How has 2023 been for your food or drink business?
Like most people in the food and drink business I should imagine it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride!
Before you jump into your 2024 plans for your food or drink business, make sure you take time to review this year – what’s gone well for you, what challenges you’ve overcome, what you’ve learned along the way that you can take with you to next year. This is vital so that when making your plans for 2024 you do so from an informed position – it will make your plans so much more meaningful.
To make it easy to review I always suggest that you break it down into specific areas, it really helps you to hone in and see the finer detail.
Have you been keeping abreast of market trends and making sure your product is still relevant? Is your product still meeting consumer needs? Have any competitors arrived that are impacting on your brand? Have you been innovating and thinking of your npd pipeline to make sure you stay ahead of the curve? Have you had any issue with damages/complaints? If so, is there a common theme where/why this happens?
Which sectors have worked best for you? (Sometime these are not always the ones that were on your original sales plan!) Are there any regions/demographics where sales have been strongest? What has been the most successful way of getting leads? (shows/referrals….) What has been the most successful way of converting leads? (emails/phone calls/meetings….)
Have you met your original sales forecast? If not, where did it fall short? If. you exceeded it – where were the wins?
Do you get plenty of repeat orders? Look at what value each customer brings.
Could you generate more sales by focussing on current customers to increase their spend – or are new customers a better target for you?
Is your system of managing leads and account management fit for the size of your business as it’s grown? Do you maybe need to look at a CRM system?
Do you enjoy sales? Or is it something you put off? Do you have enough time to devote to it? Or do you need an extra pair of hands?
What has worked well for you from your marketing plan? What has increased brand awareness? Is one social media channel working better for you than others? Have you managed to secure any PR? (if that was in your plans). What about awards entered/won? Maybe email marketing is really helping drive your online sales? Has blogging helped bring people to your website? Make sure you review your plans and see what your ROI has been for your various activities. If something is working really well – explore how you can maximise on that; if something clearly isn’t working – maybe (after reviewing why) it’s not the right activity for your brand OR it needs executing slightly differently.
This is a key area that in all the day-to-day madness of running a food or drink business can get overlooked, believe it or not! Are the clients you getting making you any/enough money? Are they paying on time? What’s your cashflow looking like? Check which sectors/customers are the most profitable. Have you planned/reacted to any ingredient and/or other price increases? Do you need to put your prices up?
I hope this helps you with your 2023 review. One more tip – go somewhere quiet and give yourself enough time to do this! I will be writing a piece about planning for the next year in the next couple of weeks – so watch out for that! In the meantime, if you need any help with your review and/or your planning, get in touch to book a free call to see how I can help you.