Business Planning For 2014

Business Planning For 2014Business plans are often created with the intention of securing funds from investors, but many business owners don’t realise how proper planning can also be a part of their business management strategy, and even increase the bottom line. Analyse your business’ current position, plan for the future and make 2014 the year your business starts to perform to its real potential.

Business plans are essential to the funding and backing of your projects as they let investors know where your business projections aim to be, how you’ll use their investment, and what returns they can expect. This means many business people see their business plans almost as sales documents and therefore miss their other qualities. In fact, proper planning is the most important part of any venture – without it, you can be derailed by the slightest event.

To get started with a plan, try to get down all of your ideas, goals, and ambitions. When fleshing out a plan in more detail, consider which departments will be involved in various projects and their timescales. Think about how your business is positioned, who your target market is, and what you can do for them. Look at who you have around you and make sure it’s a team you’re proud of. Look out for business partners and employees who show potential and plan for them to have more responsibilities in the year to come.

Focus on competencies, working out what your business is good at, where potential lies, where weaknesses are, and how they can be addressed. By thinking about how to perform better rather than simply how to make more money, you plan for a deeper level of change which, when transferred into good business management practices, creates a stronger, more unified workforce. That being said, don’t overlook finances either. Budget for every foreseeable aspect of projects, including training, equipment, marketing, IT, and HR. At the start of the year, make sure you communicate these new directions to all your staff so that they know what to expect in the coming year as well.

All of the planning will be next to useless without a strategy for tracking and monitoring performance. The road map for growth should have identified key areas for focus and there will be correlating metrics which can be tracked and measured against the plan. What drives your business forward? Web traffic, conversions, face-to-face meetings, presentations, and conferences can all play a part in propelling a company. Tracking and analysing the effects of different actions will help you understand your business better. There are several tools available to help business owners and managers with this, such as executive dashboards, which visualise the data and make trends easier to spot.

By having a sense of the bigger picture, you will be able to create strategies for business management so that each department in your business understands its part in making the company better. Knowing how a department is faring in comparison to a detailed overall plan leads to improved communication and more focussed problem-solving sessions. Where can people work together? How might things be done better? Remember that methods can be flexible when goals are clearly-defined.

The most effective business managers understand the direction of the business, plan for success, know the business’ capabilities, and support their employees. Goal-orientated and people-focussed businesses have strategies in place for dealing with the caprices of the market and therefore succeed where others are blown off-course. If you’re not utilising your business plans as a management tool, it’s time to look at them again. More than just number sheets for investors, these tools can be the road marks that take your business where it deserves it be.

The author is a business consultant and has lots of experience in business management. 

Editorial Team
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