2018 is fast coming to a close…can you believe it? If you haven’t already started to think about it, now is the time to be planning what you’re going to do with your business next year. It’s also a time to look back on what has happened this year – what worked well, what didn’t. So, before Christmas is here, it’s time to take stock, get your thinking cap on and decide what you want your business to achieve next year.
OK, what’s first?
The Seven Ps
If you haven’t already got a mission or vision statement, now is the time to write one. A mission/vision statement is just a couple of sentences stating what your business is, who you’re selling to (your target market), what you’re selling and what makes you stand out from the crowd. Once you have this, you can start working on how to market your business…to help me focus on every aspect of my business, I use the seven Ps…
- Product(s) – what is it about your product that makes your customers want to buy it? Do you need to change your products in any way to meet your customers’ needs?
- Pricing – how do you aim to compete with your competitor’s pricing? Do you want to match it… undercut them… or do you want to charge more for a more quality product and service?
- Place– where and how are you going to sell your products? Do you sell them yourself or outsource them to retail outlets?
- Promotion– how are you going to let your existing and potential customers know about your products? This includes thinking about advertising, PR, direct mail and personal selling.
- People – this refers to who works for your business, including yourself! Do you create the right impression and provide excellent customer service, so your customers have a good customer experience? I’m sure you do, but never forget to keep learning, training yourself and any employees to develop relevant skills to deliver your brand and excellent customer service.
- Process – this includes the processes involved in delivering your products to your customers. Are you easy to do business with? Is it easy for customers to find your products? If you have a website, is it easy to navigate? Are your contact details prominent, so you are easy to contact?
- Physical – everything your customers see and feel when interacting with your business. This can be from the physical environment of your shops, office or wherever you provide and showcase your products or services, to meeting you face to face and how you come across to them, how you act and relate to your customers. It also includes your packaging and your branding.
Set your objectives
Now you can plan the future of your business. What objectives do you want to achieve? Get yourself a cup of tea or coffee and sit down with your laptop, tablet or good old pen and paper, so you can write each one down.
Each objective should include a description of what you intend to achieve, a goal if you like, and should include numbers to aim for. For example you might want to sell more of a particular product, but just saying you want to sell more isn’t enough – you need to be specific, so you have something concrete to aim for. For example, say you have a crafting business and you make rag dolls. An objective might be to sell 40% more rag dolls in 2019, than you did in 2018. This gives you a solid and specific objective.
Don’t be tempted to write a long, long list of goals or objectives – aim for a maximum of five to six or you will find it all overwhelming and you won’t achieve any of them. As you achieve each objective throughout the year, you can add more then.
Once you have your list of objectives, put them into a timeline – what you want to achieve and by when. This makes it much easier for you to review at a later date. I usually put a date in my diary at the beginning of the year to review my business objectives every three months…of course, I’m not always brilliant at keeping to that date, but by having it in my diary, at least it’s a reminder and I do review things…even if it’s a couple of weeks after the date I originally set!
How will you achieve your objectives?
Now, go through each objective in turn – you already know what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve it by. Next on the list is how you are going to achieve each of those objectives. Let’s go back to that earlier example – you want to sell 40% more rag dolls over the next 12 months. You know what you want to do – you know when you want that result. How are you going to sell that extra 40%? These could be some of your options…
- Get your rag dolls into a retail outlet, café or craft shop
- Start selling your dolls at a local craft market or at craft fayres
- Start an online shop on Etsy or Ebay
- Sell the dolls using party plan – people have an evening at their own home and invite their friends. You show the dolls and potential customers get to see them, touch them and hopefully put in an order
Put all your objectives, what you want to achieve, your timescale and how you’re going to do it into your timeline. This makes it easier for you to see at a glance what your business and marketing plan is for next year for each of your objectives. It also makes it easier for you to review at a later date.
Measure your success
The last thing on your list is how will you measure the success of each of your objectives? Sticking with the rag doll example, this is an easy one – each quarter, measure how many more dolls you have sold compared to the same time last year. To achieve your 40% increase over the course of the year, you need to see a steady increase in sales from the new selling strategies you’ve put in place.
I hope this has helped you to start planning your business and marketing strategy for 2019.
If you would like to receive a free Goal Setting Timeline template, please fill in your name and email below and I’ll be happy to send it to you…Happy Planning!