New Year, new Business Plan!
As another year kicks off, it’s a good time to reflect on the past year. As hard as that might be for FY 2021 (!) think about what you’d like to achieve in the coming year. Is it t time to expand into new products? Invest in new technology? Consolidate and rebuild your position?
Review the past 12 months
You did a lot in the last financial year, surviving through turbulent times is a testament to your resilience and ability to dig deep and fight on. Don’t forget to acknowledge and celebrate those things. Business inevitably has its ups and downs and when the downs happen it’s good to be able to access how you got through the last time. Get them down on paper, so to speak. Future circumstances may differ but the real power lies with being able to remind yourself of your capabilities when you find yourself under unexpected pressure. Whether it was rethinking your sales strategy, opening new sales channels, moving your B2B online, downsizing the warehouse, revisiting your cashflow. Whatever action you took to survive the pandemic – list them all, no matter how small.
A review of the past 12 months should form a key part of where your business plan will go next. What did you learn, what would you do differently?
Establish your priorities
The ideas of what you want to do and where you want your business to go have most likely been in the back of your mind for months. Put them in writing. Identify all the priorities you have in mind and then narrow it down and focus on three key areas over the next four quarters. Commit to them. With those in mind, do some research or gather your team for a brainstorm session on how to achieve them.
Setting SMART goals with your team gives them ownership of ideas and implementing them within the business. You need to lead and steer the ship, not do everything! Budget for any financial investment, whether it’s research, marketing or software. Be clear with team about your expectations on delivery and meeting budget.
Your priorities in the coming year may be to hit a certain revenue target, launch a new product line or tap into a completely new market. An important thing to also keep in mind is how you’ll stay competitive. For instance, does your pricing strategy require a review? How are you going to to attract new prospects and retain customers? What are you doing to do to stay relevant? What business reports and analysis can you tap into to really see what sells well, rather than rely on your ‘gut’. You’d be surprised how many business owners are shocked by their actual sales data!
As part of your overall business planning process, spend some time on competitive intelligence, too. Include in your plans how you’ll increase value and continue to stand out from the crowd. What have your competitors done in the past 12 months?
Budget and Resource
Of course your business plan must include adequate financial planning. You’ll need to allocate the budget to produce marketing collateral, run those digital ads, or source new products. Make sure that your team have the support they need to get the job done. Piling on to already existing busy jobs, won’t win you Leader of the Week award. Temporary resources can be of great value, you don’t have to hire full time. If you’re going big and scaling up or purchasing equipment and need to source investment or business loans, get your accountant involved in the strategic financial planning.
Review your business plan every quarter to ensure you stay on track with your goals and priorities. Review your products and competitive edge at least annually. Be realistic about opportunities and challenges as you plan ahead.
If you’re serious about growth it’s vital to keep your team updated and informed through the process. Don’t just review the project status, review all parts of it. Is it running according to the timeline? Where is the budget sitting? Have there been any unforeseen adjustments that need to be made?
It’s amazing the difference that keeping your business plan up to date can make to the success of any business, no matter the size. That being said, don’t make it a tome, make it manageable and FINISH it! A half baked plan isn’t a plan at all.