Monday, December 27, 2010

Planning for the New Year

Here we are again saying goodbye to the old and hello to the New Year!  This is the perfect time of year to take a little time to stop, reflect, and plan.  If you own a small business or you’re thinking that this is the year you will start one – you need to have a plan.
When I say “plan” I’m not suggesting you need to write out a huge, lengthy business plan.  It only takes a few well thought out pages to set you on the right course for the New Year.  Here are some tips to help you.

Start with your vision of what you’d like your business to “look like” this year.  If you’re currently in business identify what is working and what isn’t and then what you need to change, what should stay the same and what you might add to your business this year. 

Set some specific goals that you’d like to accomplish this year.  Sure we all want to be more profitable – but you need to figure out how to make that happen.  For example – if you want 10 more advertisers or 100 more customers – break that down by month and develop a strategy and timelines to achieve those goals.

Consider your marketing strategy.  What is working – what is not?  Establish your marketing budget for the year.  Should you be using social media more to promote your business?  Does your website need a makeover?   Do you need to be out and about networking more?

Reflect on the people that make your business possible.   This includes yourself, your employees and family members involved in your business.  Are you making the best of everyone’s skill sets?  Does anyone need additional training?  Do you need to expand or shrink your staff?  What role are you playing in your business and is that best for the business?   Should you delegate more to others?

Take a look back at your revenue and expenses in 2010.   Are their ways you can reduce your expenses?  Are their areas (products/services) that are not financially viable that should be let go or changed?  Are their any major investments you need to make and plan for this year?  

Attach timelines to your plan.   For example if you’re opening a new business identify your opening day date and work backwards to set goals that need to be accomplished and when to get you to that opening day! 

Finally make your business “escape” plan for 2011!  Take out your new calendar and schedule your time off and vacations NOW!   If you don’t chances are that you will find it difficult or impossible to get away and getting away from your business is good you and that’s good for business!

Plan now to make 2011 the best year ever!

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