Following on the previous article titled, 5 Key Things That Must Be On Your End-Of-Year Business Checklist, this piece details important things to consider while planning the new year. It’s not enough to simply end the year well, you must incorporate the findings, insights and reports generated at the close of the year into the business plan for the New Year. As you begin to create the business plan and set the goals for the New Year, here are five (5) vital checkpoints you should consider:
It is a well-known saying that ‘madness’ can be defined as doing things the same way repeatedly and expecting a different result. No matter how the closing year went for your business (whether you had an overall positive year, a neutral one or a negative year), you cannot afford to repeat the New Year in exactly the same fashion as the last. As you begin to plan for the new business year, it is important to immerse yourself in current and recent trends related to your business sector and field. The world is in a constant state of evolution and there are new discoveries and technologies are being developed every day. Arming yourself with this information will help you create business modules that are realistic, achievable and able compete in the marketplace. It is vital to make intellectual curiosity a priority for your own growth and the growth of your business.
Before getting into this, we need to define what it means to have a Unique Value Proposition. Your Unique Value Proposition are the aspects of your business that separate you from your competition in the same field.
They are the aspects of your business that answer the question, Why would people decide to use my product or service instead of other brands in the market who are offering the same product or service?
Whatever these things might be (for example, the packages and offers you make, the ingredients used in making your product, the price of your products, the variety of services you provide etc.), they go a long way to determine your position in the market. As such, it is important to review these characteristics in your business, analyze them and to adjust them accordingly. The impact consequence of not doing this, is the end of your product or service because someone else will surely launch something new and better. Constant innovation is fundamental to growth.
While creating your business plan for the year, you cannot avoid creating plans for marketing, sales and communication. However, the reason why they are on this list is first to reiterate their importance and then to emphasize the need to create carefully detailed plans that cater to them individually.
Marketing plans for creating awareness for your business, sales plans for converting that awareness into sales and communication plans for sharing the information and managing expectations for both internal and external stakeholders. Given the sensitivity and importance of these three aspects of your business, they need to be given priority within the general business plans and goals for the year.
This is also time to review and refresh your website, the gateway to your products and services, update the company profile, refine the key messaging and images on your social media platforms.
As a business owner, your network is the most vital external support structure that you have. You might underestimate the power of building strong network but research has shown that it is an important tool that cannot be overemphasized. One of such studies comes from Oxford Economics Study which states that approximately 40% of prospective customers and converted to new customers through in-person meetings. Additionally, Moo Survey conducted a survey of U.S. business owners and 44% revealed handing out 100 business cards will generate $5,000 per year or more in revenue. Also, nearly 90% reported that using their business cards has led to them generating new business.
With this amount of irrefutable evidence, it is clear that you need to create plans to network in the coming year. Make a list of meet-ups, conferences, meetings and hangouts that you want to attend for the purpose of networking. This list should be updated all year round and all the contacts made should be properly saved and documented. Remember, building relationships is at the heart of every business. For more on the art of networking for results, read my previous article here. See article here: http://parmindervir.com/the-power-of-networking/
There’s no denying that running a business can be a daunting affair. It requires a lot of sacrifice of time, money and resources. Still, it is important to remember that a sick or ill person cannot successfully run a business.
As such, it is important to actively create plan to take breaks and recharge. These plans can include delegation, proper team building and making sure that business can run successful for a limited period of time in your absence. If you fail to do this and you decide to take everything on, you stand the risk of burning out. Even if you run a one man/woman business, proper time management is essential for optimum rest which will in turn aid productivity. For real life stories, listen to this audio story where I interview African startups from TEF Entrepreneurship Programme who share how they achieve work life balance. See link here: https://soundcloud.com/tony_elumelu_foundation/work-life-balance-is-that-a-thing
Keeping all the points written above in mind while documenting your plans will contribute immensely to the creation of a wholesome business plan for the coming year. In the next article, I will be examining how to write an annual review for your business. Please share your checklist for setting New Year goals for your business.