2017 has been a rough year, for everyone. At every level, corruption has put paid to so much, and the dismal economic growth has left us all feeling angry and frustrated. Yet somehow, small businesses in South Africa have mostly grown. Rather than pulling a Hulk smash, or simply setting your ‘Out of Office’ message on, channel the anger and frustrated energy you’re feeling into something good, that’ll pay off next year. You should have started your strategic planning for 2018 by now but, if you haven’t yet begun, we outlined a way for you pour that energy into something positive, on this week’s The Money Show with Bruce Whitfield. Set your business up for a good year in 2018, with a strategic plan that responds to your experience of 2017. Here’s your checklist:
How did you use your time?
The process of strategic planning starts with evaluating your progress, and what you devoted your time to. Evaluate your activities, including your operations; administration; sales, and strategic approaches. Consider then how each of these contributed to your business’ growth, sustainability, and progress. Look then at how much time you devoted to each of these aspects of your business, and assess how and what you need to do differently in the new year, to further advance your business. Go back to the vision you have for your business, and assess whether it’s still valid, or if it needs shifting. Similarly, evaluate just how productively your time has spent, and decide what tasks or responsibilities you should delegate to your team in 2018.
How did you use your skills?
Now is the perfect time to get honest with yourself, about your skills. Where do your strengths lie, and how do they best serve your business? Evaluate your technical, managerial, administrative, operational, and sales activities over the past year, and find out where you are most strong. For your 2018 strategic planning, focus then on where you are most strong, and evaluate what you can delegate, defer, or step away from, keeping in mind what your business needs to grow.
Assess your foundation, resources and systems
2017 has been a busy year, but what have you truly built while you were so busy? A business is built into an asset of value – it doesn’t just become one. Assess the foundation and systems that enable your business to function, and figure out what’s working, and what is not working. Consider the people, equipment, space, and money, your business needs not only to operate, but to grow. Assessing the resources you have on hand will help you with strategic planning for growth in 2018.
How did you use your people?
You may be the most expensive person in your business, but your business does not operate without other people. Evaluate changes within your team, and how that has helped (or not helped) to advance your business’ growth. Most importantly, look at how tasks are allocated throughout your team, and figure out if some should be allocated differently in 2018.
What changed in your sector and industry?
2017 has been a year of monumental change, and every business has been affected by some level of it. Political shifts and legislative changes may have required you to operate your business differently this year, and you can expect similar in 2018. Find the opportunities in these transformations, and you’ll be ready to meet the challenges a new year brings. Within your industry, technological advancements are sure to have had some effect on how you operate, or what products and services you’re able to offer to customers. Your competitors’ businesses have changed too. Find the opportunities within these changes, and you’ll be well set for a year of growth in 2018.
Did you grow, or not?
This is the question you may not want to answer, but it’s vital. Your reporting systems and statistics will tell you the truth of your growth or stagnation. Remember that revenue growth doesn’t necessarily equate to business growth. True business growth enables you to free up time, to keep innovating and responding to a changing business environment. If your business didn’t grow in 2017, find out why and what you can do differently in 2018 to ensure it does. If your business did grow in 2018, cater for that in your strategic planning, to ensure that your growth continues.
What do you do with all this information?
Now that you’ve evaluated your business, as at 2017, create a list of 3 things you want to do differently for 2018, in relation to the questions I listed above. Organise these activities into To Do lists for each aspect of your business: operational; strategic; sales; human resources, and finance. Thereafter, prioritise the top 2 of those activities for each section, and set your objectives for 2018.
Strategic planning for 2018 starts now. Aurik can help. Let’s chat.