One of the oldest clichés in the book is, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
There’s a lot of truth in that simple statement. We see it frequently at 4Patriots LLC, where we provide products designed to help people become more self-reliant and independent as they prepare for an uncertain future.
It’s incredible how many people take an “It will never happen to me” attitude. Then, when the storms of life strike and they suddenly find themselves without power, food or clean drinking water, the attitude changes to, “Why didn’t I listen?”
Of course, strategic planning is essential in every business, not just in the preparedness arena. For your business to be profitable in 2016, you’re going to need to spend the remaining weeks of 2015 preparing for it (if you have not already done so). Let’s take a look at some of the elements involved in this important preparation.
Current Products. Take a close look at your current products to determine how much life they have left in them. Your top products in 2015 may have run their course, or they might just need a few minor tweaks to bring in additional profits in 2016.
New Products. This is the lifeblood of most companies. You should plan to unveil enough new products in 2016 that your winners can more than offset any that don’t perform up to your expectations, but not so many that you can’t devote enough time to properly marketing all of them.
Customer Service. If you’ve already established a great customer service division in your company, you understand how important it is. If not, make this a priority for your business in 2016. I don’t regret one penny I’ve spent on customer service because over and over again I’ve seen how it helps us keep current customers and gain new ones.
Employees. Make sure all your employees comprehend the vision you have for the company as it pertains to 2016. Employees don’t have to understand every single aspect of your business, but they do need to fully grasp the scope of their individual and team responsibilities. They should also be convinced that their hard work and dedication will be contributing factors to the company reaching its goals for the year.
Expenses. When it comes to the bottom line, the amount of money your business spends is equally important as how much money your business takes in. Maybe your company is not large enough to have a Vice President of Procurement, but anyone authorized to spend the company’s money should understand how crucial it is to seek the best possible deals on everything they purchase, from office furniture and computers to paper products and airline tickets.
One thing to keep in mind as you work on your 2016 strategic plan is that business plans are not etched in stone. There will be surprises along the way to which you will need to adjust. For example, some new products will do better than you anticipated, and you need to be ready to ride those winners for all they’re worth. Other products will underperform, and you’ll need to know when to stop the bleeding.
Being flexible and willing to quickly adapt to these kinds of unexpected changes will be a key factor in the potential growth of your company in 2016. But your overall plan will still be valid, and you should adhere to it as much as possible.
Finally, make solid plans to ensure that your home/family life is not neglected. Schedule regular one-on-one time with your spouse, and plan family vacations. These are just as vital as anything on your business schedule for the year, so mark them in big, bold letters on your calendar.
Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to scribble out your 2016 business plan on a cocktail napkin. Get started on it today!
Allen Baler is a leading entrepreneur and Harvard grad. Allen Baler is a Partner in 4Patriots LLC, based in Nashville.
Disclaimer: This blog post is not a substitute for the sound advice of a business professional with expertise in the subject matter discussed. Please seek appropriate counsel on what strategies make sense for your business.