Annual Planning: Where Do You Want to Go in 2015?
In the same way we recommended that you start your holiday planning early, we also recommend that you start your annual planning early – like, right about now! Staring early will give you plenty of time to assess the past year of business, plan for next year, and start making changes to ensure that 2015 is your best year yet.
First, let’s look back…
What did you accomplish over the past year?
What did you achieve financially, when compared to your goals?
It’s also helpful to look over actuals/goals for things like customer capture, average ticket, customer service score or online reviews.
As you look back on your past year, it’s important to look at things that got you to “where you are.” Certain marketing activities like special events, promotions, samplings and demonstrations, social media advertising and traditional advertising are good places to start. Also, make sure you also look at intrinsic factors like, operational costs and procedures, employee training, location appearance and organization, vendor relations, etc.
Now, let’s evaluate…
We think the best way to evaluate these types of activities (and your involvement in them), is to use the Continue, Stop, Start method.
With each activity, based on their impact on your business, make a decision as to whether you should continue doing them, stop doing them, or start doing them.
Continue: These activities are working for you and your business, and you should continue doing them.
Start: You haven’t been doing these activities, and you need to start.
Stop: These activities cost too much time, money or energy, and aren’t paying off. Stop doing them.
Finally, let’s plan!
Once you have your marketing activities in the three categories above, you’ve got great stepping stones to begin your annual planning. What are your goals for next year? Once you make them S.M.A.R.T., you can get to planning! First, eliminate the activities that haven’t been working, and move resources previously dedicated to those activities to ones that you want to start or continue. And, as you set goals for the new year (more sales, more customers, more transactions, etc.), you can use the activities listed to:
- Drive Traffic & Increase Frequency
- Increase Average Spend
- Broaden Customer Base
- Increase Prices, and
- Reduce Costs
We hope these tips for self-evaluation will provide you with the foundation to help you plan out the most successful year you’ve had to date!
Have you started your Annual Planning yet? What tools/methods are you using to get everything organized? Let us know in the comments section below!