Now that we are nearing the end of 2017, it’s important to schedule some time to reflect on the last 12 months and start to think about what 2018 might have in store. Identifying areas you’d like to change within your business, or anticipating opportunities for growth are positive steps towards business success, but it’s critical you produce a plan in advance.

Here’s our top tips for creating one:

Make a plan for Q1

It’s inevitable that sales in Q1 will differ to Q4, but exactly what this means for your business is subjective. The critical issue is that you’re prepared. Since the introduction of Black Friday in the UK, data has suggested one in three shoppers plan to spend less in January than they did before. As long as you’re aware than January can bring with it a bit of a sales slump, you can reduce unnecessary costs appropriately and take action to meet targets. It’s also good to note that Red Saturday (the Saturday before Valentine’s Day) is often when the majority of people buy their Valentine’s Day gifts. If your business benefits from this special occasion, ensure your plan is proactive and that stock is available in time. The same can be said for Mother’s Day, which in 2018 will fall on 11th March. Finally, spend your last few weeks of December putting together a marketing and content plan for Q1. This will determine which days you’ll really push product promotion via email and social media.

Make a personal development plan

Investing in yourself as a business owner is one of the most important things you can do for your business. Before the new year arrives, put together a short, bullet pointed plan that demonstrates how you’ll develop your skill set in 2018. Is there a course you can go on? Would you like to meet with a business coach? Or perhaps you think your entire staff could benefit from group team building days? To get started, consider your ideal scenario and then pick apart the steps you might need to take to achieve it.

Research predicted trends in your space

No two years are identical in any industry. Trends and new technology are ever evolving, and every business owner should keep an eye on both current trends and predicted future ones in order to stay ahead. If you feel confident enough, you might want to conduct your own analysis spreadsheet using primary data online. If not, you can hire an insights analyst to do this for you. As well as consumer habits, marketing trends is another area to look at. Experts at Entrepreneur.com predict a rise in the use of personalisation, AI and augmented reality for marketing next year. It’s also wise to look at what you’re competitors are leaning towards.

Think about growth

How do you want to grow your business in 2018? Where do you see it going? You might want to consider opening another location, selling a premium product, diversify your brand or targeting new markets. Any method of growth requires a detailed plan, and now is the time to put it together. Need help? You can book an appointment with David Standing to discuss realistic steps towards growing your business in the coming year.

Drop what’s not working

The end of the year gives you time to reflect on the last 12 months of successes. But what’s equally valuable is spending some time analysing what didn’t work, and dropping habits that drove those mistakes. For example, you might have been selling to a particularly unprofitable market, or buying in stock that simply isn’t shifting as quickly as you’d hoped.  Mistakes can be beneficial if you’re able to notice them and make positive changes. So, before Q1 begins, rid your business of dead weight and replace it with more positive practises for 2018.

If you’re interested in talking more about how your business might perform in 2018, book a call with us today.

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