I love strategy. One of my favorite parts of what I do is helping businesses plan and strategize for success. The start of a new year is an excellent time to look back and see what went right and what went wrong the year before. It’s important to create specific strategies and initiatives that align with your vision for the future as well as your annual business goals.
As we roll into a new year (and decade), you need clarity with what you’re trying to accomplish in 2020. Ask yourself, what initiatives and strategies are going to help you get there? If you’re not clear, it may be time to step back, reset and figure out what you’re going to do differently in 2020. It’s important to have goals and objectives, but you also need to know how you’re going to get there. When you define specific initiatives, the scope, and the resources you need, you will be better able to accomplish your goals in 2020.
Here are a few key areas to focus on when creating your business initiatives and ensuring growth and success in 2020!
Structure – People & Processes
It can be difficult to know if you have the right structure and people in place. Is everyone’s job description clearly defined? Do they know what is expected of them and what their main objectives are for 2020? If the answer is “no” to any of these questions, you may want to create initiatives to help correct this. You’ll be surprised what clear expectations and defined roles can do for your business.
In addition to people, are there structural processes that are holding you back from success? Think of pain points in your business where you are regularly missing the mark or key dates. Defining processes and steps for the things you do on a regular basis can be a simple but effective way of creating structure. You will be able to ensure that everyone follows the same steps each time, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel whenever the task is done.
Do you have a defined sales goal for 2020? Do you know how are you going to achieve that sales increase? Start by understanding and creating initiatives within your business that are going to drive sales in the areas with the most potential for growth. Initiatives should be programs, steps, and actions that you can implement to drive and support your future sales.
You can create a sales forecast by breaking down last year into months and even weeks. Then, take a look at specific segments of your business, determining when and where those increases will come from based on what you’re going to do differently in the year ahead. The sales plan and goals need to be written and understandable for you and your team to make sure everyone is on the same page. Your annual business goals need to be trackable each month so you know how you are performing against your sales forecast.
Finally, consider creating initiatives to drive more profitability. It starts with gross margin. It may include new pricing strategies, a better sales mix within a specific channel, or even shifting the sales mix between channels to increase profitability.
Expense control can really help drive profitability. What is the largest expense your business incurs? Where can you reduce your spending in 2020? Think about the things that are not providing value or a return, and really consider if it is worth it to continue with the expense. Do you have costs that are trending upwards over time? How do these costs relate to your overall sales? An initiative based around expense control or expense reduction is always a good idea. Remember, you can see greater profits without increasing your sales, but by improving your margins and decreasing your expenses.
Once you’ve strategized and documented your initiatives for the upcoming year, it’s important to clearly communicate them to your team. Make them visible so that everyone knows what you are trying to achieve. You need to be realistic about your annual business goals and what you can implement this year. Focus on strategies and initiatives that can drive additional sales and profits in the year ahead. Good luck in 2020!