Business Planning for 2019
Not long until we say goodbye to 2018 and look forward to what will hopefully be a brilliant, amazing 2019 for us all (personally as well as business wise). As many companies are looking at tying up loose ends on current projects before they close up for the festive period, no doubt you are also looking forward to new and exciting projects as soon as you return to work in the New Year. It’s no different for a digital marketing agency.
If you haven’t started any planning, read on. Everyone does their planning differently, however strategically you should be looking at a 3 to 5-year plan, allowing enough fluidity for various events that may or may not happen (BREXIT for example). The 3 to 5-year plan is where you want to get to with your business. This is then broken down by year, quarter and even by week. So you start at the end and finish at the beginning! For example, if you want to triple turnover by year 3 then you work out what that means in terms of turnover for the immediate future years, and what this means for marketing and sales. Once you come up with your new target for next year, divide it by the quarter so you know what you should be reaching every 3 months. Also, work out by the month and the week. At any given time you will know whether you are reaching your target or not. If you haven’t reached your target for the week or month, then you will know what you need to do to hit the target for the quarter. Here at The Business Fairy Digital Marketing Agency, we have put together a list to help you plan for your business in 2019.
Look Back On The Past Year
By reviewing the past year, you can figure out what worked for your business and what hadn’t worked. Start with your team. This will help you make a list of things to improve (maybe customer service or how the receptionist answers the phone). Find out which team members performed well with a genuine interest in helping the business grow. How can you develop these individuals? The key to any business is your team and their level of dedication. As Richard Branson says ‘look after your team, and they will look after your customers.’ This list doesn’t have to be a meter long, a quick note in the front of your 2019 diary will keep you focused when you get back to work in January.
Next look at your brand voice. Knowing what worked for your brand over the year is a great step to let you know what your clients like about your brand, and what they are interested in. Check your digital data reports and record all the social media posts and blogs that got the most interaction over the year, as well as a list of client projects that you felt progressed perfectly with little or no hassle attached. By knowing what is popular you can add those type of posts to your marketing plan for next year.
Perform an analysis of the client base. Does the client list/project list reflect where the company is going? Should you plan to attract different clients to get you where you want to go? Also, make a list of what didn’t work for the business. Note down where you found the business struggled, was it a certain client who made the project impossible to complete on time? Make a list of your clients and rate them 1 to 10. The perfect client (what works for you, good payers, easy to deal with etc.) is a 10. We never do business with anyone who is less than a 6 because we’ve learned from experience that for the level of service we give our clients it can actually end up costing us money to work with certain people. Know this inside out and don’t be afraid to drop clients that are bad payers or extremely difficult to deal with.
Do an analysis of how the business works in terms of projects and standard operating procedures. What works and what needs some improvement? How are you going to make your business service levels stand out in 2019? Does it come down to the chosen software? There could be a better programme or system that might work more efficiently going forward or that increases efficiencies. If a certain project took up too much time, how are you going to prevent this from happening again?
Know Your Numbers
Always know what you have in the bank every day, what you are owed and what you owe. Sounds simple but running a business is all consuming and it’s easy to forget. Having the right numbers within your business is extremely important, from looking at the overall income of the business, monthly turnover, the number of clients you had within the year, the number of sales made and how your digital footprint and marketing activities contributed to this turnover, so that you know where to funnel the money next year.
Knowing how well your business has grown over the year will help you plan for the following year. Don’t be fooled into just focusing on turnover, focus on gross profit, net profit and the difference between. How can you reduce that difference? Is it growing year on year and if not, why not? What needs to change? Is the sales pipeline taking too long to filter through for example? Are sales staff costing too much? Is the advertising budget being spent where the target market is? What is the fastest ROI for your business model? What does each employee contribute to the growth of the business? Should you look at spreading advertising budget across offline and online? Should it be radio, tv or print? Do you need to consider more customised marketing material? Do you need to demonstrate to potential clients/existing clients that you are technologically far advanced than any competitor? How do you do this?
Brainstorm Ideas for The New Year
Once you understand how the past year has gone for your business, then you are in a perfect position to brainstorm some new ideas and plan for 2019, based on intelligent data. Keep a pen and notepad near you over the holidays, and whenever you get an idea, write it down. Write them all down, you can cross off the less worthy ones as time goes by. If you have a team working for you why not do a brainstorming afternoon when you are may have a free spare hour or two to bounce around some ideas. Your team will value you asking them for the contribution and you can build a great business together.
You will gain great insights from them as often they are nearer to the customer than you are. There could be something happening that is easily fixed by altering operating procedures for example. An easy fix for you but greatly appreciated by them and your clients.
Prioritize Your Plans
From your gathered data and brainstorming, pick out what projects you would like to tackle first, make a list in order of importance for each task. Don’t forget to delegate. You cannot build a business by staying buried in the day to day tasks. You need to delegate as much as possible which is why it’s so important to have a motivated and active team to help you.
Set a New Year Resolution for your Business
Decide where you want to see your business go in the New Year and make some business resolutions to get your business to where you want it to go to. Some people find that if they pick three words that they want to focus on relating to their business for example, Nurture, Collaboration and Sustainable.
Nurture. Take care of your team, your clients and supporting people in your community.
Collaboration. Don’t be afraid to collaborate with other companies and brands, as it’s a great way to help increase sales.
Sustainable. Focus on your value proposition. How can you future-proof your business, reduce carbon emissions and have a climate-friendly business that will thrive for years to come?
So from The Business Fairy Digital Marketing Agency, we would like to wish all our clients and followers a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. We hope that 2019 will be a fantastic year for you all and your businesses. See you on the other side.