Every new year comes with unique challenges and boundless opportunities for your business. The trick is to come prepared for success. The other trick is to be active in planning for it, before the year gets ahead of you.

So, as the country wakes up from the festive season slumber and the new year grinds into gear, take a second to prepare your business for the year ahead. Do it now before you suddenly realise its June and you haven’s shaken the tree yet…

Set some new SMART goals but make them realistic

Goal setting is an important part of setting yourself up for the new year. Just make sure your benchmarks are attainable, if aspirational, and you have a meaningful way of achieving them.

Do you want to:

  • Increase website visits by 20%?
  • Increase social media reach by 20 followers a week?
  • Acquire 10% more customers?
  • Cut down expenses by 7%?

Map out realistic ways of achieving these goals through the year. Stay on top of your progress!

A great way to map your business goals is by setting SMART goals. This means that your goals are:

  • Strategic.
  • Measurable.
  • Attainable.
  • Realistic.
  • Time-bound with deadlines.

By all means, reach for the sky! But be grounded in your expectations.

Go on. Do a SWOT analysis

Have you ever done a proper SWOT analysis? Kudos to you if you have, but not to worry if you haven’t. Many business owners are too busy to sit down and do one.

But if you can, you’ll have a powerful document on your hands that’s akin to a proper business plan.

A SWOT analysis is a breakdown of your

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats.

By mapping out the above, you’ll get a far better understanding of how to grow your business in weather any challenges and uncertainties the year may bring.

Your SWOT analysis can be as basic or detailed as you see fit, and there are countless resources online to show you how to go about this.

See which of your marketing and sales endeavours worked last year (and which didn’t)

It’s important to take stock of your successes and failures over the previous calendar year, then use that knowledge to tighten it up and do even better this year.

This can be as detailed or as basic as you like, but even a cursory course adjustment to your sales and marketing efforts is a step in the right direction to more customers and better brand exposure.

The best way to do this is to run some reports in your:

  • accounting and sales software
  • social media tools
  • Google Analytics.

Have a look to see if certain social content was engaged your audience, while other posts failed to perform. See what brought in the most visits to your website. Find out your cost per lead or cost per sale. Check out your ad performance.

Now use that information to correct course. Tighten up your cost per sale where you can. Concentrate on the best avenues to website visits. And double down on your most fruitful 2022 marketing efforts – and don’t be afraid to cull content pillars with lackluster performance. 

Be prepared for inflation and interest rate pressure

We’ve already felt the pinch that really geared up last year in 2022. It would be prudent to get your business prepared for the year ahead in terms of inflationary and interest rate pressures. This will affect different businesses in unique ways, but preparation is a must for any business owner or operator.

Ways to combat these pressures can include:

  • Financial health checks.
  • Regular cash flow reporting.
  • Increasing prices.
  • Building an emergency fund.
  • Consulting with an advisor.
  • Reassessing expenses, COGS, and suppliers.

Get some professional advice and re-jig your business plan

Now is the time to incorporate some of the above strategies into your formal business plan. A business plan is a living document that needs to be pruned and tended to. Don’t let it gather dust.

After you’ve had a crack at a renewed business plan yourself, it’s always wise to book a session or two with a professional business advisor, to give you more confidence in your business strategy and planning.