The latest tips, insights and thought leadership from the brilliant minds that brought you Ouma.

Why is planning for the year ahead so important?

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

Planning is crucial as it allows you to maintain control over your business instead of being at the mercy of events. Take onboard any learnings from 2019, identify any improvements that need to be made for the year ahead and make 2020 your year.

Setting yourself up with targets will help to improve your business and encourage growth. It also gives you the opportunity to stand back and review the performance of your business and the factors that affect it.

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Here are a few points as to why it is so important to plan your year ahead:

Gives you a goal to reach

When you plan ahead you are forced to identify exactly what it is you want to accomplishki8 and how you intend to do it. This enables you tofocus on exactly what it is you need to deliver yourdesired service or product to your customers. You can create goals or objectives which you are planning to meet,allowing you time to improve your communications and share responsibilities as you identify who needs to do what and when.

Measuring success

How you measure your success is not only a game changer - it’s a life changer. Without setting goals in the first instance, you will find yourself lacking focus and direction. As mentioned already setting a goal, helps you to determine whether you are succeeding. These two components work hand in hand. Setting measurable goals allows you to measure your success effectively. Take a look at certain aspects of your business and decide what you are going to measure to define your personal success.

For example, you can measure the total number of customersor clients that you gain, revenue for the year or your profit for the year. If you have an online business, then measuring your unique site visitors or your total email subscribers can help you to establish whether you are moving forward in your business and what you need to change to ensure you reach your goals for the year.

Breakdown your activities into manageable tasks

Don’t try to change too many things in one go. If you’re new to this process, pick one thing you want to set a goal for and measure it successfully. This allows you to break everything down into smallermanageable tasks, allowing you to hit your goals and succeed in the next year.

When breaking down tasks, you will find that you have a higher success rate. Creating monthly milestones for projects can help you get one step closer to achieving your ultimate end goal. Breaking each task down one by one can help you to finish your project as you follow each step systematically. Writing down each of the action steps can help you condenselargertasks or projects into more manageable ones. Create a plan to help you stay on track with your tasks;giving yourself a deadline for each project will help you to stay focused throughout each month and enableyou to reach your end goal.

Manage your budgets

Managing your budgets can help to keep your finances and business on track throughout the year. Be sure to re-evaluate your budgets on a six-monthly basis to ensure you are staying on the right track. Having a budget in mind and sticking to that budget across the year will help you take control of your finances. This in turn, will ensure you can continue to fund your current commitments, alongside giving you the confidence to make financial decisions to meet your future goals.By managing your budgets correctly, you will be able to ensure you have enough money for any future projects and prospective business growth.

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Maximise the performance of your marketing

Planning for the year ahead means you have more time to understand what is needed for your business to enable growth. In terms of marketing, planning your marketing activity in advance can help you to tell the story of your business more coherently as well as create better content which will not only keep your audience engaged, but result in more sales too.

If you haven’t considered planning your marketing in advance, then you need to consider these four key points:

  • Where is your company going? | Has your overall direction changed? Are you looking to enter any new markets or launch any new products? These are critical questions when developing your marketing plan.

  • Has your audience changed? | Could your demographic be maturing along with your offerings? If your audience has changed, then you should consider changing your messaging.

  • What new options are there to reach by new target audience? | Ensure you consider all possibilities; new marketing tools and services evolve almost every day as audiences grow.

  • Do you need to adjust your overall tactical mix? | Maybe it makes more sense this year to change where you spend your marketing budget, for example, trade shows or social media. Don’t repeat your marketing tactics out of habit as there may be new ways to interact with your audience and this could help you to see better results in the year ahead.

Finally, don't feel like you need to plan your year ahead alone, we’re always here to help and give advice. Ifyou would like a free one-hour consultation, then contact us and we would be more than happy to help you understand where you can take your business in 2020. Bring on the win!