Getting your business off to a good start in a new year requires focused planning, strategic thinking and dedicated execution. What you do now, sets the stage for the entire rest of the year. Set your business up for success in 2019 with these 8 business planning tips.
Hoping that your business will be better this year than it was last year without an action plan, is called wishful thinking. Hope is not a sound business strategy.
Successful business owners take a proactive approach to strategically mapping out their priorities and initiatives for the future and aligning them to measurable goals. This may sound obvious or it may even sound boring, but the most obvious business solutions aren’t rocket science – they are generally the tried and true foundational things that work, in the way of business growth.
Having a plan in your head is not enough, you have to write it down.
Forbes reports a remarkable study about goal-setting carried out in the Harvard MBA Program.
Harvard’s graduate students were asked if they have set clear, written goals for their futures, as well as if they have made specific plans to transform their fantasies into realities.
The result of the study was only 3 percent of the students had written goals and plans to accomplish them, 13 percent had goals in their minds but haven’t written them anywhere and 84 percent had no goals at all.
Think for a moment which group you belong to.
After 10 years, the same group of students were interviewed again and the conclusion of the study was totally astonishing.
The 13 percent of the class who had goals, but did not write them down, earned twice the amount of the 84 percent who had no goals.
The 3 percent who had written goals were earning, on average, 10 times as much as the other 97 percent of the class combined.
People who don’t write down their goals tend to fail easier than the ones who have plans.
When I initiate work with a new client, the first step we take is to create a Business Growth Roadmap, which includes establishing measurable goals for the year, quarterly priorities, monthly initiatives and weekly action steps. This provides a heightened sense of clarity, focus and direction for the business owner (and their team), so he or she can make better business decisions, allocate time and money appropriately and rally their team and resources around common goals and a plan to get there.
Nobody does their best work, and results are rarely achieved with moving goalposts; especially goalposts that live in the business owner or CEOs head.
An additional benefit to this type of focused planning, strategic thinking and dedicated execution is that we also eliminate busy work, overwhelm, wasted time and misused funds, while improving productivity, profitability and results.
Set your business up for success in 2019 with these 8 business planning tips.
- Create an Annual Business Growth Plan. Articulate your company’s measurable goals for the next 12 months, including your quarterly priorities with realistic initiatives that will support those priorities. Define the KPIs (metrics) and accountability structure for clarity on who owns each initiative. (Team members can then take individual ownership of creating their personal management accountability plan for each of their projects.)
- Assess Previous Year’s Progress. Review the previous year’s results to determine what worked well, what didn’t work and what needs to be adjusted. What were the missed opportunities? Where is there room for improvement?
- Revisit your SWOT Analysis. Ask each of your team members to perform a SWOT analysis to articulate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in each of the functional areas of your business (Sales, Marketing, Operations, HR, Finance). You can then leverage that information to add to your priorities and initiatives for the year.
- Know the Key Trends in your Industry. What are you noticing in your market or industry? Write down the top 3-5 trends. Use that information to inform your priorities and initiatives for the upcoming year to stay relevant and innovative in the marketplace.
- Define your Marketing and Sales Plan. Determine the 3 best ways to build visibility and credibility for your company. What is your sales process for turning your marketing exposure into leads? And what does your nurturing campaign look like for converting your leads into paying customers?
- Revisit your Pricing and Service Model. Is it time to raise your prices or change your profit model? What are the ways you will over-deliver on your brand promise? How will you increase your customer’s share of wallet or lower your attrition rate?
- Determine your People and Resource Needs. What is the right organizational structure to support your business strategy? What initiatives are best outsourced or contracted to vendors? How will you engage your team and create loyalty?
- Review your Operational Systems and Processes. Is it time to implement a CRM system or replace an outdated program? Do you have your standard operating procedures written down and documented? Have you systematized or automated your customer onboarding (or employee onboarding) process?
How are you setting yourself up for success in 2019?
Leave me a comment in the box below. I’d love to know.
To your success,