Monday, November 24, 2014

Tips for Planning a Successful New Year

In the hustle bustle of the holiday season, many of us are also closing year and planning the future.  There are many ways to forecast to create the strategy and tactics to reach your goals.  Here are the high level steps to help you craft a plan towards success.

Data Diving
One of the first place to look before going forward is by looking back. Take a historical look at what worked and what didn't this past year.  Review end of the year reports based on your collective goals. Evaluate what efforts helped reach your goals. Decide what can be changed, tweaked, or remove to drive better results in the new year.

Competitive Analysis
Another helpful piece of information looking at what your competition is doing. Are they going after new markets, offering a new product, at a different price point or brand message?  Determine if you want to be a me-to or go a different direction.  You need to have a unique selling proposition for your business model that differentiates you verses your competitors.  Keep this in mind as you plan.

Marketing and Sales Plan
This is where the rubber meets the road. You can do a lot data analysis and market research, but your sales plan is where your brand message and product/service offering is broadcast to the world. This should be a heaviest hitting part of your plan for the year. Here you decided what sales efforts, advertising, and promotions you are running. Determine if you are launching new product, attending new events, hiring new staff and beyond. 

Put it all Together
Crunch the numbers and create the forecast for success. This isn't a true crystal ball into the future but should you a rough idea of direction. Review all these pieces with your team. Get collective buy-in on the path. Is the plan realistic, achievable, are you taking into account potential roadblocks or contingency plans for uncontrollable items such as government regulation.  

Now that you have the plan, go forth and prosper. Remember the old adage what gets measured gets done. Monitoring the success of your plan and adjusting as appropriate will keep you on track. 

How does your team plan for the new year? Do you have tips that might help us all? Please share below. Happy Planning!