Reviewing and planning for your business

Today we are delighted to hear from Ray Hutchin of  Cloud 9 Business Specialists.

A regular contributor to our blog, Ray sheds some light on reviewing and planning. If you’re like us at UKAWP, January has gone in a flash but there is still plenty of time to plan for the months and year ahead. Over to Ray:  

How do you measure?

It’s at this time of year we start to reflect and wonder where on earth the last year went! I don’t know about you, but I also rate the year, based on what I have actually achieved during the year. So how do you measure whether you have had a good year or not? Do you just measure your turnover, or maybe your profit, or the money you took out of the business, maybe your personal growth (your increase in skills, self confidence, self belief, knowledge and understanding) or do you measure a combination of these or other things? However you measure it is ok, as long as you are honest with yourself. So I suggest you spend some time reviewing the last year and don’t just focus on the negatives (most people tend to) ensure you spend time listing the successes you have had.

Comparing year on year

By reviewing your previous year it will help you plan the next one, as you will have a yardstick to measure the coming year by and an understanding of what worked and didn’t for you. For me reviewing is an important part of improving ourselves, it gives you an understanding of what you have achieved and how  you faced challenges and how you dealt with them, from here you can then make changes and improve things in the future.

What now?

So once you have reviewed what is the next step? Everyone will plan differently and that is fine (you need to find what works for you). For me, as I have regular clients and workshops, I look at my diary and draft out how and when I want to run workshops and see my clients (of course doing it efficiently as I can, taking into account where I am and travel times). Then I drop in my sales and marketing time, this includes when I will do my sales meetings and follow up calls. This enables me to make sure I have times to offer that suits me so I don’t waste time going all over the place, yes I have to be flexible sometimes, but it is surprising how people will fit around me when I offer them choices.

What do you need to do?

I also ensure I know what I need to sell to achieve the turnover I require (which leads to my gross profit and my net profit), all my activity is based around the results I want to achieve. So how many weddings do you need to do at your average fee to hit your turnover target and what do you need to spend (in time and money) on marketing activity to achieve the results you require? So many business owners just hope to hit their targets and don’t even know if it’s realistic, when you have planned your activity you will then have a focus for your activity.

Keeping on track

For me planning should be done for at least a year as an outline and this should then be done in detail for the next quarter. The detailed plan should then be followed day by day or week by week and reviewed at least monthly. Most plans are not achieved as they are left on the shelf after being written and not even looked at – so it’s not surprising that they are never achieved.

Using the plan

So what planning are you going to do to help you achieve your goals for 2011 and more importantly are you going to follow the plan and review it – no one is perfect and plans are just a guide line and we need to be flexible and adjust them as we go along. So many people give up trying to achieve their goals when they fall behind the plan early on. So have some discipline and work the plan and remember failing to plan means you have planned to fail.

Cloud9 run regular half day and day workshops, covering all aspects of business and as well as offering a money back guarantee, also UKAWP has negotiated a £50 discount for its members on each workshop. For more details please email or visit our website which will be launched later this month.

And don’t forget, Ray will be speaking at the forthcoming Wedding Planning Excellence Seminar taking place on 4th and 5th March in London. Do take a look at the website for full details.

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