Planning Success? 6 Steps that are simple to follow!

2011 is lurking right around the corner – are you ready to make a big splash in the new year? It’s time to start thinking about a possible new plan and goals for your business. Now’s your chance to put a plan in place so that you’re ready to go when January comes.

As with most projects, deciding what to do in is the hardest part. But once you are clear in identifying a game plan, execution will be easy. Take a few moments to put your ideas on paper (If it’s not in writing, it does not exist). This will go a long way in making sure you are poised to hit your goals in 2011.

Here are six tips to help you develop and implement a great plan for your business:

1. Clearly define your Goals

Your plan isn’t complete without clear goals and expectations. This is your chance to define exactly what you would like to see in the coming year. A clear goal could be to sell a certain number of new units each quarter. Or it could be to increase revenue numbers by a certain percentage. It could also be to increase website conversion rates throughout the year.

Whatever the expectations, be sure to break them down to monthly or even daily goals. This will help you know exactly what you need from your plan to hit your big picture goals.

2. Plan for the entire year

Things change all the time in your business: staff, market dynamics, budget, etc. But even though things will change throughout the year, it’s important to have a year-long plan. You’ll be able to identify upfront what you will need to do throughout the year to hit your sales and revenue goals. Plus, planning for the entire year allows you to take into consideration any seasonal changes or trends that are common to your business.

3. Get Information

As you develop your strategy for the new year, be sure to reference statistics and data you have already gathered. Taking a moment to identify your very best customers and their common demographics will help you target your messaging. It’s also important to evaluate the current and projected market temperature for your industry – this includes making note of what your competitors are doing and what you can do to stand apart in the crowd.

4. Plan your ideas in writing

Your plan should also include specific examples of what you will do to drive sales and revenue. Be sure to list what types of marketing you will utilize (i.e. print media, email marketing, website traffic, pay-per-click ads, etc). You may even want to pinpoint specific campaigns (such as holiday discounts) that you will use throughout the year.

This is also a good time to identify your overall marketing budget and to allocate it according to your strategy.

5. Involve everyone on your TEAM

It’s important to get feedback from as many interested parties as possible. Consult your people in sales, finance, operations, and other advisors. This will help you keep the big picture in mind as you develop your plan. It will also ensure that others on the team have a vested interest in more than just their corner of the business.

6. Develop a system to measure results

If you don’t measure your performance, you won’t know what needs to change. This is no time to shoot from the hip because you have a hunch. Accurate reporting will help you make educated decisions in your plan. Use a system to measure the success of each campaign. Make adjustments to your methods and continually strive to improve your ROI.

Onward to your success!

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