Take the Guesswork Out of Your Planning for 2020
As we draw closer to the end of one calendar year and the beginning of another; it’s time to consider the possibilities for the year ahead. It’s time to start your planning process for 2020 and kick-off the new year with great gusto.
However, you need to know, not all plans are created equal.
- A good plan has goals based on fact and not fabrication.
- A great plan includes strategy as well as specific timelines and deliverables.
- A fabulous plan is realistic and includes actions to ensure implementation.
- All plans must be documented, or they are only ideas in your head.
Often business owners brainstorm good ideas, decide what they want to do next year and call it a plan. That’s not enough, the quality of your plan is directly proportional to the amount of preparation you do.
You have a planning advantage – you have history. Acknowledging that history supports making educated decisions and more accurate forecasts.
You want to identify what did not bring the results you wanted and minimize those things. And, what did bring results so you can replicate and maximize those things.
Peter Drucker wrote, “Miracles are great, but they are so unpredictable”. I recommend planning rather than waiting for a miracle.
To help you take the guesswork out of your future, work through this checklist to guide your thinking and research as you prepare to plan for your success.
Things to think about as you reflect over the past year(s):
- What worked; what didn’t work? In all areas – clients, team, product, market, financials, operations, customer service, sales, suppliers.
- What were the special accomplishments? What are you very proud of?
- What were the distractions? What can be done to minimize them next year?
- Were they good distractions like a product development? How can you maximize the work you did on those distractions and/or use them to move forward?
- What gaps have you identified that need to be filled in the future? For you and for your business.
- Are last year’s goals still valid? Are they still exciting?
- What got you excited last year? How did that play out? How can you stay really excited this year?
- What projects did not get done? Do they need to be done? Are they still valid? What can be saved or repurposed into something else?
- Did you meet your targets? If not, why not?
- Where did the revenue come from? New clients, existing clients?
- How did business come to you? Referrals, Pay per Click, advertising, newsletters, cold-calling, networking, website.
- What products sold and WHY? What products didn’t sell and WHY?
- What products could you have that you don’t have now?
- What are people saying about your company? Did you conduct a survey? Are you going to?
- Is your message the right message?Is it consistent? Is it working?
- Are your marketing tools working? What marketing tools are you not using? Why not?
- Revisit your Ideal Client. Has it changed? Who is really buying from you?
- What do you need to do to stay on top of things?
- What are the trends? What is happening in the industry?
- Look into the future. What do you think is coming up down the road? What do other people think is coming up?
- Is the industry growing? Why?
- Is the industry shrinking? Why?
What are the numbers telling you?
- Financials for the past year(s) – revenue and expenses. What is the revenue for each product? What are the expense items that make up 80% of your expenses?
- Client list. Who is writing the cheques?
- Sales by Client – Who is buying? What is the average sale? Who are the top 20% of clients by revenue? Are they profitable? Are there any clients not profitable?
- Sales by product/service. What are the popular ones?
- What were the costs and results of your marketing activities?
- What do all these numbers mean?
Judi Hughes is passionate about helping small business owners achieve the success they want with their business. Developing strategic plans and providing support to implement those plans is at the core of all her work with her clients. For more insights on planning visit her blog.