You never need an excuse to do better business – to reflect, to strategise, to implement positive change.
But being on the brink of 30 June, it just makes sense to stop and think about where you’re headed, where you want to be, and how to get there.
It can be hard to know where to start. To make things simpler, we’ve set out five steps to help effectively plan for the year ahead.
1. Set clear business goals
Do you look back on the year gone and wish you’d achieved more? Or perhaps you have some big aspirations for the year ahead, and don’t know how to tackle them?
Setting goals – while cliché – are critical. But the way you do it can determine your chances of success.
Figures say the more clearly you articulate and visualise your goals, the greater chance you have of reaching them.
Forbes even says a person who vividly describes or pictures their goals is “anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals” than one who doesn’t.
The best way to do this? Write your goals down. It forces you not to be vague, and means your goal won’t get lost in among your countless other thoughts.
If you’re working towards a big goal, break it down into smaller, more manageable steps to increase your chances of getting it done.
Wendy Osefo, a Professor at John Hopkins University, says that if you aren’t working toward improvement, you might reach a professional standstill, no matter the month.
“You don’t want to get stuck on a hamster wheel at work,” she says.
“You want to keep pushing yourself to reach your full potential. Setting goals keeps you motivated to achieve more, depending on what is important to you.”
2. Dust off your business plan
When was the last time you made a change to your business plan?
Business plans are living, breathing documents, and updating yours should be part of your regular routine.
Review your value proposition (here are some great examples). What are your customers really buying from you? What problems is your product or service solving? Where is the need?
Analyse changing trends and technologies. Where are the gaps in the market? Are there new competitors to be aware of?
You could find new business opportunities, or discover threats that need to be explored.
Check in and see where your business fits in the market. Review your target markets, customers and competitors.
3. Consider how to improve efficiency
Is your workspace working for you? Are you getting the timely information you need to run your business?
Put time aside to making sure your business processes and records are in order.
It’s a simple way to start the financial year with a clean slate, and it needn’t be a chore if you’ve got the right systems in place.
Business.gov.au has some great record keeping tips for small business owners.
If you’re a growing or mid-to-large sized business, you might think about investing in online tools if you haven’t already.
You can always speak to a Bentleys advisor to help determine what system is best for your business.
4. Upskill in areas across your business
As your business evolves and grows, so should you.
Being a small business owner, it’s likely you are one person wearing numerous hats.
This financial year, set a goal to prioritise developing your skills across all areas of your business.
The internet is full of information and the more you start to look into something, the more you’ll realise how much you don’t know.
Stay up-to-date in design trends, learn how to craft a compelling marketing email, or discover more about how to leverage the latest social media tools.
It could even be watching a TED Talk, taking a free online course, subscribing to a business journal, or perhaps even taking the plunge and enrolling in a formal qualification.
5. Innovate for success
Innovation is the key to your business’ competitive advantage.
It simply means coming up with new ways of doing things, and it goes hand-in-hand with Step 2 (reviewing your business plan).
In your business, innovation can look like creating more effective processes, improving services or coming up with new products.
Business.gov.au outlines some of the practical steps you can take towards becoming more innovative, and navigating change and growth.
Is it time to evolve or reinvent your business? No matter what your business goals, and no matter what the time of year, the team at Bentleys will help you get where you want to be. Find your local office today and take the first step towards a better business future.