Benjamin Franklin once said: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”.
Growing a small business is important. A key factor for consistent and healthy growth is yearly planning. A good way to start a new plan is by analyzing the past year and determine the company’s strengths and weaknesses. After which, hold a brainstorming session involving team members and discuss what things you would like to achieve for the upcoming year.
A fun option is to take a company trip to a location where the planning event can take place. This may also be a tax-deductible expense. You can also combine it with team building and make it a pleasant “perk” for employees. Be sure to leave “Negative Nancy” at home, however. Or let her/him know that this is a positive-thoughts-only trip. And yes, we all have one of those employees; it’s best to address negative attitudes early.
What is a business planning calendar?
Think of a yearly business calendar like a roadmap of what your company plans to do and the goals you would like to achieve for the next year. Make it simple. Break down the calendar into monthly goals and then quarterly goals. Be sure to create a visual chart or calendar so it can be reviewed daily on a desktop image or a physical chart on the wall. These reminders help to keep the focus on your goals.
What should be on my Calendar for my business in 2022?
There are many things that can be useful on a business calendar from travel to tradeshows and events to marketing schedules. However, there are three main categories that should be considered:
- Marketing Plan:
- Create a list of your ideal customers and how to target them.
- What makes your company unique compared to other companies and how is this exceptionality communicated to your target customer?
- Develop a marketing message that speaks to your experience and reputation.
- Set a budget of how much you will spend on marketing activities based on what each activity costs, who it targets, when and how often you plan to spend.
- Track the results. This can be achieved with a spreadsheet or one of the many business planning apps available in the marketplace.
- Financial plan and budget:
- Base your marketing plan on history. After analyzing the previous year, determine the successful expenditures and project what you would like to spend each month moving forward. This should give a good sense of the cash flow needed for the year.
- Operational improvement plans – Consider the following items and list ways to improve the company’s operations:
- Marketing: Develop a team to share the company’s vision and message.
- Sales: The key to cash flow is sales. Educate and motivate staff to improve sales.
- Customer fulfilment: Efficiency in delivering goods or services is an important goal to customer fulfilment.
- Customer satisfaction: If developing loyal customers seems arduous, losing them can be worse. Set out a plan of how to keep your base and how to grow it.
- Leadership and organizational management: Evaluate your workforce. Maybe it’s time for “Negative Nancy” to retire or resign. A strong business requires well-organized leaders willing to cut ties with no-productive areas of the business.
- Cash flow management including inventory, cost of goods, expenses, and travel.
- Back-office management of accounting, data management, reporting, receivables, etc.
Make time for social media platforms:
Now is the time to be the media maven or social influencer you’ve always wanted to be.
As an important part of the planning process, budgeting time for social media platforms requires consistency. This can also be part of the company’s advertising campaigns. Goals for this should include are:
- Increase shares of voice with daily posts and repeat, repeat, repeat.
- Gain new followers: Never fear asking people to take interest in the company and what you do.
- Drive traffic to your website through fun, educational or interesting posts.
- Generate new leads through low-cost ads that reach a broad audience.
- Grow community engagement and develop loyalty. Again, repetition is the key.
- Allocate customer support requests through FAQ’s on your website.
Allow for flexibility:
There is nothing like a crisis to test one’s creativity and perseverance.
Maybe Negative Nancy has a secret passion to be the face of social media and networking and according to her millions of Pinterest followers, she is good at it. Being flexible is about making changes and adapting to unforeseeable events that influence our environment. With a little recognition and redirection Nancy could be your best asset. I’m sure she would agree, and it may be beneficial to use her social media talents.
Plan for effectiveness
- Define your business concept: A vision statement is an aspirational declaration of what you want to achieve in the future.
- Create your mission: This is how you plan to achieve your vision.
- Set your goals: These objectives are measured results achieved by persons or a system in a specific timeframe.
- Develop a plan: This is a long-term strategy that helps you reach the company’s goals.
- Define your approach: This is the methodology as to what your business will do to execute its plan.
- Get down to business: Use tactics focused on initiatives, projects or programs that allow the business to carry out the strategic plan.
Need more resources and information on planning for 2022? Paris SBDC can give you ideas and expert advice on how to properly plan and execute your calendar for 2022. Let us help you with your small business planning needs. Contact Paris SBDC today!
For additional resources and information on planning to succeed in 2022, please contact us at the Small Business Development Center – SBDC – Serving Paris area: Lamar, Hunt, Hopkins, Delta, and Red River counties.