A look to the year ahead by Robert Ellis

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We are already one month into the New Year, we all set our New Year’s resolutions, now is the time to focus on what you want for your business in 2018.

Business planning is vital if you want your business to expand and grow, as Winston Churchill once said: ‘Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.”

Set out and write down on a sheet of A4 the strategic objectives for your business (growth, customer service, profitability, employee retention etc.) and then prioritise them.

Are your objectives being met? Are there any issues that are holding the business back from achieving those objectives?

This can often be identified by asking the simply question, “What are the most important things for the business right now?”

Your objectives with also impact on your business financially, so you must produce a profit forecast for 2018 and a monthly dashboard of the key performance indicators.

Look at the overall forecast without getting bogged down in the detail. I start by taking the results achieved in the previous year, adding on a percentage increase to sales for the expected turnover growth and a percentage increase in staff costs and overheads. 

As with all businesses, you will incur costs such as new equipment, a new website or a new employee, profits will decrease in the short term but should deliver future rewards.

Good businesses monitor their performance monthly by examining their dashboard, showing key performance indicators.

It is so important to make active decisions if performance fails in any area.

Remember what worked for the business last year may not this year, therefore it’s worth taking a few hours out of the business every month to take stock of what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t.

Predictions for the year ahead in the world of business looks promising with an increase in self-employment, however uncertainty still remains around Brexit.

Be positive about driving your business forward and reaping the financial rewards. 

And remember if the plan doesn’t work then change the plan… but never the goal. 

Best,

Robert Ellis.