13 Planning Factors for Your Business in the New Year I

Small Business Management| Advansis Virtual
January 2, 2019 Advansis Virtual 0 Comments


Written by Jabiha Razi


Happy New Year and Season’s Greetings!
The Holiday Season is over, and our minds are fresh from the long break. Soon, we will be caught up with our everyday work routine…focusing on small details to keep the machine running. That is why, right at the beginning of the year, it is good to take some time to reflect on our past year to take cues for future planning. Below are some important factors we should consider before starting the New Year. We recommend you jot down your thoughts as you read on.

We have divided this article into two parts so that you can reflect better on each factor. This post concerns the first four factors; we shall publish the next post in a few days.


Although most small businesses do not have a concrete written vision statement on their walls, we all know why we are in a particular industry. How will this business make a difference in the lives of its stakeholders? A new year is an excellent time to examine your overall business vision again. What is the scope of your business? Are you operating within the limits of that scope? Is there any fine-tuning to be done? For instance, if your business is to make your community healthier, are you offering all the right products to achieve this vision, or some of your offerings are working counter to your main visionary statement?

Annual Business Goals:

Your annual business goals support your vision. Did you set and achieve your overall departmental goals in the preceding year? Sales, marketing,

Production, procurement, etc., should have measurable, attainable goals that support your vision. Yes, most small businesses do not necessarily have separate departments, yet it should not keep you from having plans for each functional area of your business. Most companies focus on sales and, at the most, on marketing. But other functions like finance, accounts, procurement, and production also contribute to your overall bottom line if run effectively and should not be ignored. You cannot achieve all your goals every year. It is crucial to identify and rectify the reasons that hampered those goals.

Products and Services:

Which of your products contributed most to your top line as well as the bottom line? Which ones did not? What were the possible reasons for the same? Look at the broadest possible range of critical drivers for success or failure. These reasons could be related to the core product or other elements, such as incomplete communication or wrong pricing. For instance, your communication channels (advertising, sales pitches) only focused on a few easy-to-sell products. Do you need to add new lines or services, considering the competitive environment, opportunities or changing customer needs? Are any products becoming a liability and needing to wind up? Do you have the resources to bring in new products or services? Now is an opportunity to answer these questions for better planning for the rest of the year.


Existing Customer: Your loyal customers are your bread and butter. They already have shown trust in your offerings. That is why they also readily buy new or additional products/services from you, assuming they perceive such offerings as valuable. What was your loyal customers’ average bucket size (in dollar terms) in the previous year? How can you increase this in the New Year? Are you offering any product or service that they are unaware of? When did you last sit with them to chat about their needs and how you could help meet them? Can you make minor or temporary changes to your product/service or pricing to increase their average purchase?

New Customers: All customers have a life cycle that ends. Furthermore, generally speaking, expanding the business is always necessary. Hence, you must target new customers regularly. Were there any potential leads that you did not follow up on in the last year? Did you do any new networking over the holiday that you could follow up on now? Set aside time each week or month to reach out to new groups or communities to increase your market size. Think of how you can become relevant to them. For instance, if you are in the sports and recreational business, you could meet with appropriate authorities at different schools and colleges to coach their students.

Lost Customers: Did you miss out on any customers last year? Did you take feedback from them on their decision to shift? How could you have retained them? If a minor tweak to your existing products/services was required, could it be done now to get them back and similar customers? Also, did some potential customers repeatedly ask for some additional product or service that you were not offering but could be added easily, assuming it can add up to your bottom line?

Stay tuned for the rest of the factors.