Revisit Four Key Areas of Your Business Plan

The start of a new year is the perfect time to chart your course for the coming year by reviewing and revising your business plan. A plan review will help you determine if you are on track to achieve your business goals. Is it time to consider adding employees or opening a new location? Or, perhaps it's time to prune an underperforming product line.

Armed with your 2015 income and expense records, set aside a few hours and review the following four key areas.

  • Service/product line. How did your current offerings perform? What customer feedback did you receive? Which products produced the highest profits? What should stay…and what should go?
  • Competition and industry developments. What differentiates you from "those other guys?" How can you build on those distinctive advantages during the coming 12 months? Are changes afoot in your industry? What do you need to change as a result?
  • Marketing and sales. How are you going to reach out to customers in 2016? What role will social media (Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn) play? What has been the return on your investment for each of your marketing efforts? Is it time to enter into or expand e-commerce? Should you increase your sales force or explore a new distribution channel?
  • Financial projections. What was your gross profit margin (business net income divided by your gross profit) for each quarter of 2015? If the gross profit margin is trending downward, or if you feel it is too low, what expenses can you reduce or eliminate? How can you increase sales of your highest profit offerings?

Your answers to these questions will enable you experience more success in 2016.

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