Summer is a great time…for some.
You anxiously await its return if you’ve been busy all year and your business slows down and allows you to relax on a patio and enjoy the sunshine. You dread it if business has been quiet the whole year and now becomes even quieter.
Irrespective of where you lie, you don’t want to waste the summer away. You want to get prepared for the fall and make sure that you’re ready to start working hard as soon as the leaves start to change colour.
Every business has peaks and troughs – you can either fight them or go with them. I believe in going with them and using the opportunity to do something positive and productive – like preparing your one-page Business Plan for the upcoming year.
To do this you need to:
Review your numbers
Use data (and facts) to review three previous years. Look at your sales and net sales numbers. Review what happened per month and per product. Think about why your sales were what they were each month. What controllable and uncontrollable influences were at play. If you’re a new business, review the numbers you have.
Evaluate networking groups
Do you need to join or ‘un-join’ any networking groups? Are they helping you grow your business or deepen your knowledge? If they don’t do either of those, then they’re probably not helping you and you need to find new groups to join.
Enrich your education
Do you need to update or learn any new skills to give you an edge in your business?
Review your competition
What are they up to? Get up to date on their business.
Do your annual SWOT Analysis
Review your strengths (what you’re good at), weaknesses (what you need to improve), opportunities (your gaps in the market) and threats (what can sabotage your business). Your opportunities should focus on what opportunities you have for growth in the next year – with your top three (at most] being your focus for the next twelve months.
Prepare your Project Me document
Jot down your Goals/Objectives (what overarching specific goal you want to achieve – such as acquire x number of customers); your Strategy (how you will achieve your goals) and your Plan (when you are going to do what).
Remember, you need to be as specific as possible. Broad, general goals and objectives achieve nothing – the more specific and literal you are, the more likely you are to achieve what you’ve set out to achieve.
Above all else, make the most of the sun and the rain. Don’t despair if you can’t sit on a patio one day – use the time effectively to work on growing your business. You can only plan for the next year once you’ve reviewed what you did the prior year – which includes evaluating the good, bad and the ugly!