MAKE 2014 YOUR BEST YEAR EVER — Two-Step Business Plan for 2014

23 01 2014

2014 business plan circleThis is the second part of the ‘Make 2014 Your Best Year Ever’ blog. Don’t worry if you didn’t get organized for 2014 last year, many people didn’t. It’s still January, and the New Year is just getting going; there is still time to establish goals and make plans.

I really like the renewed feeling I get in January and how it helps me frame the various parts of my family, personal and business life. Start by remembering and recapping what you accomplished last year, and envisioning a plan for the coming year. As we discussed yesterday in this blog, think about tackling what you fear most in 2014 to reach new levels in your business.

If you haven’t already taken pen to paper, or keys to doc, then sit down and start writing out exactly what you’d like to grow in your business 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 or table, and find quiet time to answer these questions:

1)      What were your accomplishments in 2013? Which one makes you feel most satisfied and fulfilled?

2)      What was your plan for 2013? What parts of it got implemented and which parts got overlooked?

3)      What customer in 2013 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) influenced your success the most in 2013?

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 2013, compared to 2012 and your plan for 2013?

Now with this under our belt, it’s time for the second step: to create a simple 2014 Business Plan.  Start by reviewing your answers to the questions above—very carefully.

1)      What from 2014 do you want to keep, eliminate, or change based on your year-end results?

2)      What trends do you expect for 2014 that will affect your business negatively and positively?

3)      What do you most want to accomplish in 2014 (increase income, more retail exposure, broader brand awareness, attend trade shows, 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 2014 (sales, profits, employees, art, target audiences)?

6)      What is the biggest fear you can identify which is stopping your business from succeeding and how can you tackle it in 2014?

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 2014. 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!



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