Changes are inevitable. But that doesn’t make them easy to accept or are they always welcome. We have heard songs, poems and epic stories that caution us to prepare for the changes in our lives. Often seasons are used as a metaphor for our lives and businesses. Now it’s “Fall” or “Autumn,” a season that brings the awareness of being prepared for changes most to my mind.
As a business coach, I encourage my clients to create Annual Plans that express the target they want to reach by the end of the year. But like the seasons, changes occur so we need to be flexible on how we reach the target. I suggest that the plans be broken into quarterly goals that adjust for the seasonal changes that can and do occur. The 90-Day or Quarterly Plans allow you to “course correct,” that is to adjust, as you move towards the goals set forth in the Annual Plan.
Just because you are a “small” business owner, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t adopt the proven strategies of much larger businesses. Begin looking at your business with an eye to analysis, measurement and improvement. Create systems and procedures to set a solid foundation that will take stress off as you sustain your business.
The Annual Plan and 90-Day Plans are living documents that need to be reviewed and adjusted as issues arise, goals are met, or not met, and new strategies implemented to reach the next objectives. How do you know that the goals and actions need to be adjusted? When you see that you are off course by analyzing the data that you are measuring.
The data! What data should you be tracking and how often? Let me remind you that no matter what business you think you are in – you are in the “marketing and sales business” first.
At a minimum, you should be looking at your marketing effectiveness. Where are your leads coming from? What is the cost per lead? If you are spending time and effort on something that is not bringing in leads, shift that energy to what is working. Are those leads becoming prospects? Are you having conversations with the prospects? What is the conversion rate from prospect to client? Are you receiving referrals from clients and partners? Do your clients continue with you over a long period of time? Do they upgrade to your next program or continue at the same level of service? These are the minimum you should be looking at regarding your marketing and sales activities.
With a new season upon us, it is time to take stock in the current year’s lessons, bounty and vision and apply them towards the New Year. An Annual Plan can create a yearlong harvest and avoid the “winter” that is often accompanied with not creating goals and plans to execute.
Create your new Annual Plan before the end of the current year and be prepared so you can hit the ground running! Need help with your 2016 strategic plan? Let me help you in a private session!
Call (775-233-8737) or email now so you will be prepared for the New Year!