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Wednesday 6th Dec 2023

9 practical ways to plan for business success in 2024

It’s that time of year when heads are down, closing out and reviewing the current year and, in parallel, planning out and previewing next year and beyond with strategic priorities, financial targets, and aspirational goals. To help you plan for business success in 2024, here are my nine practical ways to set you and your business up for success. Are you ready to kick start 2024 with a bang?

Business Success #1 – Reconnect with your WHY

Many individuals lose connection with their WHY, or it’s been suppressed by the number of things to do or the challenges they face. So, the first thing to do is to reconnect with your WHY. When you can answer not just WHAT you do but elaborate on WHY you do what you do, you’ll feel that rush of excitement, passion, and deep-rooted emotional connection all over again.

The WHY triangle

Business Success #2 – Know your current year-end reality

Certainty, predictability and ‘no surprises’ are key measures of success, so with this in mind, know your year-end numbers. Sales is the lifeblood of any business, and the direct correlation between sales and revenue means there are no hiding places. Numbers don’t lie; they paint a real-time picture of reality, so make sure you close out the year knowing what you’ve achieved and how your business has performed.

Business Success #3 – Review your growth strategy

Having a structured, systematic and sustainable business growth strategy in place is key, and it should be centred around the four BIG questions of business growth.

How do I increase…

The number of customers?

Their average order value?

Their average order frequency?

The retention of customers?

How many ideas can you generate when you brainstorm the strategies you could use against each of the four BIG questions? Review your current growth strategy and make sure your new ideas are included.

Read more on this topic; How to grow your business: 4 questions you should ask

Business Success #4 – Document your strategic plan

It’s usually because of a lack of a clear strategy that many business leaders and owners get sucked almost exclusively into tactical delivery and crisis management.

Don’t fall into this trap.

Have a clear vision of where you want to get to, why you want to go there, and how you’ll turn your vision into a reality.

Remember, a strategy or plan is a changeable set of implementable actions that you should frequently revisit and redefine according to shifting market conditions to achieve the long-term aspirations of the business. It’s not static. Map out a three-year line of sight; target financial goals, revenue and profitability for years two and three; your target markets and customers; your aspirational organisational design.

Additional reading on strategic planning; Strategic plan: what to include in yours

Business Success #5 – Set next year’s targets and goals

The key to effective planning and forecasting is to adopt a top-down/bottom-up approach.

A top-down approach is usually based on two factors: firstly, the historical performance of the business over the past years with a % growth added on, coupled with the business’s growth ambitions. A bottom-up approach looks at what realistically can be delivered. There might be a gap or tension in the middle ground; however, discussing it at the start of the year is better than having it six months in when you’re on the back foot trying to play catch up.

Business Success #6 – Document your twelve-month plan

Your twelve-month plan should detail your strategic priorities, deliverables, budgets and measures that matter. This plan should then be broken into quarterly ‘bite-size’ priorities, deliverables and measures that matter. Building in regular reality checks at the end of each quarter (or earlier if necessary) will help you evaluate what’s working and what isn’t, allowing you to make adjustments.

If you haven’t already started planning for 2024, ideally, you should aim to begin planning one quarter ahead, i.e. in Oct-Dec, plan for Jan–Mar, in Jan–Mar, plan for April–Jun, etc.

The simple message here is don’t wait until 2024 to plan for 2024. Start now. It will give you the momentum into the New Year. Nothing is worse than returning to work on January 2nd and thinking, ‘What are we doing this year?’.

You want to start the new year fast out of the blocks.

Business Success #7 – Hold performance reviews with your people

Now, performance reviews should not be just an end-of-year appraisal. Instead, they should be about live, in-the-moment inspirational and developmental feedback and coaching daily. If you embed this culture, the annual and half-yearly performance review should be the fastest and easiest conversation you have all year, as the differences between perception and reality on performance have been continuously calibrated throughout the year.

Want to deep dive into performance management and leadership;

Sign up for my on-demand leadership webinar

Business Success #8 – Take a moment to reflect

The world is full of negativity, which presents a full-frontal challenge to anyone trying to be positive, and the one unassailable key to success lies in the ability to shut those messages out.

Have you had an unwavering determination to keep going? Have you shown up as the best version of yourself? Leadership is practised not so much in words as in attitude and actions. Are you happy with your performance for the year?

Business Success #9 – Celebrate Success

Whether it’s been your best year, worst year or somewhere in the middle, celebrate your successes and wins. It’s all too easy to reflect on what you didn’t do, what you did wrong or what you need to do.

Spend time celebrating what went well and enjoy the moment.

On-Demand Webinar

Leading Remotely

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