
  • Average number of transactions per customer
  • Number of positive online reviews
  • Social media growth/engagement

2. Consider Outsourcing

Outsourcing is a touchy subject for many people and I’ve had many business owners challenge me on the argument for outsourcing. So firstly, to debunk some myths and mistruths about outsourcing:

  1. We are operating in a global economy. Regardless of whether or not your business operates beyond Australian shores, staying competitive means operating with a global mindset.
  2. Hiring offshore staff does not mean you’re taking away jobs from Australian workers. Once you explore how outsourcing can benefit your business, you’ll realise that you can afford to fill positions – part time and full time ­­– you just wouldn’t be able to with locally based employees.
  3. Outsourcing often creates jobs for Australians. Outsourcing is not always about cutting your wages bill and reducing overheads, it enables you to leverage resources and free your time to grow your business in new and exciting ways, which often creates jobs locally.
  4. Outsourced staff are easy to manage. By utilising the incredible technologies we have access to, managing an offshore staff member can be as simple and seamless as having them in your business (without all the associated overheads).

There are literally hundreds of ways you can use outsourcing, but here are five to consider as a start:

Admin and bookkeeping

Having an offshore virtual assistant and/or bookkeeper can significantly reduce your costs for low-level data entry and bookkeeping, allowing you to invest more money into marketing and growing your business.

Marketing and social media

Imagine if you had a dedicated marketing assistant for three days a week to help you with data entry, social media management, campaign management, publicity and even list building. For just a few hundred dollars a week, all this is possible.

Blogging and website updates

If keeping your website and online content is costing you more time and money than you’d like, a dedicated offshore resource to manage this will cost you a fraction of someone in Australia.

Customer service

Imagine if you had a dedicated customer service person to follow up on orders and add that personal touch to every transaction and generate repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals. With an outsourced resource, that level of service is affordable.

Video marketing

If you want to dominate social media this year, video content is a must – it is the most effective way to grow your reach and engagement. An offshore video editor makes producing professional video content quick and affordable.
The best way to explore exactly what outsourcing can do for your business, sit down and write a list of all the
things you do in your business that someone else could do. Once you offload all the tasks and jobs that take up your time unnecessarily, you can invest more time and money in marketing your business.

3. Buddy Up

Ever considered joint venture marketing? It’s a marketing exercise where you tap into the customer list of another business, and vice versa.

For example, a joint venture might exist between a hair salon and fashion boutique, where the salon and the boutique owner might agree that each will endorse the other business to their respective customer lists in the form of a special offer. This is what’s called a two-way JV.

Another option could be a one-way campaign, where you negotiate a JV promotion with another business that has your ideal client base by constructing an offer to be promoted to that database. You might pay a percentage of sales to the JV partner as a reward for access to their list or reward them in some other way.

You could even make your joint venture arrangement purely social media-based, where you both agree to a series of promoted posts on your Instagram and Facebook feeds. Or you could run a VIP night, seminar or event exclusively for your JV partner’s clients.
As you can see, the format of your JV is limited only by your imagination.

The best way to get started on joint venture marketing is to do just that – get started. Sit down and write a list of businesses or brands in your area that are complementary to you – in other words, they have a similar target audience. Approach them with a JV concept and see where the discussion takes you. It could be the start of a whole new customer base for you.

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