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Rev up your business planning

New Year is a great time to reflect on the past 12 months and plan for the year ahead. Gather your latest numbers to see how they compare with goals you set last year. And if you don’t have a plan, it’s time to get started.

Follow these steps and use our free business planning templates.

Shortlist your goals

“The New Year is a perfect time to make a short list of top priorities that will kick-start business growth,” says growth advisor Peter Jarratt, of East Coast Regional Business Partner, Activate Tairāwhiti.

“Spend some dedicated time on three things that would really make a difference,” he says. Examples include:

  1. Finding a fresh market for your product or service.
  2. Launching a new product or service.
  3. Running a social media campaign to attract new customers.

It’s vital to get your team behind any new strategy, he says.

“The New Year is a perfect time to put effort into projects that use your team’s strengths. Focus on these rather than your weaknesses and you will set the tone for success for the year ahead.”

It’s a mistake to think a business plan can only be a 30-page document bursting with detail.

It’s a mistake to think a business plan can only be a 30-page document bursting with detail.

These will work for some businesses, but chances are most will just gather dust on a shelf.

Create — or update — your plan

Business planning should be a work in progress. If it’s been some time since you looked at your plan, take a fresh look.

Does the plan still reflect aims you had when you wrote it? Even if it’s only been a few months since you created or updated your plan, it may need revising. Ask what helped you grow over the last year and what didn’t.

If you don’t have a plan, use our tools to create one — see the downloads below. A business plan doesn’t need to be big or take long to write.

Make New Year’s resolutions

Resolutions aren’t all about exercising more and eating less. Your business should get a look-in too.

Write down what you want for the business over the next year, eg hiring staff or finding new premises. Add what you want for yourself, eg more time with the family or a winter holiday.

When you’re setting new targets, eg for sales and new customers, make sure they’re measurable.

If you don’t have an online presence, eg a website, plan to launch one this year. It doesn’t have to cost much — some social media options are free, see our page on creating Facebook pages for businesses.

If the cost is putting you off, talk to your accountant. They can show you how to spread cost over several years.

If you have a website, does it do what you need it to, eg sell directly to customers? Make sure it’s up to date. If it doesn’t include contact details, add these as soon as possible.

If your summer hours are different, add these details too. A beachside café, for example, might extend its opening hours until sundown.
The same applies if your business is on social media.

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