Planning and preparation are essential elements for thriving companies. Are you ready to jump into 2019 with confidence and a clear, concise plan? Begin now with your 2018 analysis.
SWOT: Before you establish an annual plan, perform a SWOT analysis – a valuable tool for evaluating your industry Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
The analysis is your roadmap to plot new strategies and offer insight into areas that need improvement, where to maximize opportunities, and in addition, it points to negative factors that may block success. Gather your management team and host a ‘meeting of the minds’ to share the successes and setbacks of each department for 2018. Then answer the following questions.
- What are your company’s advantages?
- What does your company do best?
- What are your company’s most significant resources?
- What do others view as your company strengths?
- What factors contribute to your success?
- What makes your company unique; gives you the competitive edge?
- What area needs the most improvement?
- What does your company need to avoid in the future?
- What hinders company growth?
- What aspect generates negative reviews?
- How many opportunities can you list for 2019?
- What is trending in technology, government policy, social patterns, population demographics, customer lifestyles, etc.?
- What local events can become business opportunities?
- What are your obstacles?
- What areas are you lacking in relation to your competitors?
- Where do your standards of quality currently interfere with success and need improvement?
- Is changing technology posing a threat to your company?
- Do you have debt or cash-flow obstacles?
After a performance analysis is complete, you’re ready to move on to the planning stage for the new year. Ensure that your business plan mirrors your company’s core mission and include goals, objectives, strategies, timelines, ownership, and tracking mechanisms. Establish expense budgets, which include operating costs, lease expenses, utilities, equipment, salaries, benefits, marketing, events, special projects, and more.
- Goal: Goals establish the direction of your business over the course of the next year. Begin with a broad set of goals that support your company’s mission.
- Objective: Objectives provide greater detail and clarity. Create your objectives according to the ‘smart’ plan: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
- Strategies: The individual steps necessary to meet your objectives.
- Performance measures: Performance measures provide evidence that your strategies are being
- Goal: Brand awareness
- Objective: Develop consumer awareness of the brand through advertising, and presence in retail stores.
- Strategy: Press Release, Advertising (online), Trade shows, Print Ads.
- Performance Measures: Publish one press release each month. Advertise with Facebook Ads (establish a monthly budget). Take part in three trade shows per month. Print ads in at least one trade magazine or newspaper per month
In conclusion, careful planning is by far the most crucial element to start off the new year on the right foot. Following this guideline may be time-consuming in the beginning but will prove to spur your company into a successful 2019.