Business planning isn’t just for startups or new businesses. Making a business plan is an important part of running your business, setting goals, and maximizing your results. Business planning puts you in the driver’s seat, taking control, no longer simply reacting to events as they happen. If you want to make 2020 your best business year ever, you need to start with a plan, and that plan needs a solid foundation. Make sure your 2020 business plans are realistic yet aspirational by basing them on actual data. Business planning is all about the fundamentals; take a look at successes and opportunities from 2019 and then make your goals for 2020.
Make a Business Plan
Where do you start when it comes to business planning? Generally, it starts with your goals. Business planning encompasses all the goals, strategies, and actions that you envision to ensure your business’ growth. Business goals should be strategic and clearly defined. These goals need to be specific, realistic, attainable and have a time-frame attached to them. Your business goals should help identify what you’re working towards as an organization.
Business goal setting requires some work, both before the goal setting and afterward. As part of your pre-work goal setting, you should take some time to estimate a few budgetary expenditures, including:
- Business expenses
- Operating expenses
- Personal expenses
- Debt reduction
Knowing where you stand in regard to these expenditures will dictate some of your business goals, and give you a clear idea of how much revenue you need to earn in order to be profitable.
What is business planning?
Documenting specific details of a business’ goals, the planned steps towards the achievement of those goals, and the criteria that measure and monitor the success of those goals.
Set Business Goals
Once you have those budgetary expenditure numbers in hand, you need to take a look at what you accomplished in 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016. Reviewing your prior year results is more than just glancing over your yearly data and noting things like cash flow. You need to delve a little deeper and consider additional aspects of your business, including:
These are all areas in which you can set goals for 2020. Setting goals means you are constantly looking at what’s working and what isn’t working. Activities that may have produced a good ROI in the past could have lost their momentum. You may need to find new ways to achieve your goals.
Remember that business planning isn’t solely income-related. When you are making your goals for 2020, you want to see where you’ve been and then make a goal to exceed those numbers in the coming year. If you had 900 leads in 2019, maybe you want to increase that to 1000 in 2020. If your customer conversion rate was 12 percent, you might make your goal 15 percent for 2020. When you have data, real numbers, it makes business planning much more predictable, effective, and productive.
It’s helpful to adopt a conservative approach when it comes to business planning, particularly in regard to financial projections. This is one area where you never want to over-promise. When making your business plans, you should also take into account any special objectives you might have for the coming year, like paying off a business loan early or acquiring new equipment.
Achieve Your Business Goals
Once you’ve decided on your goals for 2020, you need to make plans for achieving those goals, and those plans need to be specific. For example, if you are looking at your income goals, based on an average purchase price, do you know how many conversions you need to achieve your goal? If you know approximately how many conversions you need to make, then you can create a goal for how many conversions you need for the entire year, and even break it down by month. Are there high months and low months for your business? Make sure to take those into account during your goal planning.
Whether you are a sole proprietor or a company with employees look for ways to streamline the day to day tasks which will allow you to focus on achieving your goals.
Safeguard is a partner you can count on to meet your business goals. Your personal Safeguard advisor is an expert on the products and services you need to make managing and marketing your business easier and more effective. Safeguard can help with everything from checks and forms to online marketing and full-color printing. Contact us today to get started.