It’s that time of year! Time to make your business plans for the new year
As 2018 winds down, all the talk is already about year-end vacation. Franchisees might be forgiven for simply wanting to lock up shop and take a well-deserved vac – if you can afford one – after what has been a tough year.
Many people leave planning for the new year until, well, the New Year. Planning is the single most important activity any business owner does, and without it you’re unlikely to be able to relax on vacation. Planning brings calm in rough seas, and should not be a quick by-rote tick-box activity before closing the doors and packing the swimming trunks. It is that approach which has given New Year resolutions a bad name for not lasting beyond end-January. Planning is a not a series of wishful ideas or resolutions – but planning out actual activities for the coming year.
Steps to do in December (this is just a selection of ideas to get you going):
- Don’t plan to plan for the new year on New Year’s Day. Use December, because by year-end you’ll be in holiday mode. New Year’s resolutions have a negative connotation – if that is the case with you then try divorce planning from the new year and do it early.
- Assess what’s worked in your business this year and make plans to make more money, take more time off, and grow your influence in the market next year:
- Will adding a new product or service confuse or help your existing clients? When people take time off to review their business, the most insidious of temptations is to try new things, whether that’s new products, new marketing tactics, or new special offers. But also remember, there is often a ‘direct correlation between diluted focus and a diluted bank account’.
- Review your market positioning, or where your business sits in the market. It’s your branding and stories that your customers tell about your business. Within the context of your franchise branding, you can look at what you could do differently within your community. So if you’re tempted to start something new, or add to your offerings, take a step back and decided whether it reinforces your brand, or does it dilute your focus?
- Question yourself as to what’s different about what you’re offering than what others are offering. You’ve got to look at what other people are doing so you can do things differently.
- Get a personal mentor/s, by seeking out people who are moving at a faster pace than you. You want people who, as a business owner, will actually push you, challenge you, get you outside your comfort zone. That might mean you have to introduce yourself to people outside of the community in which you currently operate. Customers may get tired of hearing from you all the time – you need to find new markets to whom your message is fresh. Attending conferences like the annual Franchising Leadership Summit gives fresh ideas – you should plan on once a month attending some thought-provoking seminar or group which puts a fresh perspective on things that you may have fallen into a rut regarding.
- Know your top priority at any given time. Underlying your specific goals are the things that are really important to you at any given time. These are most likely going to involve: revenue; marketing to get more business; and optimising internal systems.
Finally, leave a thoughtful out-of-office message, a message that has importance and can be used to deepen connections with clients and colleagues while you’re away.