When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. This quote is attributed to Benjamin Franklin. Another well-known quote is by Sir Winston Churchill: Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. That’s why smart businesses take the time to review their prior year and plan for the next, learn what worked, what didn’t and where to concentrate their efforts for the coming year. While the ideal time to do so is just after your Q3 numbers are in, for those that found 2017 went by more quickly than most, it’s not too late to put your 2018 plan together.
The following are some tips to help you put your 2018 plan together:
Take a look at all areas of your business, what went well for you? Did you implement new policies with your trainers, did you concentrate on providing top-notch customer service? Did you introduce a new line of products? Did your customers receive them well, or did they flop? If you have more than one location, did one in particular outshine the others and if so, what did they do different that can be replicated in your other facilities?
If you continue without changing anything at all, what do your numbers look like for the coming year? Does that keep you on a steady growth path or stagnant? Remember to keep in mind price increases for inventory or equipment that may need to be replaced. Consider any competitors that may be opening up soon. How much will that affect your business? How can you do things differently in order to continue on a growth pattern?
What was the best use of your money last year and where will it best be spent this year? More marketing? Improved equipment? Investing in profit centers? Staff training? Consider all your options and remember to keep top of mind how it will improve the customer experience so that your business continues to grow. You may, at this point, be considering hiring additional staff to accommodate customer acquisition or even opening another location to meet growing demands. Consider adding additional products and services that will enhance the customer experience and help them reach their goals.
Get your advertising commitments signed, create your annual plan and budget; don’t forget to include benchmarks to signal whether you are meeting or exceeding your goals. Consider what investments need to be made and when so that you are ahead of your customers and their mentality during the coming year.
Where are your priorities for the coming year?