- Posted by Alaia Williams
- On December 27, 2013
- business planning, business strategy, goal setting, SWOT analysis
(Prefer to listen? Check out the latest episode of the At the Helm Podcast)
Any good business strategy will include both immediate and long-range planning. Immediate planning is needed to manage day-to-day tasks and the inevitable issues that arise every week. Long-range planning is needed to ensure the overall health and growth of your business. Here are some tips to help you plan ahead for the coming year:
Revisit your mission and vision statements. These are the values that drive your business, and likely drive you personally! Before you can go any further, it is important to make sure these statements accurately represent what your business does and where you want it to go. Take any time you need to update your mission or vision, thinking about how these statements will shape your year-long strategy.
Do a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, and is a vital part of your planning. Give this step ample time for reflection, brainstorming, discussion, and advice. Remember to be specific as you identify strengths and weaknesses, and ask for outside (objective) input, too. As you think through your opportunities and threats, see the big picture and think as analytically as you can about factors that influence your business (local community, marketplace, etc)
Set goals and create marketing strategies. Remember to SMART-ly go about your goal setting, setting goa
ls that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. A good strategy is to think about your long-range goals first, and then work backwards to more close-range goals. You can adjust these goals throughout the year as things change and evolve. Be specific and identify weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals.
Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPI). KPI are important as they allow you to know, in a concrete way, how your business is performing. They also help you adjust expectations and goals based on the information from KPI evaluation. In your planning, list all your KPI and how you will track them (methods and frequency).
Once you have worked your way through these steps, pull out your 2014 calendar! Take note of holidays and other specific times of year that directly affect your business. Using months and weeks as your time-intervals, schedule regular meetings and evaluations; and plan to revisit this process in June to assess your progress in the first half of the year.