2015 – Build On Your Success!

As 2015 begins, it is important to take a reflective look on the prior year and how your organization performed. I hope that you had a highly successful year and that 2015 will bring you more of the same. Like all successful businesses, there are probably areas of your business that performed better than others. Another way to think about this is to ask the question “What would I like to be different in 2015?” To prepare for a successful 2015, I have created a short list of topics an owner can review to identify opportunities for improvement.


Whether you have one branch or hundreds, how they function is critical to your ongoing success. While they have many moving parts, I am only going to touch on one.

  • How would you characterize the appearance of your branch?
    • Is the exterior and interior clean?
    • Are signs and light fixtures fully operational?
    • Do customers see an organized, neat environment?
    • Are all posters and interior signage in good shape?
      • Do you have all legally required postings up and visible?
      • Should you replace some marketing posters to create visible noise?


Everyone knows that even if you have an A+ location, if your employees are a C, your business will suffer and possibly fail. Having the right people on your team is critical for long-term success. These are a few areas to consider when reviewing your team.

  • Do all employees know all of the products offered?
    • Can they present them to new customers? Do they?
  • Do employees know and follow company policies?
  • How is their customer service when you aren’t watching?
  • Do you provide feedback to your team on their performance?
  • How would you characterize the customer service offered?
    • Are all employees friendly and courteous? Even when you aren’t there?
    • Do they actively inform customers of all products offered?
    • Do employees properly open and close transactions to your standards?


Whether it is due to frequent regulatory updates or demand from our customer base, we are constantly modifying our products. It is necessary to understand the wants and needs of the consumers we support, as well as be aware of what our competition is offering. You do not want to be late in product offerings.

  • Do you have the right product mix for your trade area?
    • Do you have products that are currently not performing?
      • Should the product be modified?
      • Is your team’s performance affecting the product?
    • What new products should you introduce?
      • How long does it take to successfully introduce a new product?
      • How will your current POS system handle a new product(s)?
    • Do you get your customer’s feedback on your products?


Closely tied to your product mix is a review of your competition. This is an area of business that many unfortunately choose to ignore. There is valuable information you can get from monitoring your competition. If your competition is doing their job correctly, they are certainly watching you.

  • Are you tracking the products your competition is offering?
    • How do they differ than your product mix?
    • Are you losing customers to them?
  • Do they have more competitive store hours than you?
  • How is their team compared to yours? Did you see a potential recruit?


We continue to operate in a challenging environment, both from an economic and regulatory perspective. While the economic picture is becoming clearer, the regulatory outlook continues to be worrisome. We face challenges from the local level all the way to the federal government. While we do not know what changes will take place or when they will become effective, we do know they are coming. Understanding these possibilities, along with the other external forces affecting our business, will better prepare you to handle upcoming changes.

  • What are the trends in the industry for 2015 and beyond?
  • What will the regulatory changes be in 2015 and 2016?
    • What would a restriction on usage do to your business?
    • Do you have a customer acquisition strategy?
  • As consumers turn more to a mobile/online environment, how will that affect your business?
  • How is your relationship with your existing bank? Should you start finding alternative options?
  • How are your relationships with other key service providers?

These are just a small portion of the areas to be considered as you think about how to build on your 2014 successes. In addition, you could also look at your marketing plan, personnel development, product channels, audit, and so on. If there is an area that you would like to discuss in greater detail or would like some insight on how to improve upon your successes, please don’t hesitate to contact me at mike@incitebusiness.com. I look forward to talking with you!