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Make the Most of 2014

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Are you planning for a great 2014?

In order to have success, you must plan for success. In order for a business to have success, it must know where it is going. And it starts with your leadership as the owner or manager.

As we all are starting a new year, do the following 7 actions to help you not only plan for a new year but know where you are going and how you will get there.

Set SMART Goals / Clear Results – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time frame.

Set goals for the year, like financial results, income for you, profit for the company. Also set goals around the number of clients you desire, your conversion rate, or any number in your business you want to improve. If you want to improve at a number you must set a goal around it. Make sure it is clear, specific and you can answer at a set time yes or no we have achieved it.

Choose Profit / Revenue / Expense Budget – The story for your year.

In order to have profit we must plan for profit. Create a month by month revenue (by product or product line) budget. Then create a month by month expense budget. Look at your past expenses, which ones will go up, down, or stay the same. What new expenses do you plan for the year? Any purchases or new employees to add to the budget? By subtracting your monthly expense budget from your monthly revenue budget, this will create your monthly profit goal. Is it what you were hoping for? If not reduce expenses or increase your revenue. This process will help you create your story for 2014. When you will buy things, when you will sell things. Now create your realistic story.

Develop your Marketing Plan to Accomplish Story – Actions/dates.

Now that you have created your revenue/expense budget you need to have clarity of your marketing actions. What will you do and when that will generate the leads or new customers to achieve your monthly income goals? Know your cash conversion cycle so it is clear how long your sales cycle is. Know what your conversion rate is, so you know how many leads you need to get the number of customers you desire. Your marketing plan should support your financial story. If you desire to spend more in marketing you need to adjust your financial story. If you are absolutely clear on your target audience, your marketing actions, and your dates of those actions, you have a powerful marketing plan.

Calendar for the Year – Events, benchmarks, deadlines, trade shows, vacations, etc.

Hopefully this one is self explanatory. Go through each month of the year and identify what you have going on in your life and your business on the calendar. Plan out dates of vacations, trade shows or conventions you be attending, days your office will be closed for holidays, training events, planning days, and any other major dates you want to anticipate, communicate and prepare for.

KPI’s to hold Yourself to – Weekly/Monthly

Key Performance Indicators are measurements of actions that you will take to achieve the results you are after. For example, If I want $100,000 of sales in a month, how many sales calls are needed at my conversion rate to get there? Know ahead of time how many you need and set that as your KPI. Now you know the minimum number of sales calls needed to achieve our goal. Identify 2-4 KPI’s that you will focus on weekly and monthly that are most important to your business and the goals you have set.

Default Calendar for Your Ideal Week

Do you have ongoing meetings each week? Do have activities that need to be done on a consistent basis? Decide when you will work on them and how much time you will spend on them. We must run our calendar. If our calendar runs us, we will be stressed and not focused on the right priorities. There are many calendar programs to use (Google Calendar, Outlook, etc), choose one and schedule your default events. I also suggest that before you end one day you plan the next on your calendar. Choose how you will invest your time. No one can plan 100% of their days, but you can plan 40-50% of them. Be proactive about managing yourself and your productivity.

Personal Development Plan

What do you want to improve personally on in 2014? And what will you do to achieve it? Choose 2-3 areas that you want to grow your personal skills at. Then identify 2-3 actions for each that you will take to make to improve and then set the dates that you will do them. Our business and lives only get better when we get better.

Put all of the above on paper. If it is not written down, it doesn’t exist.

Good luck, and have a wonderful 2014!