“Failing to plan is planning on failing”
Welcome back everyone!
Such a true statement – yet, so many businesses fall prey to the same issue every year – that is, they don’t set a plan for the upcoming year.
For many business owners, the mere thought of setting a business plan is a challenge in itself.
Some common responses to the question – have you set a business plan for year? – include:
I don’t need a plan, I know what I’m doing.
Last year was ok, so I’ll do the same.
I’m too small for a business plan.
I don’t have the time.
I don’t know where to start.
It’s too much hard work
Etc, etc, etc
Each and every one these is just an excuse – there are NO excuses for not setting a business plan.
And it does not have to be a complicated and drawn out process – you do not need a 50-page document for a business plan.
To be frank, a single page business plan will have a stronger chance of success for SMEs.
The one ‘excuse’ however, that may in fact be true is that the vast majority of business owners really don’t know where to start.
So, if you’ve not yet set your plan for 2019, let’s start.
Here are some common areas that you need to think about and include in your plan:
What level of sales do you want in 2019?
Break this down for each month – if your target is $120,000 for the year, then you can simply aim for $10,000 per month.
However, a better way of calendarizing is to take into account those times of the year when sales may be affected, e.g. Easter, December/January, end of year tax time etc.
Having a monthly sales plan will help you stay on track and guide you in terms of effort.
Have a good look at what your competition is doing –
Are they introducing new products or services?
Have they or do they plan on dropping their prices – or increasing them?
What’s the feedback been from their clients?
Doing some research in just these 3 areas will help you set your own strategies for the year – for example, if your competition is planning on dropping their prices, that does not mean you should also do the same.
Look to see where your own products/services are better – always compete on quality – NOT price!
The business, technological and competitive landscape is forever changing. And you need to be across it and on top of it.
This may require you having to invest in either new technology, processes, inventory etc.
If you feel you need an extra pair of hands in the business, for example keeping on top of your books, you may decide to take on a bookkeeper or have your accountant more involved.
You may take on a sales person to help with your monthly sales targets.
Whatever the case, this is all about resource planning.
However, you also need to balance the need for investment in new resources against your ability to afford it – this is where your accountant comes in. So, speak with your accountant BEFORE you decide to take action in this area.
Finally, keep the following in mind when you start planning:
If you have people already working for your, involve them upfront in the planning process.
Be clear on what you want to accomplish in 2019 – also known as setting goals.
Keep a score-card to track your progress – this can be as simple as tracking your monthly sales against the plan you’ve set as well as tracking monthly expenses.
Hope 2019 will be a prosperous, bountiful and your best year yet!