New Year Business Planning Strategy

confettisnippetThe beginning of a new business year is upon us. This is an excellent opportunity to build energy for the new year by reflecting upon the successes and challenges of your business.  Here are some tips and ideas for constructive activities to prepare your business for a new year.

I. Evaluate this Past Year

  • Review the year’s performance against the budget or expectations you had at the year’s outset. Take note of which areas of the business outperformed and which areas fell short to help formulate your business goals and objectives for the new year.
  • Review the year’s performance against the prior year to identify business trends; identify areas of progress and areas of continued challenge.
  • Benchmark your business’ performance for the current year against industry peers to identify both areas of opportunity, as well as strengths of your business.
  • Evaluate your cash practices, particularly with respect to accounts receivable and payable methods. Has the cash balance been adequate all year?  Are receivables being collected in a timely manner?  Is the business getting ample time to pay its bills?

II. Business Planning Steps for the New Year

  • Gather your notes from reviewing current year performance, the revised goals and objectives, ideas from analyzing industry peers, and observations made about the current year business performance.
  • This is a good opportunity to review the key performance indicators (KPI’s) for your business and identify others that may need to be tracked based on your performance review.
  • Develop a SWOT analysis, listing your business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, which will be used to further develop your 2015 plans.
  • Schedule meetings with key management or key employees to gather further ideas of opportunity for improving the business.  With the information you’ve already gathered, you’re prepared for the meeting and can share with them any parts you think necessary or helpful.

By now, you will have developed the basis for the business initiatives for the new year based on the performance review, shortcomings in achieving the goals and objectives for the current year, feedback gathered with your business team, and areas of the business requiring improvement based on the SWOT analysis.

III. Formulate The New Year Business Plans

  • Create goals and objectives for the new year, making sure they are realistic and achievable.
  • Prepare the operating and financial budgets, and overall expectations for the new year.
  • Update your Business Plan based on any variations, new initiatives and revised expectations from the previous Business Plan.

With well-developed objectives, goals, plans and budgets, you’ll be off to a sound financial start to the new year.  And you will have accomplished the first step toward achieving your 2015 goals!

If you need help with any of these tasks, please contact us.