It’s a good thing to have a vision for the forthcoming year and an even better thing to connect this to a set of sales & development goals and the action plan to realise these goals. This is the first post in a short series on goals & vision.
One might argue that the time in the year that you do this kind of planning depends on when the quiet patches are in your market’s annual cycle or when the end of financial year is. However, as devil’s advocate I’d say that such arguments can simply be procrastination and given the economic climate and election next year (likely to result in significant change whoever wins) really it would be worthwhile to plan now for the calendar year 2010. Plus if you start planning now you can raise discussions of 2010 during the December silly season, Christmas lunch etc and give staff, customers and suppliers something to think about between Christmas pudding and New Year fizz.
So, just to get the ball rolling here are a few questions you might want to set your brain to work on (and for MyCake customers there is the added bonus of using the reports in the book-keeping side of things to look to for some answers and the benchmark results for a point of comparison). Keep a notebook handy and start to make a record of your mental notes.
Translating learnings from 2009 into plans for 2010:
- What have been the highlights of 2009 and how can you build on these in 2010?
- What opportunities has the economic climate brought?
- What hard lessons have been learnt and what changes have/will you make as a result?
- Who was your best client financially? (if you were looking at other criteria would this answer change)
- Who was your best new client financially? (look at the income reports in MyCake book-keeping)
- What has been the 2009 definition of a small, medium or large project/client and how would you like to change this for 2010?
- What has made up the main areas of your cost base, is this as expected, what can you learn/build-on/change for 2010? (in MyCake look at the expenditure reports in the book-keeping area)
- What is the state of your current pipeline of work? Is it in line with the normal cycle of the market (or whatever approximates to this if you’re being hit by the recession)
- How is your current market changing? i.e. new trends, growth areas, areas tailing off
- Who seems to be doing well, why and what can you learn from this? (on MyCake you could look at the top quartile in the benchmarking and see how you compare)
- Are there new markets or sectors you should be connecting to and what might this be worth to you?
- What is your turnover goal for next year? What will be the impact on profit?
- How is your cost base likely to change (are there big changes you need to plan for – cost of space, staff etc)
- Do you need to plan for some R&D?
- Should you be planning to take in investment?
- What opportunities would a change in government bring for you?
- If the recession continues what is the worst case result for you?
- If we see recovery in the market how well are you positioned to take advantage of this (and what are the markers for recovery in your area?)
One of the messages in all of this is that it is worth looking at financials of the year that you are finishing as a start point for the planning of the financials of the year ahead. You should look at the raw financials (as diagrams if you prefer these to spreadsheets) and not rely on rose-tinted ill-remembered half facts whilst on a train or in a pub!