Failing to plan, planning to fail

small-business-financial-advice

It’s EOFY and you’re getting organised  – you’ve made or had an appointment  your accountant and have set aside some time to review the past year – what next?  Well it’s now about planning ahead.

Yep, I know  time is scarce – you’re already flat out trying to wrap up this financial year and time to plan ahead looks hard to find – but do try  to set the time aside, as it will give you the opportunity to set your business up to start the new financial year on the right foot.

Don’t have a business plan?   No sweat – get once started by using the range of resources available at business.gov.au.  The templates on offer make it really easy for you to build a simple but effective plan for your business.

Make sure those important insights you  learned last year are incorporated into your business plan for the coming year.

When it comes to planning – don’t fall into the trap of thinking inside the bubble.  Try and do some research to look beyond your four walls of your business. Check out your industry, target market and competitors.  This will help you get a feel for how your business could be performing.

Speak with your accountant or business advisor – who will be a fountain of helpful information. You might even want to involve key members of your team.

If you are a business plan novice, here are some a few basics to think about when getting your plan sorted:

  • Set new revenue objectives and targets (remember to be realistic about what you and your team can achieve)
  • Forecast your cash flow – plan ahead!  Is your business seasonal, do you have any large, unusual expenses to plan for? Cash flow is the fuel-gauge of your business – getting it right should be core to your planning process.
  • Establish a new sales and expenses budget –so you can see more easily how you are tracking
  • Look at your suppliers – can you get a better deal elsewhere?
  • Review your target market – are you serving the right customer base?
  • How are your existing customers feeling. Do you need to continue or improve satisfaction levels? Perhaps look to implement a loyalty program?
  • What is your marketing strategy and how you’ll implement it
  • How are your team – what are your staffing requirements for the next 12 months?

Once finalised – don’t let your plan just sit there on the desk or your hard drive. Review and update it regularly. And importantly – share your goals with your team! Otherwise, what was the point? You won’t achieve your goals if no one knows what they are.

This is your chance to set the scene for the 2011/2012 year. So start the year on the right foot – not the back foot.

Do you have some pearls of wisdom to share with other businesses, based on your own experiences with planning ahead?

  • PJ

    Gorgeous article, Julian. Love the title.

    I’ve noticed quite a lot of businesses making the mistake of not planning ahead. I’ve learned this the hard way, since one of my businesses failed because I could not read the signs of the past year, that clearly indicated my company going down the ramp, not up as I assumed it would.

    Always kept myself motivated throughout this by reading about other successful businessmen like Yuri Mintskovsky, Rockefeller, or even Zuckenberg.

    I’m trying to learn from my mistakes, first and foremost, but from their mistakes as well.