Why You Need A Plan in Place for 2016

Business Plan for 2016

Happy New Year! 2016 has arrived and with that it’s time to review your wins from last year, make your resolutions, and set out your plan to take your business to where you want it to be by the end of 2016.

Businesses around the country are finally starting to feel the effects of our economies return to growth. When setting out your plan for this year, we cannot stress how important it is to ensure that you are ready to take advantage of the recovery, and have the resources available to capitalise on the opportunities it will bring your way.

If you are unsure of where to start, or need a more structured environment outside the office to develop your plan, you can give your business a head start and join us at our 2016 Business Planning Workshop Thursday 14th January. Click here for more information.

If you are putting off creating a business plan and think it’s too hard or unnecessary, here are some key benefits to business planning which may help you change your mind:

1. A Business Plan will keep you on strategy

Goals cannot be achieved without a clearly defined strategy. However, it can be hard to stick to strategy once we get back into the daily routine and interruptions of running a business. Use your business plan to help summarise the main points of your strategy as a reminder to help you stay on track for achieving your end goals.

2. Your Business objectives will be clear

Every business and its team members need set objectives to strive towards in order to grow and develop. Use your plan to define and manage specific measurable objectives like number of leads, sales conversions, margins or new product launches. Define your success in objective terms.

3. Your educated guesses will be better

Use your plan to refine your educated guesses and carry out some more detailed research and analysis about things like potential market, sales, costs of sales, sales drivers, lead processing and business processes.

4. Priorities will make more sense

Aside from the strategy, there are also priorities for other factors of your business like growth, management and financial health to consider. Use your plan to set the groundwork for these, and then to revise as the business evolves.

5. You’ll understand interdependencies

Use a plan to keep track of what needs to happen and in what order. For example, if you have to time a product release to match a testing schedule or marketing to match a release, your business plan can be invaluable in keeping you organised and on track.

6. Set milestones to keep you on track

Use a business plan to keep track of dates and deadlines in one place. This is valuable even for the one-person business and vital for teams. Celebrating milestones achieved will bring momentum to you and your team and a desire to achieve again.

7. It will help you delegate

If working less hours is one of your resolutions for 2016, your business plan is the ideal place to set out your key objectives, delegate responsibility and clarify who on your team is responsible for what. Every important task should have one person in charge.

8. Managing team members and tracking results will be easy

Including your team in your business plan will help ensure everyone in the business is working towards a common goal. Each individual will know their role in achieving this goal and can be held accountable for it.

9. You can better plan and manage cash flow

No business can afford to mismanage cash. A cash flow plan is a great way to tie together estimates on sales, costs, expenses, assets you need to buy and debts you have to pay.

10. Course corrections will keep your business on track for success

Having a business plan gives you a way to be proactive — not reactive — about business. Don’t wait for things to happen. Plan them. Follow up by tracking the results and making course corrections along the way to keep you on track.

Once you have your plan in place you will have a clear picture of your business and direction it is going to take in 2016. Make sure to review it regularly and make adjustments as necessary, and then watch your business take off in 2016.

Join us on Thursday 14th January, at our 2016 Business Planning Workshop, when we will help you develop your winning plan for 2016. Click here to avail of our early bird special offer.

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Plan For Success In 2016

Plan For Success in 2016

With the Christmas break just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about the New Year ahead! What goals are you setting for yourself and your business in 2016, and how do you plan on achieving these goals?

You may set out personal goals like wanting to go on your dream holiday, buy a new car, get fit and healthy or have more free time off to spend with family and friends.

Similarly, in business we all want to do better. You may set goals for 2016 in relation to higher sales targets, increased profits, improved efficiencies, or for example moving to a new larger premises. Do you have a plan in place to help you achieve these goals?

A dream/goal without a plan is just a wish. Having lots of great ideas and goals, but no clearly defined and written plan to make the most important ones happen is detrimental. Make sure you take some time out of the office in the new year to develop your plan.

Here are some tips to help you plan for success in 2016:

Evaluate your 2015 plan

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Review your success over the last year and identify the challenges you encountered.

Take a look at what really worked and what perhaps didn’t work so well to help avoid making the same mistakes in 2016.

Set your 2016 goals

SMART-goals

Set your annual and quarterly goals for the year ahead. Make your goals S.M.A.R.T – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely.

Execute your plan

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Identify the strategies you need to employ to achieve these goals. Select the team members most suitable to take ownership for particular project goals. Remember if you try to achieve too many goals at once, you divide your focus, and the quality and effort will be reduced.

Review, Plan & Repeat

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Throughout the year try to get into the habit of regularly reviewing and planning e.g. Quarterly Business Planning. This will help you to adapt your plan when necessary to achieve the overall goal. Include your team in the planning process as it will help ensure everyone in the business is working towards your common goal, and each individual knows their role in achieving this goal.

Once you have a plan in place you will have control of your business and direction it is going. This is when your business will really take off!

So let’s get planning for 2016. What big goals have you set to make 2016 your most successful yet?

Join us on Thursday 14th January, at our 2016 Business Planning Workshop, when we will help you develop your winning plan for 2016. Click here to avail of our early bird special offer.

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Top 5 Business Survival Tips For Christmas

5 Top Business Survival Tips For Christmas

It’s the 1st of December and the festive season is officially upon us. This time of year can be especially hectic leading up to Christmas and the New Year for many businesses. With a bit of forward planning you can make sure your business gets through the festive season unscathed and is ready to hit the ground running in 2016.

Here are a few survival tips to make sure this is both an enjoyable and prosperous time for you and your business.

Top 5 Business Survival Tips For Christmas

 

1. Manage Cashflow

Keep track of your business cashflow cycle – factor in expenses such as holiday pay, Christmas parties and client entertainment and try to put off any expenses that can wait until the New Year. Chase your outstanding debtors for the year and make sure all jobs and projects are completed and invoiced before Christmas.

2. Monitor Stock

If you’re a retail business or any product-based business trading over the holiday season, then you need to check that your stock levels are adequate to cover you. There is nothing worse than running low on items that are high in demand or having to source merchandise over the holiday period.

 3. Check Equipment

Make sure all your equipment maintenance is up-to-date in advance to minimise the chance of breakdowns while you’re away (and avoid you having to rush back to the office ahead of time). You also need an IT contingency plan with a tech guru on hand just in case there are any issues with your hardware or software.

 4. Plan for Some R&R

If you want to take time off over the Christmas period but business needs to keep running, make sure you take time to speak to your team so that you can feel confident it will be business as usual in your absence. Delegate daily operational tasks to key staff that you know you can rely on. 

5. Keep Everything Spick and Span

As the saying goes – tidy desk tidy mind – so before your business closes for Christmas make sure everything is spotless to survive you not being there and make it a great place to return to in the New Year!

Finally, remember to keep customers and staff engaged in the countdown to Christmas by promoting a festive environment in your business. You’ll find that most people will appreciate a bit of Christmas cheer when trying to survive the silly season!

10 Ways You Can Use KPI’s To Improve Management

KPI's to improve managementActionCOACH Business Coaching Ireland

Most companies do their best to set goals for the month and the quarter. However, they don’t always do a good job tracking the results along the way. This can lead to goal deadlines being pushed back or not achieved.

One way to track your progress is by using Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). KPI’s are predictive measures that you track on weekly basis that will ultimately drive goal achievement and keep everyone on the team accountable for their results.

Here are some ways having KPI’s in place can improve a company’s performance and management:

1. Improve Decision Making

Having accurate measurements is priceless in any business and will help the business owner/manager make the most informed decision possible.

2. Improve Business Execution

When is company is actively measuring results they are more likely to execute and achieve the results they want.

3. Help Clarify Expectations

Prioritising some numerical targets and key performance indicators enables managers to communicate their employees in a clear way.

4. Direct Peoples Behaviour

Most employees operate on the following assumption: “Tell me how you will measure my performance every week, and I will behave accordingly”

5. Focus Attention

Having KPI’s in place helps your employees focus on the right things and be less likely to get distracted on low priority tasks.

6. Promote Consistency

Activities and outcomes that are not measured regularly tend to fluctuate up and down and this can lead to negative implications for the quality of your results.

7. Make Performance Visible

You can only manage what you measure. Keeping the scores visible to the team shows how well various parts of the business are working. It will also show who is performing well and who is struggling.

8. Provide Objectivity About Performance

Have measured information enables you to manage by facts. It’s not about who is busy or working hard. More importantly, it’s about looking at what they achieved.

9. Help You To Give Clear Feedback

Holding people accountable for achieving the target level of performance is vital in ensuring the company is on the right track. You must give clear feedback about what actions need to be taken and provide support to you team to help them achieve these results.

10. Live Dashboard

KPI’s should be graphed on a dashboard to show current score and historical trends every week. The scores should be colour coded so the performance can be easily understood at a glance. Using the Traffic Light concept is easy for everyone to understand (Green = Good, Yellow = OK, Red = Bad).

As you can see there is countless benefits to using KPI’s that will lead your team and business to great success.

If you would like more advice on how you can implement KPI’s in your business complete our short expression of interest form or give us a call on 01 891 6220 as we would be happy to help.

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5 Top Tips To Grow Your Business

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Most entrepreneurs have what we like to call the Superhero Syndrome. When it comes to their business they want things done now, they want them done right, and the only person in the company who does things this perfect way is the business owner themselves, the superhero! This leads to long hours being put in at the office with little reprieve from the stress of running your own business. Sound familiar?

It’s so easy to get caught up with the day to day running of the business and lose sight of where you want your business to be in a few year’s time.

Here are some tips to help you focus on growing your business rather than getting stuck in the day-to-day:

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Perform an honest self-assessment

Sometimes it is a good idea to step back and take a bird’s eye view of your business. Looking at your business from a different perspective is not as easy as it might sound, but it is important to learn how to objectively analyse every aspect of your business. In the blog post last week, we discussed living above (taking responsibility for our actions) and living below the line (giving excuses and blaming someone else), which is also hugely relevant. 

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Work on your business, not in it

If you are a business owner who is involved in every sector of the business (sales, customer service, marketing, finance etc.) this is a lot to manage. When you are focused on these day to day operations of your business, you become reactive rather than proactive and this will hinder moving your business forward. Learn to commit time every week to growing as a business owner and taking actions that benefit your business. By dedicating this time your chances of long-term success will be vastly improved.

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Hire smart, direct well

The “I can do it myself” attitude is helpful, even necessary when you first launch your business. But there comes a time when it no longer serves you well. Businesses that want to grow and move forward must employ a great team. Providing excellent training and direction to your team is essential. Improve your employees and they will improve your company.

As a business owner you also need to learn to delegate tasks to your employees. By setting SMART goals together – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely, your delegated tasks have a greater chance of being accomplished.

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Create Systems

Creating systems in your business can help to simplify procedures and processes and eventually allow the business to run without you. Giving up control can be difficult but with systems in place this can make the process of handing responsibility over to a team member easier. If you want your business to grow, you must stop doing everything yourself and learn to trust your team. 

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Don’t be afraid of change – Do something different

Doing something different can be great way to jumpstart business growth when your feeling stuck. Here are some options to help you take action and make a positive change in your business:

  • Get help from someone – a business coach or a business group. Anything that will help keep you accountable to your goals is a good idea.
  • Write out a list of everything you do in your business and look at ways to simplify or automate some of those tasks. It might sound small but saving 5 minutes per day adds up to 100 minutes per month!
  • Consider hiring someone to handle tasks that are not critical. This will free you up to spend more time working on the business.

As a business owner we should never be afraid to put aside what’s not working and double down our effort on what is. Successful businesses are able to adapt to change and look for opportunities to meet demand.

As a business owner it can be hard to maintain the perfect work life balance. We hope these few tips will help you to prioritise the time you spend on certain tasks and help you to move your business forward to the next level of success. And don’t forget to take off that superhero cloak and allow others to help you on your way to the top!

If you would like more advice on how to grow your business, join us at our Time Management Workshop this Friday 16th October, by clicking here, or complete our short expression of interest form for a call to discuss how business coaching can help move your business forward.

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3 Commonly Used Ways for Measuring Success in Business

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You’ve managed to translate your business idea into a reality – and so begins the hardest part, ensuring your business grows successfully. If you are in the start-up or early stages of your business, it’s essential to keep track of the relevant metrics to gauge your business’ success. Let’s take a look at the 3 ways that are commonly used for measuring success in business over time…

1.  Owner Satisfaction

As the owner of the business, if you are not satisfied by your business this means it is lacking somewhere, which can have a negative effect on its success. If the owner is unhappy it won’t take long for your unhappiness to affect your employees and customers. Identify the problem, find solutions, think outside the box, implement the strategy, and make a comeback.

2. Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is an excellent indicator of whether your business is proving successful. The more customers your business can satisfy, the more successful your business will turn out to be. Customers do not want any compromises – they want the best price, and service they’ll remember for a very long time. Give them all of that and more and they will become loyal, repeat customers. Remember, negative feedback can have a damming effect on your relationship with not only that sole customer, but on other customers and prospects too. It’s not possible to satisfy everyone at once, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try!

3. Growing Customer Base= More Profit

Finally, the most important question – is your business making money? Profit is that amount you make as the owner after deducting taxes, bills, pay checks, etc. If you are making more profit than you were earlier, sales have increased and your customer base is expanding. The future is looking bright.

If you would like some help in ensuring your business is a success join us at our Business Planning Workshop Wednesday 23rd September in Cork or Friday 25th September in Dublin. Click here for more information and to register your place.

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