Planning for Business Success in 2020

2019 is in the history books, and it is time to plan for the year ahead. You may or may not have had a successful year, but either way, there are always improvements you can make going forward.

Here are some important steps to planning for success in your business in 2020:

Business Success

Reevaluate your Mission, Vision, and Core Principles: The New Year is a good idea to assess where your business is at an reevaluate its overall purpose. Every business should have a mission statement, a statement that lays out their vision, and a set of principles that you are committed to doing business by. If your organization does not have these, now is a good time to implement them. Take a good look at where you are at, where you want to go, and what kind of business you want to be throughout the process.

Set SMART goals: One thing you can do for your business that could pay exponential dividends is to improve the way you approach goal setting and action plans. A good rule to follow is the S. M. A. R. T. acronym:

Specific: Spell out exactly what you want to achieve and make it as specific as possible. Include what you want to accomplish, who will be working on the goal, where the goal will be worked on and achieved, when it will be achieved by, and perhaps most importantly, why it is important for your business to achieve this goal.

Measurable: Make sure your goal is something that is specific enough to measure, so you know whether or not you have really achieved it. For example, “we will achieve a 5% increase in revenue by the end of the first quarter” is much better than “we want to grow our sales year-over-year”.

Attainable: Set goals that will challenge you and your associates and stretch your outer limits, but also make sure that they are realistic and attainable.

Relevant: This ties into the “why” from the first point, be sure the goal is relevant and aligned with the overall vision, mission, and objectives of the business.

Time-Bound: This was also touched on the first point, have a target date and a deadline when the goal should be completed by to help keep you and your team on track.

Consider Setting 12-Week Rather than 12-Month Goals:

Annual and long-term goals are important, but there are drawbacks to living and dying by goals that have a longer deadline for completion. When you set a goal a year out, there is a perception that you have “plenty of time” to achieve it. This can make a good portion of your year less productive than it could be.

Many people in business have experienced the last-minute rush to get things done before a deadline. And this is particularly common when we come to the end of a calendar year or the end of a fiscal year for an organization. By shortening the length of your goals, you and your team are likely to be more focused and productive. With a 12-week goal, for example, every day counts that much more, and this motivates you to stay on track and achieve far more during the year.

Evaluate your Sales and Marketing Strategy: Everyone is in business to make money, and this only happens by maintaining and increasing your sales and turning a profit. But the way you generate sales (i.e., your marketing strategy) is an area that could literally make or break your business. Clearly, your marketing approach will depend heavily on the type of business and industry you are in. For example, some businesses rely heavily on referrals, while others benefit from a prime retail location.

All that said, every business can find ways to market their product or service offering(s) more effectively and efficiently. For many, this means doing less traditional advertising such as television, radio, and newspaper ads and switching to digital mediums that can produce a much higher return on investment. Evaluate your sales and marketing strategies, and if necessary, bring in expert guidance to help you come up with a plan that can give you strong growth and keep you profitable for the foreseeable future.

Consider your Exit Strategy: You may or may not be ready to sell your business in the near future, but there may come a time when you want to step aside and enjoy the fruits of what you have worked so hard to build. Keep in mind also that this day could come sooner than you think as you never know when unforeseen circumstances may arise. When you evaluate your mission, vision, and goals, do this with an eye toward your exit strategy. Is your business marketable to an outside buyer or investor? Could someone from the outside come in and run it successfully without you involved? These and similar questions should be contemplated as you prepare to build a more successful business in the New Year and beyond.

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