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Update your business plan for a new year

As another year finishes and a new one starts, it’s a good time to reflect on your recent business successes – and consider what you’d like to achieve in the coming twelve to fifteen months.

These tips can help you with the process of making plans to help guide your business to greater success.

Set priorities

Entrepreneurs are typically highly creative and optimistic; as a result, they often have difficulty narrowing down their ideas from among all the exciting possibilities, whether it’s an opportunity to expand to a new market or choosing a better time management strategy.

As you update your business plan, focus on what’s most important for your business to achieve this year. Then break your goals down into smaller tasks, to maximize productivity and enjoy the little successes that lead to big changes.

Start by defining your top three business goals for the next four quarters. With those in mind, do some research to help you decide on the best way to achieve those three goals – and a reasonable timeline for meeting specific targets.

Think different

Your priorities in the coming year may be to hit a certain revenue target, launch a new product line or tap a completely new market.

An important thing to keep in mind as you make plans to move your business forward is how you’ll stay competitive. For instance, it’s important to review your pricing strategy on an annual basis, to ensure you continue to attract new prospects and retain customers.

As part of your overall business planning process, spend some time on competitive intelligence, too. Include in your plans how you’ll increase value for your offerings and continue to stand apart from the crowd.

Find money

If scaling your business is on your agenda for the year ahead, and you don’t have savings earmarked to fund your ideas, you’ll want to make sure your business plan includes adequate financial planning.

Applying to a lender for a business loan is one option. In this case, you’ll want to include up to date cash flow reports, income statements, budgets and projections in your plan for a potential lender.

If your business doesn’t have a credit history, you may need to look at other options for financing your plans. Using a business credit card on a regular basis and paying off the balance can help you build a good credit rating, which will help you prepare to apply for a loan down the road.

Your accountant can also help provide additional financial advice and support as you update your business plan, based on your most current financial records.

With these business planning tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared for a new year of growth and continued success.

Final tips

  • Review your business plan every quarter to ensure you stay on track with your goals and priorities throughout the year.
  • Be realistic about opportunities and challenges as you plan ahead. Your accountant can offer business advisory services – and help you set meaningful short and long term goals.
  • As alternatives to applying for a loan or line of credit, consider crowdfunding or angel investing to help you meet your business goals.