The end of the year is a great time to reflect. You should have data, or at least, some general knowledge of how life was, the business went, and where you stand right now. Some lessons should have been learned from the mistakes made, and the trials that were overcome. If you run a business, lead a church, or head some other kind of organization that requires the financial kindness of other people then creating a compelling reason for them to do so is an absolute must.

There is a passage out of scripture that says “Go into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in…” That statement is loaded with information.

First, it suggests that you must do marketing to generate interest. Marketing is what most people don’t want to do in business, and is almost the sole reason why they go out of business. No marketing means you have no market. So, who’s doing business with you? Who’s coming to your church? Who’s going to know you provide this service or that product?

Second, it describes exactly what to do. You have to go out or put out something where there is traffic or where people may not be as apparent. You can’t wait or hope people come to you.

You can see, very quickly, this can be physically going out to the masses, or as in these times, you can meet them where they are at. On the information superhighway. On the internet. On social media.

It, also, implies you have to learn people. In order to know where they’re at, you have to understand who they are. You have to know what they like and how they like to be communicated to.

Third, and most importantly, one must create a compelling message, story, invitation, or reason for someone to come to their place, use their service, or participate with their program. Today, individuals have a plethora of options in where they shop, where they worship, and what they watch. Competition is fierce for the attention of just one person. Understanding the return that adding one more customer can do for your business means you need to understand both your business and the ideal customer. Helping a person choose you to do business with or patronize requires creative marketing.

If you’re a small business and hope word-a-mouth, only, would grow your glorified job, you’ll find yourself struggling when the latest, greatest company comes along doing exactly what you do, but is killing it with marketing. If you’re a church, and you wonder why everyone is going to the other church down the street, then you may want to consider what you’re offering, how is it presented in the eyes of the people, and are you reaching out to enough people to garner attention. If you’re an organization that provides services, who knows that on a large scale if you don’t quite understand your market, and you don’t know how they’d like to be talked to or reached.

What makes Apple so special? What intrigues you about Telsa? What keeps us going to Disney? It’s the compelling stories.

Going into the new year, leadership has to cast great vision to get participation. Whether it’s internal to the organization, or external customers, understanding how people want to be communicated with is going to be key to growth and sustainability. Crafting the right message will be the difference between success and mediocrity.

So, take some time to reflect. Why should next year be the same as the year you come out of? It’s on you to decide.