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Business Planning For The New Year

A Brand New Year!!

Are you off and running?

Do you want your business to profit this year?

Did our business make money last year?

Did our business control expenses last year?

Does our business have a plan for 2011?

Business owners need a plan. We need to plan for selling our product or service. We need a plan to control our overhead. We need a plan to enjoy being an owner.

Planning is not a business owner’s favorite subject. We don’t take time to really review where we were last year, where we are now, where we want to be, or even how we should get there.

The large corporation has a plan.

Without a plan we force our business into a reacting mode. A business forced to react rather than plan causes our business to manage us rather than we manage our business.

What’s In A Plan?

Every business plan is different and can be as simple as knowing what you need to accomplish to cover your expense plan. Look at each month and set a short term plan and evaluate the process to reach your monthly goal. Does your business have a history to set the performance level? Your plan should include evaluating the economics of today and making adjustments to meet the demands of your customer or end user.

It is good for an owner to have someone within the company or advisor to share thoughts and assist with the planning process. The exchange of thoughts is very productive for positive planning.

Consider This

1. How did 2010 contribute to your business goals?
If you did a formal business plan or just scribbled notes, take a look at 2010 to determine whether your business achieved the goals and objectives you set for the year. Measure what you wanted to achieve, and use the results of your review to adjust your business goals for 2011.

2. Evaluate your customer base, your new customers for 2010 and develop good retention strategies.
A healthy and successful business is as good as the quality of customers it services. Customers are the lifeblood of your business, and you need a clear understanding of how you are gaining customers, and most importantly, how you keep your customers.

3. Review and understand your financials.
The most efficient way to know how well your business is doing is by having a clear understanding of the bottom-line and to understand the financial condition of the business.

4. Analyze your web statistics.
For a company using the Web as a thorough source of information about your company, as an interactive sales tool, or as a simple online brochure, it is important to look at the statistics behind your web site. The Web has become an integral medium for many businesses today. It is important to understand how your web site is contributing to your overall goals. Your site should use web analytics software, whether the free Google Analytics or a program purchased, or possibly consult with a media person to help review your statistics.

5. Review 2010 marketing strategies.
Marketing takes a large amount of your efforts, both time and expense. It is important to periodically monitor what worked to generate the most sales, what worked to increase awareness of your brand, and what worked to engage your customers.

6. Create a detail list of what worked for 2010 – as well as listing what did not work.
You will find, as a business owner, it is difficult to develop a future strategy for your business if you do not know how successful your existing strategies performed. It is essential that you look at how you performed the past year, and what strategies actually worked best for your business. Your assessment and review of your strategies, a solid understanding of your financials, your customers, web traffic and other key elements of your business will help determine what worked best for you. Review your business with an open mind and look at the year with an analytical eye.

7. Know your competitors.
It is important that you take the necessary time to know what your competitors are up to. The large business world has departments dedicated specifically to understanding the competition arena. Small businesses don’t have the people resources to find out what competition is doing but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it.

8. Prepare your goals and strategic plan for next year.
As a small business, it is easy to get distracted with the day-to-day operating of the business. A small business can’t fail to think about the ultimate objectives for your business. It is hard to sit down and think about what to do next year, when you’ve got a long To-Do List to tackle for the day. However, it is important to create a realistic strategic plan that you can review periodically and use as a tool to assess how you are really doing with your business.

9. Have an alternative “Plan B”.
It makes good business sense to have a backup plan in place in the event things do not work out as planned. It is great to be optimistic about things and hope that running the business will go as smoothly as possible. However, things don’t always work according to plan. The strategies you’ve developed may not be working out as expected or some catastrophe may happen, or someone in your business or family (or even you) may get sick and may be unable to work in the business.

10.Be open and aware of new challenges ahead.
Now that you have taken stock of where you are and you have thought about where you want to go, the next step is to ensure that you are in the right frame of mind to broaden your entrepreneurial journey, and commit yourself to staying with your plan.

I am glad that you took the time to review this and encourage you to continue dedicating time for review and planning.  WHW Consultants, LLC is committed to work with our clients and prospective clients to succeed.  Bill Warshauer