I am not the type to continually wish people Happy New Year or make resolutions, however as a small business owner the new year is a time to reflect, resolve and ramp up your strategy. At 834 we use the time between Christmas and New Years to put together a plan for the coming year. Below will give you a starting point for planning.
1. Make a budget – some great advice from another small business (JetCo Solutions). Outline anticipated expenses, salary, employee costs, marketing costs (t-shirts, pens, paper, business cards etc.), % of earnings dedicated to savings and any other costs that need to be included. This will help you stay on task and hold yourself accountable. As the year progresses fill in actual costs on an identical spreadsheet and then compare at the end of the year.
2. Strategy – every year we look at how we want 834 to grow. We detail out association and organizational involvement, financial goals, networking activities, memberships, professional development, growth opportunities and threats, identify strengths and weaknesses and a marketing plan.
3. Operational Plan – how will you communicate better with clients or customers, manage production, create new business opportunities, grow partnerships and expand the team.
4. Marketing – detail out media – what outlets or blogs will you contribute to? How will you communicate with target and secondary audiences,? What is your communication process? What tools will you use to communicate?
5. Execution – this is the hardest part. Now that you have the plan and know what you want to accomplish, how do you actually go about doing it? Make a calendar (we suggest using a Google calendar – then all team members can view) and outline the dates that you are going to execute everything you have outlined in your plan.
One more suggestion, share your plan with a mentor or another business owner you trust. Having someone else hold you accountable and assist on keeping you on task will increase your chances for success.
Feel free to contact us with questions, it isn’t always the easiest to plan for your own business when you spend 90% of your time focusing on your clients or customers.
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Interesting… common sense from a marketing person… so many marketing firms are about “art” and not about business goals. I find you brilliant.