The build up to Christmas is that reminder that the new year is just around the corner. Although most businesses have a different end of year for accounting, we use this milestone to reflect on what has happened in the past year and where we are going in the next 12 months. 

 *Awkward pause* 

In realitythis is not always the case. For some companies the run up to Christmas doesn’t allow enough time to do this. Look I’m not going to say you are a bad business owner if you haven’t thought about where the growth of company is coming from in 2020. So, let’s make a concertive effort to do this as soon as you are back in the new year. 

One step back to go two steps forward 

Start with a review of the last year. Whilst you could go into huge detail and over complicate it, I prefer to start with the three things rule. Don’t be too hard on yourself or celebrate too hard. Try and be as subjective and humble as possible, which of course I don’t do, and I’m happy to not practice what I preach. 

  1. List three things that have delivered improvement in the year 
  2. Three things that have disappointed you in the year 
  3. The top three risks your business now faces

Your 2020 vision 

Begin with the single most important improvement you can make in the company in the coming 12 months. Of course, this may not be marketing related, it could be down to business culture, or process driven. But I do believe that this first step will help you dive your vision forward. 

Lets get personal for a moment 

On a personal level, by the end of 2020 what do you want to achieve in your role within the company? Again, start with a main objective that you would like to accomplish that will realise that change. This could also include personal gains around your work, life and quality of life goals. 

Who are you looking for? 

Relook at your target market for 2020. Has it changed from 2019? This includes possible new markets and industries that weren’t open to you previously. How are you going to reach your existing market and through what channels? Target networking and advertising, focusing on referrals and the use of testimony to drive awareness of your brand and service offerings. And thats just what we are going to do, but you get the idea of where you could start. 

Whats the one extraordinary thing you can do that will significantly improve your value proposition and therefore the loyalty of your existing customers? 

Don’t you forget about me? 

What new productsservices or adaptations to current products or services will you be offering to your existing customers in 2020? Again, how will you reach your existing target market and through which channels and methods? 

Look at the one thing you can do that will significantly improve your value proposition and therefore the loyalty of your existing customers in the next 12 months. 

How the other half lives 

What has your competition done this year that has either given them a competitive edge or likewise what have you achieved that has enhanced your positioning above them? I always encourage our clients to regularly look at what their competitors are doing. A review of the last year will give you a better snapshot over that 12 month period than just the different seasons. 

Show me the money 

Of course your financial performance will help you budget to drive sales in 2020. Remember to not sit on what you have done in respect to marketing spend. Growing your sales will require an increase in marketing budget, which seems like a daft thing to say. But you will be amazed the amount of times I see a projected sales increase based on the same investment as the previous year. 

All together now 

Once you have answered the above questions, start to formulate an outline sales and marketing plan for 2020 with a more focused plan for the first three months. Get your budget agreed, even if it is with yourself and then add those KPI’s in as a measure of their success.  

That Willy Wonker moment 

There is no golden ticket to success in 2020, we all try things that don’t work. It is all part of running a business whether large or small. I wish I could remember where I heard this from but it’s a phrase I think about daily. 

“People don’t fail, they just stop trying. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when formulating your plan for the next 12 months, even it is from a fellow business owner. You never know, you may end up helping each other after all. I’m more than happy to look through and discuss what you are doing as fresh eyes on your business. Latte or just white with no sugar for me.