Preparing for the New Year

This time of year, it’s easy to get distracted with holiday parties and tasty treats, but don’t lose sight of what you should be doing at year’s end: assessing your business’ growth over the past 12 months and determining your path for next year. Set aside some time to look at your business and marketing plans to see how well you did in hitting your goals.

How Did Your Year Go?

Now is the time to look at how well your company did financially and determine whether you had the kind of growth you aimed for 12 months ago. Also look at specific products to see how your revenues break down across all product lines. This is a good time to consider culling any products that haven’t sold as well as you’d like, as well as see where you should put more efforts to promote the products with higher profit margins that tend to sell better.

If you set goals for your business back in January, take a moment to see how well you did in achieving them. It’s okay if you didn’t reach all your goals, but pay attention to how close you came. You can decide whether you set your goals too high, or if you had impediments that kept you from reaching them that you could remove next year.

(One tip I have on goal setting: I keep a spreadsheet with my company goals, and have each month of the year listed. I have target numbers, such as how many new customers I want to get each month, and then I record my actual numbers. I can easily go in and see where I am in regards to where I want to be).

Clean the Slate for Next Year

While you don’t want to completely erase your marketing and business plan and start over, you should be open to adding new things or taking out what’s not working. If your business relies on technology in any way (from manufacturing to social media), you may need to reconsider several aspects of product, promotion and pricing. Make a new list of objectives for 2013, and create action steps for how you plan to reach them.

Consider also your employment situation. Do you have enough staff to achieve the goals you’ve outlined for next year? Do you need to bring on additional employees or freelancers to help you get there? Having a clear idea of how your staff will help you achieve your goals can keep them from being overworked as you add to their list of responsibilities as the year rolls by.

And finally, consider your company strategy and mission. Do you still have the same aims you did when you launched? If you haven’t looked at these documents in a while, take time to do it now, while you’re in a period of self-reflection. Get the opinions of several key team members so you get a better perspective on who your company is and what its mission may now be.

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s written two books: 101 Entrepreneur TipsandInternet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and has blogged for several sites, including The Marketing Eggspert Blog, as well as MashableSmall Business TrendsFutureSimple, BizLaunch and Lead411. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

Photo: solofotones on Flickr

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