As you can tell from our “State of the Industry” article starting on page 26, many experts believe the decorative concrete industry will experience large amounts of growth in 2015. That will come from new products and techniques, and a growing awareness of the versatility of decorative concrete.
Is your business poised to take advantage of that growth? One measure of a business’ strength lies in how quickly it can adjust to changes. There’s no better time than the beginning of a new year to look back on the past year and evaluate your business plan. Here are a few questions to keep you on track and focused.
1. What were your successes and strengths over the past year? Identify specifically what you can to do develop and enhance those strengths.
2. What didn’t work? What was challenging? Evaluate what didn’t work like you expected and learn from it. How did you positively address challenges and can you take even more specific steps to do better this year?
3. What were your missed opportunities? You may have overlooked an opportunity to take good pictures, send out a press release, attend a conference, advertise in a new way or make new business connections. Vow to act differently when the opportunity next presents itself.
4. How have your competitors changed? Your own marketing strategy should encompass offense and defense, so you can react flexibly to whatever your competition is doing — not to copy them but to keep an equal standing or better. If new competitors have entered the market, evaluate what makes them different and adjust your own strategies accordingly.
5. When was the last time you updated your website? If you can’t remember, it’s time to do it now. Add a new project to your portfolio. Change the description of your services to keep it updated and fresh.
6. What are your biggest opportunities this year? Opportunities in the industrial and commercial segment are growing rapidly. Develop case studies or cultivate relationships that will help you take advantage of the growth you are seeing in your area. Many experts see the renovation market continuing to grow.
7. What trends are you seeing in what your clients are asking for? Put what the market wants front and center in your marketing materials and in the supplies you sell, if applicable.
8. What industry changes will threaten your segment of the industry and how can you address them? For instance, Jennifer Wilson, brand manager for Rhino Linings, has observed that products are being reformulated, and companies in foreign countries are developing their own products, which means that the export market in the U.S. is decreasing.
9. Do you have the right people in your organization? Hire a marketer to take that work off your plate. Invest in trainings to make sure you have well-skilled employees. What skill sets is your organization missing? Can you provide that or do you need to outsource or hire new people?
10. What is your annual gross and net income goal? Break that down into a monthly figure and take steps to determine how you will get there.
11. What part of your business is under-performing? Evaluate what is not working to help you meet your targets. Do these sectors of your business need to be eliminated or do they need a push to help them move forward?
12. How are you supporting your industry? A rising tide floats all boats, as the saying goes. You can look out for yourself only, or you can attempt to develop and strengthen relationships with industry organizations, offer trainings or seek out partnerships with other people in your field who will help grow the industry as a whole.