The first six months of 2016 have come and gone (I can’t believe it, either) but that means there are just six more months to complete the business goals you set back in December and January (or earlier). Recently, VendingMarketWatch and Automatic Merchandiser staff held our annual mid-year review. We stepped away from email and the daily grind and took a day to sit down together and go over our goals from last year—as well as the results of our goals. Were we hitting our targets? What were our priorities? Were we sticking to those priorities or were we weak in some places? Did our priorities change? These were just a few of questions we discussed as a staff.
Now that we are coming to the last half of the year, I hope our readership is taking time to step away from the hustle and bustle and do that same thing: focusing on goals and finishing out a strong 2016.
Reevaluate your goals
An annual meeting should include the decision makers of the company as well as feedback from employees gathered in prior days or weeks. If you’re a small vending operation, this meeting may include all of your staff. One of the most important things to do is to write down the goals set 6-12 months ago. Were your original goals achievable and realistic? In the first six months of the year, how close are you to achieving your goals? For example, let’s say one goal was to add cashless readers to 20% of your machines in 2016. At the mid-way point are you 100% to your goal? 50% to your goal? 10% to your goal? Reevaluating your goals (and reiterating WHY they matter) will help better focus your momentum in the back half of the year.
Review procedures and processes
Why you do things the way you do them matters. Processes become more efficient with technology or through different techniques, so if you’re doing things the way you’ve always done them, ask yourself WHY....and is there another way to do them better? Perhaps this might mean auditing route drivers on a monthly basis or outsourcing social media duties. This might even mean reviewing how you invoice customers (Print? Electronic?) and seeing if there is a solution that might be more efficient.
Don’t let your company marketing message or customer service get stale, either. I recently spoke with an operator who has one employee who decided to make it a priority to schedule monthly visits with each client face to face to make sure they are getting the best service…it’s not something the vending company had ever done before, but it has been a great value to them and their customer.
Take a deep dive into data
In our industry there can be a lot of data, from how your website is ranking on Google Analytics to a vending management system (VMS) to sales tools, etc. This is the time of year to go deep into that data and present it to other employees who may benefit from it. For example, if you don’t source your social media/website data out, now is the time to look and find when most users are visiting your site, where they are coming from and what action they are taking after they land on your page. This can help you decide whether or not you should revamp your website to have more content or contain more keywords for a better Google ranking.
Taking a deep dive into data also includes looking at your top accounts and their purchasing trends. Are you reaching as many customers as possible? Can you take more chances when it comes to offering new products?
This also includes your financial data. Is your company cutting corners? If so, where? Do you need to eliminate a position? Or do you have the money to make the investment in adding an operations manager or technology to make your company more efficient?
Don’t wait for the end of the year to find out whether or not you’re on target for long term growth.