This column by Think Laterally’s Mick Rowan was originally published in print in the February 2023 issue of ProPrint magazine. To read the full story, click here.
No matter what kind of year you had in 2022, 2023 is an opportunity for fresh starts and renewed growth. Flexibility is the key in the modern business world, and adjusting quickly has become par for the course. So, tweaks to strategic plans and decisions have become essential for any business trying to stay ahead of the competition and reach its goals.
By the new year, most business plans in our part of the world should have been in play for six to nine months. So, it’s time to ensure you can still hit your targets. But it’s essential to look back and ask yourself what worked well, what didn’t, and why. Take time to analyse your current strengths and weaknesses so that you can make informed decisions moving forward. Doing so will help clarify which areas of your business need improvement and where your team should focus its efforts this upcoming year.
Now that you understand where your business stands, it’s time to assess your goals for 2023. Make sure they are still achievable yet challenging enough that they push you outside of your comfort zone.
The first step to business planning for the new year is to set positive affirmations and reaffirm your goals. By using positive affirmations, you can flip the script on negative thoughts. Don’t laugh; your words have the power to rewire your brain.
An article from the National Library of Medicine in 2015 revealed that simply reciting positive affirmations can increase ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) activity. This is the part of the brain responsible for perceiving ourselves and managing emotions.
With affirmations in place, it’s time to reassess your goals. They may be ok as is, or perhaps you need to break them down into smaller milestones to track progress. Once you have a clear idea of your goals for the coming year, create an action plan for how you will reach them, this should include refining budgets and assigning tasks to team members.
Your goals should complement each other so that all business areas work together towards one common goal. Make sure to be realistic when assessing deadlines. If they are too tight, you may run out of time and resources before achieving your desired results.
Also, consider any external factors, such as interest rises, shipping costs, and general economic conditions. These might have changed and could impact your timeline and budget.
Once you have refined and set your goals and objectives, it’s time to define strategies and tactics for achieving them. You’ll want to create an actionable plan with specific steps for reaching each goal. You may already have something in place, but it’s time to check if it still works in the current climate. This is where you’ll determine which activities need to be implemented to meet those targets. This could be launching a marketing campaign or developing a new product/service offering. Defining strategies and tactics also involves identifying potential risks to be addressed in advance if necessary, such as unexpected expenses.
The last step in updating and creating a successful business plan is developing measurement tools to track progress accurately over time. Developing metrics will help ensure that strategies are being implemented correctly and provide insight into whether objectives are being met. This way, adjustments can be made if needed. For example, you may need to bring on additional personnel. Metrics should include both quantitative data, like sales figures and qualitative data, such as customer feedback.
A successful business plan for 2023 doesn’t have to be overwhelming, just break it down into smaller steps. Start with realistic goals and objectives and from there, define strategies and tactics. Lastly, develop measurement tools for tracking progress. And if things don’t go according to plan, remember that adjusting your goals is always possible. Flexibility in the modern world is the key to success.
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