Whether you’re in the new start stages of business, or an already-established or growing model, planning and preparation are essential to your success. Clearly defining goals and regularly reviewing your strategy help you remain focused and ensure every decision is made with your business’ growth in mind. Here are our top planning tips for a successful 2018.
1. Diarise it
It’s easy to get swept up in the momentum of running your business and let planning take a backseat, but organisation is key. Your plan should be a useful document that informs every decision you make, so it’s worth setting aside the time to get it right.
2. One-page plan
If your original business plan is long and seems tedious to review, it might be worth summarising with the one-page model favoured by many entrepreneurs. This plan helps you keep your ideas brief and focused, making it much more likely that you’ll review and update it. Map out your business overview, objectives, USP, target audiences, marketing strategy, overheads, projections and profits on a sheet of A4 and keep it to-the-point. There are some great templates available online to help you if you get stuck.
3. Clear, measurable objectives
It’s essential your team are aligned with your business objectives and long-term goals to ensure everyone is ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’! Your objectives should be quantative as definitive indicators of success.
4. Tweak as you go along
Your plan should develop with your business as you constantly analyse and learn from experience. Ensure your strategy is front and centre at all times so you can make tweaks as and when things change. Opportunities may arise, but try and make the distinction between adapting for the better and going off on a tangent!
5. Marginal gains
Matthew Syed’s ‘Black Box Thinking’ theory has been applied to improve performance across everything from Olympic cycling to aviation to business! The theory suggests marginal gains of 1% should be made across every area, element and process to equate to a vast improvement over time. Look closely at the different areas of your business to seek opportunities for improvement and growth. There’s no better place to start than previous failures; assessing what went wrong and how you’re going to adapt and improve going forward.