As 2018 comes to a close and you finish your final push to hit revenue targets and prepare for your taxes, the time comes to evaluate your business plan and get ready for 2019. Below, we have five simple things you can do to update your business plan and get on the path to a successful 2019 for your business.
As Stephen Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.” Setting realistic goals is the foundation for building out the rest of your business plan. The first step here is to take a look at your 2018 goals and see what lessons are there for you. You can build upon those goals and extend them into 2019. Your 2018 goals may have been just one step towards something larger, and 2019 will be the next step. And, you may have discovered that a goal or two were unrealistic or inaccurately focused. Use those lessons to create your goals for 2019. Remember the old acronym when creating your goals: SMART.
- Be Specific
- Make them Measurable
- Make sure they’re Achievable
- They must be Relevant, pertain to your overall objectives.
- Make them Time-bound
Many of your goals are likely to be tied to your finances. Using the ‘per X’ values from the business book, Good to Great, your overall revenue can be tied to a ‘per’ value, such as:
- Revenue per employee
- Revenue per truck
- Sales per transaction
- Profit per hour
From that, you get an easy equation to build a foundation for the rest of your finances. Then, it comes down to dialing in three major areas of your Profit and Loss Statement:
- Revenue: How can you boost revenue through sales, marketing, and products.
- Cost of Goods and Labor: Identify ways to reduce the direct costs that go into your products and services.
- Expenses: Reducing expenses by negotiating with vendors and creating new efficiencies are always part of a CEO’s plans. It’s the obvious way to boost your bottom line profits.
Also give a look at what your Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statements are telling you. Look for debts that you can eliminate or restructure. Make changes to your sales cycle in order to pull more cash forward in the process.
Designing your product offering ties directly into your sales and marketing plan (see below). You want to identify a good mix of products that bring in new customers and grow your existing customer base. Three ways to do that are:
- Expand Existing Product Line: Take existing products and offer add-ons, modifications, and new versions to excite your customer base.
- Go Digital: Do you have products or services that can be delivered digitally? This is a great way to add a new revenue stream.
- Retire Poor Performing Products: Products with low gross margins not only under-perform, but they also take value resources away from the better products.
4. Sales and Marketing
As we mentioned above, your Sales and Marketing plan ties directly into your products. You want to create the most profitable mix of products and create a sales and marketing plan to get those products off the shelf. Here are a few tips for dialing in that sales and marketing plan:
- Know your numbers: Just like the finances, you need to understand your sales funnel numbers. For example, if you create proposals, you’ll want to know how many sales meetings it takes to get a proposal generated. How many proposals does it take to acquire a new client? Or, take numbers from your website. How many visits turn into leads that turn into new business? Know your sales numbers and set goals for 2019.
- Marketing Personas: The better you know your target market, the better you’ll communicate with them and the better you’ll design your products and help them improve their lives. Update (or create) your marketing personas.
The hidden component of your sales plan is the customer experience. Find ways that your team can WOW your customers, from the sales process all the way through re-orders and support.
We see some of the fastest and most significant improvements come from changes in the team. And the business owner always knows what needs to be done. Make sure you have the right team going into 2019. You want people who share your enthusiasm, who offer innovative solutions, who put in the right effort to help your business achieve its goals. You may have to make some hard decisions, but having the right team going into the new year will pay off in spades.
The second part of building your team is planning for growth. You need to include salaries, wages, benefits, and employee burden (other costs) in your budget and projections. Keep in mind that new employees don’t always work out and training is needed.
Start by setting specific goals for 2019. Use those goals to modify your business plan. Create a financial plan to support those goals as well as support your sales and marketing plan. Identify the most profitable products and devise a plan to get those products into the market. With these simple ideas, you’ll get 2019 off to a strong start and ensure that 2019 ends up being your best year yet!
Let’s plan this together. Contact us for a free consultation and we’ll talk business strategy for 2019. There’s no better way to get all of this done than by having the right accountability partner.