Planning for the new year should be well underway, as the final weeks of 2013 draw to a close. What goals do you want to achieve in 2014 and what resources are required?
To create an effective plan, you need to consider past performance. Did you exceed expectations or were some goals not achieved?
To effectively assess performance you should undertake an annual review. A review allows you to benchmark performance and to consider whether these factors are relevant for the new year. A review also lets you determine whether there are opportunities that can be expanded, or whether threats, such as economic conditions, may have an impact on future growth.
Your review should be undertaken in the context of your business plan, what goals were identified, and has progress been made towards achieving these outcomes? The review lets you consider whether these goals are still relevant, or need to be adjusted.
The review should consider financial data, such as revenue and expenses, identify key customers, as well as expenses that have expanded. You should consider the future pipeline that exists, as well as factors that influence customer satisfaction and repeat patronage. In addition, you also need to measure non-financial information, such as staff morale, marketing effectiveness and the factors that have significantly influenced decisions in 2013.
An annual review is not a business plan, but is a tool that lets you measure progress towards achieving your longer term goals. Strategies within your business plan should be measurable so you can evaluate performance and ensure that they are working towards achieving your objectives.
If you are finding that your objectives are not being met, or are no longer relevant, then it may be time to review your business plan. An annual review should measure performance but should not replace your business plan, which is used to identify a longer term vision.
Measuring performance is essential to making sound business decisions. Ensure that you start 2014 with the right plans and information.