Whether your business has been booming or profits have been sluggish, taking time for proper business planning for the new year is a clever way to get ahead. Having a clear plan will also help you feel settled and comfortable with where you’re headed and provides clear focus for your activities both on and off the job.
This is the time to revisit your results, re-assess your direction, set new goals, and figure out the right actions to achieve those goals. Much like starting a workout plan after the festive season, business planning is about kicking things into gear and getting back on track after the holidays. Which we all know in our industry aren’t really holidays – they’re part of peak season!
Here’s how you do it.
Business Planning For The New Year? Start with Assessing Where You’re At
You should have a decent idea of where your business is at financially. But if not, pull out your books and see what the numbers are saying. Initially, pay attention to cash flow, overhead costs and variable costs.
What about wages? Sub contractor and insurance payments? If cash flow, taxation and forecasting aren’t your strength, get an accountant.
Last year, like 2020, was abnormal for most business due to Covid-19 and government-enforced lockdowns. How did your business respond and what changes have you had to make? Which changes were due to forces outside of your control (like Covid-19), and which were due to normal market fluctuations? What was a successful coping strategy and what wasn’t?
Assessing your business is not just about money. Assessments can include the following:
- Employee performance – who’s doing what well and not so well, and does their remuneration match?
- Marketing – how aware are people of your business and should more be done to get your name out there (if so, what)?
- Time spent vs jobs completed – have you been attaining a good ratio in terms of money vs time
- Competitors – where do you stand in relation to your competitors?
- Training – Is it time for you or your team to upskill or refresh through Rapid Training online courses?
Once you have a clear picture of what your business looked like last year, you are ready to set goals for this year.
Then Set Your Business Goals
What do you want to achieve this year? Is it reducing costs, improving cashflow, having more staff to take on more work, updating professional indemnity insurance or general liability insurance, or something else? Perhaps you want more time to work on the business rather than in it? Do you want to double profits in the next couple of years or is that a longer term goal (or not at all)? In doing your business planning for the new year, set one or two big achievements to focus on for the rest of the year.
Remember, all goals should be SMART. What do we mean by that? It should have all five of these characteristics:
- Specific: Well defined, clear, and unambiguous
- Measurable: Has actual measurable criteria you can judge your progress by
- Achievable: Attainable and not impossible to achieve
- Realistic: Achievable in terms of your life and circumstances
- Timely: Thought through with a clear timeline and end date in order to create urgency
Defining goals in this way makes them much more likely to be achieved because they become attainable, well-thought out and purposeful. Rather than obscure vague ideals that you have no real strategy to execute on.
Set Up a Clear Strategy for Each Goal
Now that you have two or three goals you want to focus on, break them down into smaller, achievable steps. For example, is your big goal generating more leads? Then you need to look at developing your marketing and business relationship efforts.
Your steps may be:
- Redesign website with an SEO focus
- Allocate Google ad spend strategically
- Advertise in local classifieds
- Participate in online community discussions
- Improve customer communication efforts
- Do online marketing course
Not sure where to start with marketing? Read this: Marketing 101: 5 Simple Ways to Promote Your Business.
Whatever your plans, take them step by step to ensure each is done well. Do what you can to measure the effectiveness of each step as it comes into play – otherwise how will you know which is producing the results you need? Importantly, hold yourself accountable to making the steps, but don’t be afraid to ask for help! Make this the year you reach out by seeking partners, advocates, allies, referral sources, and/or joint venture partners that will help you in achieving your goals.
Need tips on how to cope this summer, before you get into any real planning? Read our guide to coping with peak season.
In Business Planning for the New Year, Ensure Your Business is Insured
An essential step to peace of mind for a successful financial year, is making sure you and your business are safeguarded properly. For example, do you have all the right insurance endorsements in place for the activities you’ve planned for this year and into the future? If you need to talk to an insurance industry expert about where you’re at and what you need to move your business forward safely, give Rapid Solutions a call on 1300 309 169.