Small Business Planning Tips for 2019

With 2018 coming to a close, it’s time to start reflecting and thinking about the new year ahead. The (generally) quieter period between Christmas and New Year is a great time to take a couple of hours to re-motivate yourself and plan for 2019 success. Here’s my top tips to help you along the way:

Reflect

Before you can work out how to move forward, you need to take the time to think about the last 12 months. Consider the best bits and the worst bits. Ask yourself;

  • What has worked really well, what are the key successes?
  • What hasn’t worked or needs to change?

Simple questions, but they should generate quite a list of answers. Think of your: staff; customers; product or service; marketing; time management; environmental impact; social responsibility etc. etc. You can then use these answers to start focussing on what you need to do to develop your business in 2019.

Focus

 When you first started your company, you had a plan, an inspirational moment where you knew what you wanted to create. Go back to that point and ask yourself;

  • What was my original plan?
  • What were my main goals?

Thinking about your life and circumstances now, consider;

  • Have your original business plans or goals changed?
  • Are you on track to achieve what you set out to?

The answers here might be completely different, or the same or similar to your ‘reflect’ questions. You’re going to use all of this thought-provoking information to start working on your plan for next year.

Plan

Using the answers to the above ‘reflect’ and ‘focus’ questions, you can start to develop a plan for the year ahead. You can identify what you need to change for the better and what can stay the same, and as a result create new goals.

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, I really like using post-it notes! Use one post-it for each answer to each question. Then, on a large table, floor, spare wall or other big space, start to arrange them into collections;

  • Areas you’re happy with – can stay the same
  • Things that need to change or that you want to develop
  • Points that need to be improved
  • Things you don’t like or that just don’t or work!

Once you’ve done that, you can visualise where you need to spend your time and start to get a plan in place for doing so…

Numbers

You can’t make a real plan without sorting the numbers. Once you’ve identified what elements of your business you need and want to work on in the new year, you need to ask yourself some key questions for each idea/ goal (and be realistic with the answers!).

  • How much time will it take?
  • How much will it cost and what budget do I (actually) have?
  • When do I want to or need to have it done by?

It might not look like it, but your plan is really starting to come together now. Make sure you are capturing it in the best way for you. Write it down, use an online document, spreadsheet or project planning software, anything – just make sure you’ve captured it all and have notes to remind and tell you what you’re doing and the key ‘numbers’ associated with each goal or task.

Engage

Now you have your up to date and new goals defined and you know how much time and money you need to complete them, you can start to think about who you need to engage with to really make your plan a success. If you have staff, the best way to get them engaged is to get them involved. Share your company vision and ideas and include them. Share tasks and work together towards your objectives.

Any changes or improvements will impact your customers. Some more significantly than others, so it’s worth considering a bit of customer research or insight, where relevant. It will be useful for you and they will appreciate being a valued influence in anything new.

The key to any success is communication! Seek help and advice, share your ideas, research, network and keep learning.

make it happen..

Finally, once you’ve pulled it all together, you can prioritise the goals and tasks in your annual plan and get started!

Remember to hold yourself accountable and review your plan regularly – at least every 3 months. Consider getting an ‘accountability buddy’ or mentor who can help you stay on track.

If you’d like any support or just want someone to chat through your thoughts with, please get in touch, I’d be happy to help.

– Mikki

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