Evaluate FIRST, Plan Second – Success Tips For Annual Business Planning

evaluate-first-plan-second-success-tips-for-annual-business-planningI am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Visithttp://facebook.com/visasmallbiz to take a look at the reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, the Page will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner’s success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa’s small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit http://visa.com/business.

Did you have a successful and profitable year? I hope you’re celebrating!

Did you miss the mark on some of your business and financial goals?  I hope you’re NOT in a depressive state and that instead you’re using this time to evaluate what didn’t work so you can make the necessary course corrections.

 

Whether you’ve reached your goals and are having a well-deserved celebration, or if you feel you came up short, the beauty of life is that tomorrow comes again, and so will the coming year.

Whether you’re celebrating, or learning from a rocky year, new plans for 2014 are needed.

NOW is the best time to evaluate.  I know it can be a busy time, but waiting until “after the holidays” will put you behind.

EVALUATE FIRST

Take some time to review both your personal life and your business.  For this conversation today, we’re going to talk about the five hats that you wear as an entrepreneur:

Creating

Marketing

Fulfilling

Managing/Admin

Learning

For each of the five categories, ask yourself three powerful questions:

What worked in 2013?

What didn’t work in 2013?

What needs to change for 2014?

The beauty of a new year is an opportunity to re-evaluate.  Once we know what we want to duplicate and do again, AND what doesn’t work that you can let go of – THAT is something to celebrate.  Entrepreneurship is one of the best stages for learning.

PLAN SECOND

Once you’ve done your evaluating, it’s time for a new plan.  If you hate the word ‘plan,’ like some of my clients do, create a MAP – a simple guide that will help you chart a new course in your business.

I use the same 5 Time Categories that we evaluated above.  Sit down with your laptop or a good old fashioned pen and paper and answer the following questions:

What do you need to CREATE in the new year?  Do you need to add new products or services to your portfolio?  If so, how many and when will you launch them?

What does your MARKETING strategy look like in 2014?  Review different mediums and make a plan for the whole year.  I know that some things will change or be added over the course of the coming months, but commit to being proactive in your promotion goals.  What mediums will you use?  Do your headlines and messages need to change?

Is there anything that needs to change in your FULFILLING process?  Do you need to change shipping suppliers or systems?  If you’re in a service-based business, do you need to change the way you meet or interact with your clients to fulfill contracts?

If you have employees, what needs to change in terms of how you MANAGE them? Do they need 1-on-1 meetings with you once a week to keep up with goals and to-do lists?  What new positions do you need to have in your business?

Even if you’re a solo-entrepreneur, I recommend that you use part-time virtual assistants on a temporary or permanent basis.  There are plenty of tasks that need to be delegated our outsourced so that you can be focusing on revenue-generating activities.  What plan can you put in place to hire your first employee or contractor?

Finally, what do you need to LEARN in the next 12 months?  What aspects of your business or your industry are you a little rusty on?  Are there association events you need to plan to attend and get on the calendar?   Keeping fresh is such a critical part of business longevity.

Remember, my equation for success is Success = VISION + ACTION.  First you need to visualize what you want for 2014, then you need to take the steps to make it happen!  A good plan includes GOALS and the ACTIONS you’ll take to reach them.

I carved out four hours this week to do this for my business.  I’ll spend about an hour on evaluation (I love to geek out with some white boards and post-it note easel pads) and then I’ll sit and strategize on how to create a banner year.   (If you want to see some of the images and another easy planning process from my planning meeting go here.)

Join me?

Originally Published on StartupPrincess.com on December 18, 2013

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