Easy Two-Step Business Plan for 2012

2 01 2012

The New Year is a great time to remember and recap what you accomplished last year and to project and plan for the coming year.  I really like the renewed feeling I get at the beginning of January and how it helps me frame the various parts of my family, personal and business life.

When it comes to growing your business in 2012, think about ‘expanding with focus.’  This might mean expanding the number of collections you create, or the number of prospective licensees you contact or the types of themes you cover with your art and designs for licensing.  But whatever it is you choose to expand, make sure that the expansion will impact your business positively.

If you haven’t already taken pen to paper, or keys to screen doc, then think about sitting down and writing out what exactly you’d like to grow and what you believe would increase your bottom line the most—or achieve your primary goals the most—whatever they may be.  Keep in mind that what you want to grow in your business may not be what will achieve your primary goals (or vice versa).

Gather up any notes you took about your business or goals in the last year, or even the last 3 years. Find any resemblance of a marketing plan or projections, if you’ve done them. Then clear off a desk and find quiet time to answer these questions:

1)      What were your accomplishments in 2011? Which one makes you feel most satisfied and fulfilled?

2)      What was your plan for 2011? What parts of it got implemented and which parks got overlooked?

3)      What customer in 2011 contributed the most to your gross profit and which contributed most to your net profit?

4)      What unexpected activities affected your business in a positive way and negative way?

5)      What associates (business partners, friends, colleagues, free lancers) influenced your success the most in 2011?

6)      What activities or people drained your time or energy without producing the results you desired?

7)      What time did you spend on business functions (the daily, weekly and monthly tasks of administrations, bookkeeping, research, managing employees or freelancers, marketing, social networking, PR, etc.,) and how much was spent on sales and creating new art, designs or collections?

8)      What was your bottom line in 2011, compared to 2010 and your plan for 2011?

Now with this under our belt, it’s time to create a simple 2012 Business Plan.  Start by reviewing your answers to the questions above—very carefully.

1)      What from 2011 do you want to keep, eliminate, or change based on your year-end results?

2)      What trends do you expect for 2012 that will affect your business negatively and positively?

3)      What do you most want to accomplish in 2012 (increase income, more retail exposure, broader brand awareness, etc.)?

4)      Who are your competitors and what can you do, and are you willing to do, to distinguish yourself from them?

5)      How do you want to expand in 2012 (sales, profits, employees, art, target audiences)?

The answers to these questions can be turned into a simple plan of action.  If it’s over 3 pages long, it’s just too much.  So narrow your focus, or wording and keep it simple. And probably more important than anything is being clear in your heart as to what’s at stake or risk if you achieve or don’t achieve your goals in 2012.  Knowing this should then help you find the support you need, within yourself, and with friends and colleagues to actually execute the plan. No one achieves their biggest goals without the right foundation and support, so make sure you attend to those needs early on and throughout this glorious New Year! I’m psyched.

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