It’s hard to believe Memorial Day is right around the corner. The beginning of summer means the end of the school year, the opening of swimming pools (in many places), the beginning of vacation season, and more. For businesses, it is time for the mid-year course correction.
June is the ideal time to review all corporate plans, strategies, goals, and assumptions. It is the time to take stock of what is working and what is not. Based on your evaluation, you will make course corrections in several areas to ensure goal achievement.
For most firms, there are seven things to evaluate and possibly modify at mid-year.
1. Review the sales and revenue budget. Is your revenue on track to achieve your projections? If you are ahead of budget, you must determine if sales will continue to exceed expectation. If you expect a budget surplus, how will you allocate the extra revenue? Is production on pace to supply needed product on time? If you are falling short of budget projections, you must honestly assess the possibility of a revenue increase in the second half of the year. A revenue shortfall typically requires some adjustment to spending. Where will you make cuts in order to end the year in the black?
2. Review all expense categories. Are all expense line items on budget? Are the programs and activities achieving the expected goals? You will want to identify any dismal failures. No business leader can afford to continue to fund a project or effort that is realizing a negative return on investment. (For marketing, see below, #7.) For each line item in your budget, try to determine
a. What is a complete failure? You will stop doing this and reallocate all remaining funds budgeted to other activities successfully driving positive return on investment.
b. What has not performed as expected, but should turn around with more time? If this is an important project and the eventual benefits are worthwhile, you must ask if is worth the present level of resource allocation. If not, you must decide whether to increase or decrease resources.
c. What has not performed as expected and likely will not do any better with additional time and resources. For these efforts, you will want to make a graceful exit (if the project is public). Next, you will need to evaluate the effort, learn what you can, and decide how to reallocate resources dedicated to this project.
d. What has been more successful than expected? Can you maximize the success with additional resource allocations? Where will you find the additional resources? Conduct a careful analysis of why the effort was so successful. What did you learn?
3. Analyze your cash flow, all changing expenses (employee health care coverage), tax law changes, compliance requirements, and risk management.
4. Review all product and/or service offerings. a. What should you drop? b. What should you modify? c. What needs additional marketing/sales attention? d. What does not fit the current and future vision of the company?
5. Have you identified new product/service opportunities? What is the development timeline? How will they help you create competitive advantage? Do you have the resources at this time to develop them? If not, where will you find the necessary resources?
6. Analyze the competitive landscape. Where do you have a clear advantage? What can you do to maximize the advantage? Where are you on a par with your competitors? Is there a way to gain the advantage? Do you have the resources? Where are you behind your competitors? Should you stop trying to compete on these points? What can you do to become more competitive?
7. Evaluate your marketing programs. Review and assess the effectiveness of each type of marketing program or campaign. In today’s market, you would do well to give special attention to Social Media programs and to Content development. a. Which programs and campaigns are working? Can you optimize these for greater results? Do you have the resources to do so? b. Which programs and campaigns are not working? Why are they not working? Determine whether they are failing because of implementation or because they are a mismatch for your goals. Decide whether to drop the effort, outsource the program, or make a personnel change. c. Evaluate your content development program. Do you have the talent to produce the quantity and quality needed for a content marketing strategy? Should you hire for this need or outsource to content marketing specialists? d. Evaluate your Social Media presence. Do you have the talent and the employee time to manage your social media presence internally? Is your current program effective? Should you leave things as they are, – work in-house, hire a specialist, or outsource the function? e. Is your customer service team able to handle customer service on Social Media? If not, what will you do to meet this pervasive customer expectation?
The seven items outlined here are not a comprehensive list of all areas of companies that you should analyze at mid-year. However, this list will get you started and should ensure you review the most important areas. When your review and analysis is complete, you will be in a position to make helpful mid-year course corrections. This approach will limit the money you invest in unsuccessful efforts, help you keep your goals front and center, and allow you to maximize successes achieved in the first half of the year.
If you need assistance evaluating your marketing program or managing your inbound marketing, content development and Social Media efforts, we are here to help. Please call us at 540-772-1724, or visit us online at http://www.littleblackdogsocialmedia.com.