Fourth quarter of the year is not only about the holidays and gift shopping. It’s also marked as planning season for most businesses. In the final quarter of the year, brands decide on the initiatives to roll out for the upcoming year, as well as the budget to allot for of their campaigns or projects.
If you’re a startup or a small business and you would like to find out what goes into end-of-the-year business planning, check out this blog post and you might learn a thing or two:
#1 – Set a well-thought out sales number as your goal
Some business books will advise to go for a high sales target, sometimes more than 100% of your past target. Nothing wrong with that, as long as it is feasible. Make sure the sales target was not selected out of thin air. There should be sufficient thought process that goes into coming up with that number. This is not only meant to encourage the team, but also to prevent future disappointment in case the sales target is too unrealistic to achieve.
#2 – Evaluate what worked and what didn’t
Because planning for the future requires honesty, it helps to review what worked and what didn’t for the business. This gives you a better plan of attack if you want to get better quality leads, level up customer loyalty, or just have a more solid sales pipeline. Doing this also puts you into a position to determine the budget allocation for each initiative.
#3 – Lay out your plans to accomplish #1
After evaluating what worked and what didn’t, you’re now equipped to lay down your plans to reach your sales target. You’re done with the What and Why. This time, it’s the HOW. List down your game plan. Include:
- Target dates of launch;
- Things you need to accomplish it;
- and Project owner (for accountability)
In other words, have a road map.
#4 – What would be your goals and plans for every quarter of the year?
To make it more achievable, set each goal in bite-size. Specify what needs to be accomplished for each quarter of the year. Plan out the details for every season. That way, you’ll have more confidence accomplishing the task because you are able to drill down to details and have set realistic time frames.
#5 – What is the biggest expenditure that you expect next year?
Now here comes the financial part. Because cash flow is the lifeblood of any business, you want to make sure you have ample support for that big expenditure you’re anticipating by next year. This will get you prepared on how to raise money for it, while still being on track with your business’ goals.
#6 – What is the biggest source of income you expect next year?
Some entrepreneurs may not know what would be their biggest source of income in the future. But depending on how you did this year, and the quality of your clients/customers that you were able to close deals with — you now have some idea what factor is most profitable for your business. Include in your planning how you can attract the best income sources for your business.
#7 – What would be the investment requirement?
Of course, in every plan there are investments to be made. It may be time, money, labor, or other resources. Think of these as catalysts to your growth. List down what it takes in order to run your project. Find out how to acquire the needed investment. Where will you source them and how?
#8 – How do you plan to scale the business in 5 years?
Just like when you were starting out in year 1, taking a look back at the drawing board and reviewing your 5-year plan is important. It lets you see if you are still on track or if there are changes that need to be implemented. Scaling a business may not exactly happen in 5 years. It can come sooner or later. What’s important is you keep track of your progress and you set goals every step of the way.
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