Update your business plan for 2017

3 Tips to Update Your Business Plan for the New Year

What’s your New Year’s Resolution: “stay fit”, “stress less”, “save more”? The New Year is a welcome opportunity for some personal reflection and goal setting, but are you making any resolutions to help make your business better than ever? January is a great time to consider your business goals and to plan what you’d like to achieve in the coming twelve months.

1. Establish your priorities

Business owners are typically creative and optimistic people; as a result, they often have difficulty narrowing down their ideas from among all the exciting possibilities. They also tend to be multi-taskers with ever-growing to-do lists! But to get results you need to cull the list of all the things you could do – both the exciting and the mundane – and find the one or two things that will make a real and noticeable difference to you and your business this year. That doesn’t mean that you will never do the other things – just that you are choosing to focus your energy where it will have the greatest impact right now.

Whether it’s establishing a better debtor management strategy, hitting a certain revenue target, or expanding to a new market, as you consider your 12 month business plan start by defining your top business goal for the coming year. Keep your focus on what’s most important for your business to achieve. With that goal in mind, do some research or speak with your business adviser to help you decide on the best way to achieve your goal.

Break your goal down into smaller goals (or ‘milestones’) and tasks. This will help to maximise your productivity and allow you to enjoy the little successes that lead to big changes. Make sure to set specific, measurable targets and reasonable timelines. Review your business plan every quarter to ensure you stay on track throughout the year.

Be realistic about opportunities and challenges as you plan ahead. Your business adviser should be able to offer guidance, help you set meaningful short and long term goals, and help you track your progress.

2. Think differently

As part of your overall business planning process, spend some time brainstorming and thinking differently about you business.

An important thing to keep in mind as you make plans to move your business forward is how you’ll stay competitive. For instance, it’s important to review your pricing strategy annually to ensure you continue to attract and retain customers. However, remaining competitive isn’t all about pricing; your competitive position as a whole requires a bit more creative thought. Include in your business plan how you will increase the value for your offerings and how you will continue to stand apart from the crowd.

Read this article about The Importance of Brainstorming to see how brainstorming can help you come up with fresh, creative ideas.

3. Find the money

If you don’t have savings earmarked to fund your ideas, make sure your business plan includes adequate financial planning.

Applying to a lender for a business loan may be an option. In this case, you’ll want to include up to date cashflow reports, income statements, budgets and projections in your plan for a potential lender. If your business doesn’t have a credit history, you may need to look at other options for financing your plans.

Your business adviser should be able to provide additional advice and support as you update your business plan, based on your most current financial records.

What next?

Consider the systems underlying your business operations as these can either hinder or support your progress. An easy to use yet powerful online accounting system such as Xero will help you manage your business better and help your adviser work closely with you; providing real-time advice to support you in running and improving your business.

Remember that your business doesn’t run in a vacuum; it pays to keep your overall personal circumstances and financial situation in mind when you’re updating your business plan. A good business adviser will understand the nuances of your personal, family and business situation and will help you consider your objectives, overall tax effectiveness and wealth management plans along with your business goals.

With these business planning tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared for a new year of growth and continued success. Happy New Year!