The start of a new year always brings with it the opportunity to take stock of your business and where it’s headed. With the festive season behind you and a new year in front, it’s the perfect time to re-evaluate, make some big plans and set some new goals.
This blank page enables you to really start as you mean to go on for the next 12 months and at the crux of that is some detailed planning. With lots of economic uncertainty ahead, during what will no doubt be an unprecedented year for Britain, having your own road mapped out could be more important than ever.
With that in mind here are our top tips for getting your business off to a great start in 2019.
Review the last year
Planning for a new year should begin with a review of the last. What worked, what didn’t, whether you achieved what you set out to achieve and so on.
It all starts with a vision
Do you have a vision or mission statement for your business? No matter how long you have been in business, if you don’t have a vision statement, it’s worth giving this some thought. If you do have one, when was the last time you reviewed it? The start of a new year is a great time to create or revisit your company’s vision, which mainly comes down to defining the purpose of your business, the values that underpin it and what you want it to achieve.
Ikea’s vision statement, for example, is ‘to create a better everyday life for many people’.
Having a vision statement is a good starting point from which everything else can filter down. It’s also an effective way to ensure staff members feel inspired, motivated and on board with the wider business aspirations.
Setting clearly defined goals
Once you have a clear vision, you can set quantifiable long and short term goals that will help you achieve it. Setting clear goals at the start of a new year will ensure that everything you do is working towards that overarching vision.
So you might set some long term goals for the year; perhaps to grow the business by a certain percentage, to achieve a particular number of additional sales or to win so many new customers. You can then define shorter term, maybe monthly goals, which are the steps you need to take towards achieving the goals for the year. For example, if you want to grow your client base by 100 during the year, you might set the goal of winning 10 new customers per month.
Communicating your ambitions
It’s important for staff morale and motivation to keep them involved in the business. You might ask for their input on what goals and aspirations they think the business should have for the year. Once you have come up with a defined strategy, make sure everyone is aware of it and on board with it.
Working with staff to determine what they need to contribute on an individual level to help achieve the year’s goals ensures everyone knows what is expected from day one. Remember to reward everyone at the end of the year once the goals are achieved!
Don’t forget to track progress against those goals, both for your team members and the business. If this is something that has fallen by the wayside recently, the new year is a good time to get some performance monitoring back in place – start as you mean to go on.
How often do you take the time to review – and question – everything you’re doing in your business? This can be a very useful exercise. Evaluating what is and isn’t working, what resources are over or under utilised, will help you to focus your efforts and resources for the coming year.
Identify your big wins
What are those big ideas you’ve been meaning to implement for ages but haven’t quite got round to? Rather than having them on the ‘to-do’ list for another 12 months, why not pick two or three and build them into your 2019 planning to ensure they get done. This could be launching a new product, taking on a new member of staff or implementing that new marketing plan.
What’s happening in your industry?
As well as looking at your own business, it can help to identify potential industry trends and issues for the coming year. Carrying out this bit of research and checking what your competitors are up to will enable you to get ahead of the game so you can lead from the front, rather than being on the back foot.
Speak to your customers
Have you touched base with your customers recently? Are you still providing what they need? Asking for feedback is a good way of checking whether any changes need to be made to the customer experience. This could be approached with customers as part of your 2019 planning process.
Speak to your staff
January is also a good time to check in with your staff. Do they have any suggestions for improving the work culture or environment that could make your business a better place to work? Happy workers are key to the success of any business and strategy. Good luck and Happy New Year!