Business Planning for a New Year
A new year is once again rapidly approaching us. With a new year comes new goals, challenges, and opportunities. Although many people make personal goals for the new year, it is equally important to have a business plan that will pave the way for your business goals. The start of a new year is a great time to take note of where your business currently stands and turn your attention to the future.
If you're feeling overwhelmed, lost, or simply don't know where to start, use these six simple steps to create your business plan for the new year.
1. Create your Business Goals
The most important part of any strategic plan is to know exactly where you are headed or where you intend to go. Begin by narrowing down in detail what you wish to accomplish businesswise in the new year. If you'd like to increase sales then be specific about it. Write down by how much, in what area, and how you'll increase those sales. The more specific you are the easier it will be to create a plan of action for those goals.
There are three main categories to keep in mind when completing your business plan:
- Your vision: Your vision is what caused the birth of your business. What did you see when you looked to the future? Why did you start this business in the first place?
- Your mission: Your mission is what specifies what you’d like to accomplish through your business. Whether it’s solving a major technological problem or serving the best food in your city.
- Your personal value: Your personal values are what’s important to you in regards to how you run your business. What experience would you like your employees and your customers to have?
2. Be Realistic
Now that you have more or less of an idea of where you'd like to be, think about where you stand according to those goals you set. Are you being realistic with your goals? Will you really achieve everything you said you would? Don't overwhelm yourself by creating too many goals that will eventually cause disappointment. Create goals that you know are attainable and realistic.
Once you know where you are, compared to where you’d like to be, you can start planning out how to get there. Chances are you have more things on your list than you might be able to accomplish at once. Take a moment to go through that list, narrow it down, choose priorities, and create a timeline in which you'd like to proceed.
Then, choose a couple of specific targets and start planning. Choosing just a few things to concentrate on will help you achieve your goals in a more realistic manner. Try to prioritize working towards your strengths and away from your weaknesses.
4. Focus on the Right Ideas
As you brainstorm ideas, remember to always prioritize the vision for your business and its purpose. Don't waste time and energy on strategies that don't fit. During the process you'll most likely come up with ideas that you simply don't have the right resources for at the moment so you'll have to leave those for later. Although those ideas may sound nice, you must be realistic with the people, facilities, time, and money you currently have.
Have a clear understanding of what you can accomplish and what you can't. If you have ambitious plans, you can always strategize how to get there down the road. Just because you don't have the resources right now, doesn't mean you never will. The main reason why you're planning in the first place is to one day develop and grow in areas that will help you achieve the big picture of it all.
Concentrate on long-term business goals, how to grow your business, improve the products and services you offer, and improve the way you run your company or business.
5. Create a Plan of Action
Your written strategy essentially means nothing until you actually execute the ideas you created. You must be willing to do the work and execute those ideas, make changes, and monitor any progress.
Create a timeline that specifies how and when you will execute each element of your plan. In order for the implementation of your plan to be successful, it helps to assign specific responsibilities, activities, deadlines, and budgets.
6. Asses your Plan's Performance
Strategic planning isn’t a one and done deal, it's an ongoing process. Once you execute your plan, you will need to evaluate how things are going. Don't be afraid to change things along the way if you notice that something isn't working out or providing the results you expected. It's better to take action and perform necessary changes rather than standby and watch your business fail.
Schedule some time to carefully analyze what’s working and what might need tweaking. Make sure you and your staff are clear about your business goals and what needs to be done. Some areas of your business plan may need daily or weekly check ups, while others may only require monthly or quarterly reviews.