Do you look at cer­tain com­pa­nies in awe at the way they've got it all to­gether? Would you love to know how they did it? Fiona Clark walks you through the steps that can transform your busi­ness per­for­mance.

Have you ever won­dered why some busi­nesses are so suc­cess­ful? Do you look at cer­tain com­pa­nies in awe at the way they've got it all to­gether? And wouldn't you love to know how they did it?

I'm go­ing to share one of the se­crets to their success with you.

It's prob­a­bly not what you think. It's not some su­per-so­phis­ti­cated sys­tem or cut­ting-edge dy­namic soft­ware. It's some­thing far more straight­for­ward and you have ac­cess to it right now! It's Busi­ness and Strat­egy Plan­ning. Be­fore you roll your eyes, groan and think, "Oh great, it's that time of year again!" you ought to get ex­cited about this, be­cause amazing com­pa­nies don't just hope they'll have a good year. They plan, they or­gan­ise, they strate­gise – and they en­sure they have a great year.

So why don't we all take the time to do this? Some of the rea­sons I've heard over the years in­clude: • I don't have enough time. • I don't know where to start.

• It's just too te­dious and time-con­sum­ing. • I did it last year. I'll just tweak that plan. • I did one seven years ago. It'll be pretty much the same.

Let me ask you a ques­tion. When did we get too busy to find a few hours to plan for the success of our busi­nesses?

Just to put this into con­text, it's es­ti­mated that 50 per­cent of new com­pa­nies fail in their first five years*. Think about that – all those or­gan­i­sa­tions who closed their doors and dis­ap­peared.

For many oth­ers, it might not be as ex­treme as shut­ting up shop, but still, they may not be grow­ing or ex­pand­ing, and in­stead just reach a plateau or be­come stag­nant.


Be­ing suc­cess­ful in busi­ness is not easy. It takes per­se­ver­ance, drive, re­silience, courage and be­lief. But it's also one of the most ex­cit­ing, re­ward­ing and ful­fill­ing things you can achieve.

If you truly want to be suc­cess­ful how­ever, you need to take away the hope and re­place it with a clear, prac­ti­cal, ef­fec­tive growth plan to en­sure you have an out­stand­ing year.

If you're un­cer­tain of the best way to ap­proach this, ask for help from an ex­pert. In fact, this is one of the most sought-after ser­vices I pro­vide to my clients. It makes life so much eas­ier when you have that ex­tra level of knowl­edge and sup­port.

For now, here are ‘5 Win­ning Ways’ to help you plan for success in 2017.

1. Start with your mind­set

Get in the right headspace. You need to be ob­jec­tive; step back and look at your busi­ness with fresh eyes. Try to take the emo­tion out of it and fo­cus on the facts. Don't beat your­self up about what you feel isn't work­ing. Find what is work­ing and keep do­ing that! Look for gaps and ways in which you can adapt and im­prove. And re­mem­ber to cel­e­brate your suc­cesses.

2. Re­view

It all starts here. Re­view what worked well in 2016.

Sales: what was your best-sell­ing prod­uct or ser­vice? What was your ‘easy sell’ and what made you the most mar­gin?

Turnover: did your turnover re­flect the time and ef­fort you spent in your busi­ness?

Draw­ings: did th­ese match the hard work you put in? If you broke it down into an hourly rate, what would this be?

Mar­ket­ing: where did your cus­tomers come from? If it's from re­fer­rals and word of mouth rec­om­men­da­tions, did your re­fer­ral pro­gram help to drive more clients to the busi­ness? And how have you thanked those who sent new clients your way? What was your most ef­fec­tive mar­ket­ing strat­egy, and why did it work so well?

Sys­tems: where are the bot­tle­necks in the busi­ness? What is slow­ing down growth or mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for cus­tomers to buy from you? Con­versely, what's run­ning smoothly, and are you strongly po­si­tioned to han­dle an in­crease in clients this year?

3. Set your goals

Ide­ally, you should be set­ting SMART goals every year. The acro­nym stands for: • Spe­cific. • Mea­sur­able. • Achiev­able. • Re­al­is­tic. • Time-bound.

This is a great way to de­fine ex­actly what you want to achieve in the next 12 months, build ac­count­abil­ity around it with time-scales, and to mon­i­tor and eval­u­ate your progress.

Don't make your goals too easy. Cre­ate them to be a stretch, so that you have to work hard to make them hap­pen, but still re­al­is­tic with the time and re­sources you have avail­able.

4. Break it down

Keep it sim­ple, and chunk it down into a monthly step-by-step plan. This will make it more achiev­able and more doable. One pop­u­lar strat­egy I in­tro­duce to clients is to break it down into a 90-Day Ac­tion Plan. This means that busy busi­ness own­ers just need to fo­cus on the next three months at a time, and each quar­ter builds to­wards their an­nual plan and goals.

5. Get it done!

The last step is, quite sim­ply, to take ac­tion and put your plan into force.

At this point, those who are per­fec­tion­ists may suf­fer from "paral­y­sis by anal­y­sis." But, you can lose out on great op­por­tu­ni­ties if you wait un­til every­thing is per­fect. As I of­ten say to my clients: "Done is bet­ter than none!" Hav­ing some­one to keep you ac­count­able, fo­cused and on track can be re­ally valu­able. Know­ing that you have to an­swer to them can go a long way to help­ing you get things done!

All in all, make the most of this op­por­tu­nity to get in­spired and be cre­ative in your busi­ness, and re­mem­ber why you started it in the first place.

Find your spe­cial place out of the of­fice where you can just re­lax, get away, and think clearly about where you've come from and where you want to get to. I've found that go­ing to the beach with a pad, pen, some good cof­fee and mu­sic helps me get into a pos­i­tive frame of mind for the ideas to flow.

I hope I've helped to reignite your en­thu­si­asm for plan­ning, and re­minded you of the im­por­tance to map out your year ahead.

So, will 2017 be the year that you transform your busi­ness?

*MYOB NZ Busi­ness Mon­i­tor 2015

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.