Finish Strong

With less than two months to go, you might be tempted to think that 2023 results are what they are. Maybe so, but we would encourage you to pull out all the stops. Don’t accept that your team has done what they can do. With some targeted effort you likely can call in some favors and boost revenues and the bottom line.

Top dogs eat.

It is so true that not all customers are created equal. A few (maybe 10, or 25) represent the bulk of your sales. You have done business with them for decades. You have worked hard to build a strong and enduring relationship with those accounts. No doubt, they have pushed you on occasion to do more. Price a bit more competitive. Add some extra money to a planned promotion. Provide an extra incentive to get a new product into distribution. One or more of these things may have happened in 2023.

This may give you the opportunity to reach out to those accounts and ask for an extra push in the final weeks of the year. Can they take on some additional inventory to reduce the risk of out of stocks during year end promotions? Can they upgrade the secondary display location(s) for the December deal? Can they move up the addition of a new line item into their store section now as opposed to in the first quarter?

Sure, these asks may come with a price tag. But if the math works, and if they are good customers, it may make good business sense to push for a strong finish to the year.

It is likely that some clients will say that they have done all that they can do. But if you don’t ask, you may have left money on the table.

A suggestion is that you get as high up in the customer organization as you can reach. Top to top. Make sure that you check with your relationship manager for that account to know exactly any and all issues, good or bad, before you make that top-to-top call. Thank them for a good year. And then make your case.

All hands on deck.

The next place to push for a strong finish is with your own team. Yes, it is late in the game. But no doubt they are also looking at the numbers and forecast for the year. Their bonuses depend on it. You won’t know until you ask. Our bet is that more than one person will have a really good idea that could result in a meaningful boost to results.

Perhaps you have a sandbagger on the team who has held some spending in their back pocket. And if you push, they may be willing to give that up to add to 2023 profits. Or you can redeploy those unspent funds to pay for the top customer sweeteners mentioned above.

Others on your team are the idea people. Those folks are a great source for creative ways to boost revenues, reduce (or at least squeeze) projected expenses, delay costly projects a bit, or speed up initiatives that might produce some incremental revenue.

At your next staff meeting, throw out your normal weekly agenda. Focus only on those things that have the potential to change 2023 results in a positive way. Maybe even put out a small internal bonus for the person or team that can execute the biggest, the most impactful thing. Then in January when the final numbers are tallied, make a big deal out of recognizing those people who went above and beyond. It will send a strong message that fresh ideas and the ability to stretch what was thought to be the final chapter for the year is worth the heroic efforts.

A word of caution. If 2023 has been a tough year, and you have had to make difficult decisions on cutting initiatives, spending, or people, then this year end push may backfire. Folks might not be as forthcoming or might see it as extra work and pressure on an already full plate.

If nothing else, you and your team may come up with a list of new ideas that can be deployed in 2024. So, the growth challenges will in fact be put to work.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

You may be pleasantly surprised that you were able to move the needle. And success always feels good! Particularly when you thought there was no more gas in the tank.

At Forge, we thrive on helping clients get to the next level. We have worked with many clients putting together hard-working, smart, and creative ideas for growth.

We are here to be your partner, a member of your extended team, an objective yet vested voice. What rocks can we turn over, what sacred cows can we examine, what myths or barriers can we explode?  

Importantly, we are pragmatic, focused, and energetic. We get assignments done well, and quickly.

Take the first step to a more successful business today.

1.    Hit “LET’S TALK” to schedule a free 30-minute discussion. No pressure – we promise.
2.    We’ll provide real-world case studies showing the process in action.
3.    If we’re a fit, we finalize the details and get started!

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