3 Simple Steps to Planning for 2013

2012 has come and gone! We’re now on to another year of uncertainty that will test our abilities as business managers. The one thing that seems to separate the good managers from the weak ones is the amount of planning they do. Strong managers understand that you can’t leave things to chance. Building a plan puts you in control of your destiny instead of just going along for the ride.

If you’re used to managing with a bit of planning discipline, well done! If not, it’s never too late to start. Business planning does not need to be a lengthy or cumbersome process for any company. I blogged before about the simplicity of a one page marketing plan that can be prepared in a few hours. All it requires is some time to think through your objectives, key strategies and tactics/programs that you will use to get there.

One of the best ways to start the planning process is with a business review. Taking stock of what worked or didn’t work from a business perspective can provide tremendous insight about how to drive better performance. A business review is a simple way to look at the key performance indicators (KPI’s) of your business to see what’s working and what isn’t.

There’s very little point to just repeating the same programs over and over again and expecting a different result. Come to think of it, isn’t that the definition of insanity? Taking stock of what programs are working to drive incremental sales or leads will help narrow the focus of your efforts and increase results. Not to mention the improved efficiency of your valuable resources.

Another approach is to book meetings with some of your key customers and ask them some pointed questions about how you’re doing. Getting direct feedback is the best way to uncover blindspots and areas of opportunity to improve your business. Most customers will be open to telling you what they like and don’t like about your business. The benefit of this approach is that it’s direct and fast. You can get valuable information that you can act on right away. Acting quickly early in the year to correct problems will deliver meaningful improvements in your business later in the year when it counts.

Get off to a strong start in 2013 with some proactive business planning and you’re reap the rewards.


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