Planning for the year ahead isn’t a formal business plan. It is a time to reflect on the previous year’s highs and lows, a time to set new achievable goals and a time to draw up a month-by-month proposal of how you are going to achieve them.
Planning for the year ahead involves monthly marketing budgets (irrespective of their size), it involves new ventures and making the most of your plan even though it means working longer hours. Planning for the year requires monthly revisions of your plan to ensure that you are still on the right path.
Why is it important?
- It reduces financial risk: With a good plan in place spending money on spur-of-the-moment things are less likely to happen because you’ll have a monthly budget and plan to stick to.
- It leads to business growth: A business owner/ manager who falls into a comfort-zone is extremely damaging to business. That is why an annual reflection on new goals is like a breath of fresh air for you, your staff and your customers. A company that constantly reinvents and innovates attracts new business. This doesn’t mean that you should throw out the things that work as well. As the saying goes: “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”
- It forces you to do your homework: We all know how it is. You attend meeting after meeting and lose track of industry trends such as Social Media and what your competitors are doing. Even if you do stay up to date with your industry it could perhaps seem daunting to implement anything new. However, with a plan in place you can do your homework. Research what is happening, what it is that your customers want and devise a plan on how to provide them with it.
- It allows you to prioritise and focus: Every day brings a list of to-dos and without any plan in place we’ll just get stuck into the daily tasks and go home once they are done. Should you have a plan in place you will be able to prioritise and focus on more important things. You will be able to leave some tasks for later or delegate to others.
- It prepares you for change: Change can be intimidating but not if you anticipate it. Prepare for more business, new marketing strategies and more hard work. You can stay on-top of your industry by planning ahead every year, every month, every week and every day.