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Preparing your business for 2021

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guest column:Emmanuel Zvada

With everything that is happening in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic, the natural disasters, all the loss and fear, it is very easy to lose hope and focus. No matter what your situation is as a company, you have to pick yourself up and stay calm and positive. The new year is right around the corner, it’s a good time to step back, re-evaluate and recharge some areas of your business. Getting your business set up puts you in a great place to reach your goals this year

I hope you have already planned for 2021

Let it be known that it is not too early to embark on next year’s success. Pre-planning in these last few weeks of the year can help ensure you are ready to hit the new year running. Do not wait until December to end or after the first month of the year to create next year business plan. It is advisable that you begin your planning for the coming year after your third-quarter results are in. At the very latest, start your planning well before people start taking about the holiday. Having clear plans for next year is key as it will enable you to start strong. Starting off strong allows you to build momentum in your business and enjoy a much more successful year.

Because of too many things the racing through your mind to finish in the remaining weeks of the year, many entrepreneurs miss an excellent opportunity to prepare their business for the upcoming year. If you have not planned yet believe me begin as soon as possible. The problem with the end of the year is that you lose a lot of stakeholders to vacation and holiday-itis. So planning should be done generally before the holidays before the “out of office” notices appear.

Review your year
The best way to prepare for the upcoming year is to analyse what happened in the last 12 months. Look at your numbers (revenue, profit margins, and other KPIs), trends, and lessons learned. The best thing about the end of the year is that you are already well-informed and ready to be in reflection mode. Just as you reflect on your personal life and set goals, you should do the same in your career and business. When reflecting, take a look back at both the good and the bad sides of things. Take stock of where you visa vis the goals you set last January. Did you achieve them? What step did you take to reach your goals? Don’t just focus on the goals you achieved and forget about the rest.

Review your sales reports by more than just gross volumes and revenues. Look at which products or services did best, which locations generated the most sales and what marketing efforts generated the most return. In addition to reviewing your numbers, discuss with your management team their thoughts on why you performed the way you did. After you have done the review analysis, discuss how you can do things differently. Look at the effects of a cost-containment effort, new promotional strategies, changing your distribution and raising or lowering your prices.

Brainstorm and create forecasts for the following year
Some people jump right to the goal-setting phase of this process, but I prefer brainstorming before goal setting as the best approach. During brainstorming, you write down every idea you have for the coming year. These can include good ideas, and really, really bad ones! When you are done, have your management team create projections for next year based on the same things you did in the current.

Set goals for the new year
Did you know that concrete goals in the new year can be an easy marker and a great way to keep track of your success with ease. Knowing that you have started working towards a goal in January makes it easy to track how far you have come throughout the year because you know the exact start date of your goals. You want to start with data analysis first so you can set realistic goals for your business. Before the new year, write down a list of short-term and long-term goals. When making goals, make SMART ones (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based). Make your goals big, audacious and inspiring! Write them down and refer to them often.

Map out the plan to reach your goals
Goal setting is essential to living a life with purpose and meaning. Goals give our lives direction and focus, and help us stay motivated over long term. Nearly everything in life revolves around goals — they encompass all of our plans for the future, all of our hopes, dreams and visions for what we want in life. You have set big, exciting goals but how to attain the goals is key. It is important to take the goals, one at a time and then map out exactly what it will take to reach those goals.

You should break them down as far as possible based on what needs to happen each month, what tasks will need to be done, who will need to be hired and also on the changes that need to take place. An action plan is also key to achieve the goals. This is the roadmap you can follow that will get you to your goal. In other words, this will help ensure you don’t miss any important steps. By doing this, your goal will seem less daunting and more attainable. Be specific about what you want to achieve each step of the way.

Create your projected budget for first quarter
Creating a business budget for your organisation is vital to its success, regardless of size. It is a well-known reality that before you make money, you need to understand how to spend it. Regardless of the size and type of your business, coming up with a budget is key as it includes tracking expenses, revenue and how much cash the business has at hand. Look at your estimated year-end profit and determine if it is adequate or if you need to lower your costs, reduce debts or increase sales targets for the following year. The bottom line
is that budgets help businesses reach goals.

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