As a small business owner, it is key to plan effectively for the year ahead. Planning will ensure the that you retain control of your business. It will take time to put an effective plan in place, but it is time well spent. A good plan will change the way you allocate resources and ensure that your stakeholders are kept happy.
Set your plan in motion
Setting a plan in motion is easier than you think, and it will help your business to perform in future. Set realistic goals and measure your progress. Your plan does not need to be complicated, but it should set out ideas on what you would like to achieve and how you would like to achieve it.
Reflect on the year gone by
Start by looking back at both the good and the bad from 2018. Many felt that 2018 was a particularly difficult year and if you made it through, give yourself a pat on the back. What would you like to do differently this year? How would you like to improve? If a technique, product or business relationship isn’t working, move on. Do not waste energy on trying to make things work.
January is a good time for self-reflection. Make a game plan for 2019 by turning your self-reflection into action. Create goals for your business for the next 12 months. This will help you find some direction for the year ahead. Some items in business need to be planned either daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. Take stock and make a list of what items fall into each of these categories. Revisit these quarterly to ensure that you are on track and making progress. If you need to make any adjustments that’s the time to do it.
There’s also no need to reinvent the wheel. You can use printed day planners, a simple notepad, or a mobile or desktop application to keep track of your activities. Tools like Wunderlist, Google’s Tasks, and Apple’s To Do list can make your life easier. For the more technical parts of your business look into accounting or project management tools to help you manage your business.
Here are some ideas to include in your planning
Create projections. Have a look at your sales estimates for the year ahead. Look at the likelihood of your current customers buying more or perhaps even less from you. Will your expenses increase or decrease? Think of inflation. Now that you’ve done this analysis, consider where or how you could possibly do things differently.
Create a budget. This budget should include your projected income and expenses. Are there any areas where you could possibly lower your costs?
Ramp up productivity in your business. Set a goal to boost you and yours teams productivity. Eliminate any distractions. Look at smart business tools and learn to delegate.
Create a new customer service process. Think of customer reviews. These can either make or break a small business. Living in a digital age, it’s become easier for customers to check out products or services before committing. It’s crucial that you pay attention to what your customers have to say. Therefore, if you don’t have one already, you should look at creating a customer review policy.
Look at increasing traffic to your website. Increased website traffic leads to increased sales. There are many ways to get more eyes on your website or blog. Start by creating a plan to ramp up your content marketing strategy. Also have a look at creating an epic blog.
Do a SWOT analysis. This will help you to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It can be used in any stage of business to help you determine what makes your business unique, identify potential new areas of the market that are untapped, and explore what your competition is doing better than you are.
Look at networking opportunities. Get in front of more people and expand your business network. Look at conferences in your area and small business events.
Whatever you plan to do this year, we hope that 2019 is going to be a year of immense growth and development for you and your business.