2013 seems to have got off to a roaring start, particularly now everyone is back from the beach. It never ceases to amaze me how quick those first 6 weeks go.
At this time of year we really like to bed in our plans for the next 12 months. While we know we won’t always stick to them to the letter; setting our overall goals, quarterly targets and our annual budgets gives us a good basis for the year.
We do this in a series of steps:
1. We start by reviewing our business plan – this was given a good review three years ago and now gets a yearly dust off to make sure we still want to achieve the same things and how we are going – are we still working with the same end in mind?
2. Then we pull together the plan for the year. This fits on one A3 piece of paper, with one big goal for the year. We then identify the three things needed to achieve to reach that goal with specific targets – for example in your business that might be how many new customers your want, what their average spend might be, and your gross margin target.
3. What are we going to achieve in the first quarter? On that same piece of paper we identify the first quarter goals – 90 days of action. How will we know we are on track? What do we need to do to hit the ground running? What does each team member need to focus on? What is the theme for the quarter? One of our clients is targeting to have 80% of their customers rebooked for their next appointment each month.
4. Put together the budget – as accountants we know that it is the numbers that tell you how you are doing – and when you are off track. Quantifying strategic plans into a budget enables you to identify whether you are on track throughout the year, what impact growth will have on cash flow, where costs are going to increase and what extra resources you need to fund growth.
5. Finally, the marketing plan – the key to driving growth. We identify our annual marketing plan and a detailed plan for the next 90 days, what events we are running and where will we advertise. By tying this back to the overall plan you can identify what you want to achieve from each campaign and how you will measure it.
We are fortunate to have a lot of wall space and white boards in our offices, so this is a very visual process. As we get in to the more detailed planning we get key team members involved.
For us one of the key outcomes from last years plan was employing a marketing person. Like many business owners we always thought it was something an admin person could do and that we could manage it ourselves. With the philosophy of what you focus on drives success, having someone focusing on marketing has proved to be a real difference to our business.
So do you have a plan? And what are you focusing on?
We have a strategic planning process for businesses like yours – if you are interested in finding our more give Margaret or Philippa a call on 0800 2ENGINE (Approved for NZTE funding of up to 50% for qualifying businesses).