In part one of this two-part series on creating your annual business plan, we covered:
- The importance of conducting an annual business review
- Creating a financial plan based on last year’s financials
- Creating a tangible action plan for reaching your sales goals
This article will cover the marketing, human resource, and project sections of the annual business review.
Your Annual Marketing Plan
The last activity of part one was reverse-engineering our annual sales goal into quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily sales goals. Your annual marketing plan is driven by your sales goals. Hitting sales goals requires your salespeople to sell more. In order to do that, your salespeople need more leads. That is where marketing comes in.
Marketing is all about getting the phone to ring. Marketing success in the digital age doesn’t come easy. Online marketing has become a vital component of every company’s marketing goals. It is a big reason why I started Titanium Marketing three years ago.
I once received an email from a client that raved about the results they were seeing from their online marketing campaign. She said before working with us, they spent nothing on online marketing. They never got any leads through search engines. Now she said they have gotten dozens of leads solely through their online marketing efforts.
There are two ways to increase your marketing: increase your human resources, or outsource your marketing efforts.
Your Human Resources Annual Plan
If you plan on handling marketing in-house, then you need to account for the increase in marketing efforts when making your human resources annual plan. Do you already have the staff necessary to ramp up your marketing efforts, or do you need to hire more talent? What positions do you need specifically? These questions don’t just apply to the marketing department. You need to be asking the following key questions in regards to all of your departments:
- Do I need more or less full and part-time people?
- Do my people need more training?
- Are my people fairly compensated?
- Who is underperforming?
- Who is overachieving?
If you’re a one-person business, this human resource analysis still applies to you. You need to treat yourself as multiple people within your business. Think of each role you perform as wearing a different “hat”. Buy yourself an actual hat for you to wear while working in each area. Don’t laugh! I have done this very exercise with business
Think of each role you perform as wearing a different “hat”. Buy yourself an actual hat for you to wear while working in each area. Don’t laugh! I have done this very exercise with business boot camp clients, and it has worked wonders.
Regardless of the size of your business, you need to set goals and create an action plan for each department of your business.
Planning Your Annual Projects
Your projects are the tangible manifestations of your plans for the year. This stage of the annual business plan helps you figure out exactly what you’ll need to accomplish in order to launch a new product or service.
Planning your projects before next year begins allows you to play offense, rather than defense, in your business. Shooting from the hip without an annual plan causes you to react to things as they happen, rather than each action having a methodical purpose towards a larger goal. This reaction-based way of running your business virtually always adds more costs than necessary.
Planning your projects based on last year’s results gives you the data necessary to see which vendors you can call to re-negotiate your pricing. Every year I have a goal of getting at least one vendor to lower their price by at least one dollar. It doesn’t sound like much, but this exercise develops a strong cost-cutting mindset.
The final benefit of planning your projects before the year starts is you’ll see areas you can outsource talent to reduce costs. I outsourced my accounting five years ago, and that move has saved me tens of thousands in payroll costs. Outsourcing is particularly important to consider for those who run a one-person business.
Scheduling Your Annual Business Plan: My Challenge to You
Before clients leave my business bootcamp I have them do the following exercise. I have them pull up their digital calendars and schedule the following analysis sessions for this year:
- Annual, quarterly, and monthly financial analysis
- Annual, quarterly, and monthly human resources analysis
- Annual, quarterly, Monthly, and Weekly Project Milestones
Scheduling these tasks now makes them real. It also triggers the release of “feel-good” hormones in the brain. Your clear plan, coupled with a concrete date for completion, lets your brain visualize crossing the finish line.
This exercise wraps up our two-part series on creating your annual business plan. If you need guidance creating your annual business plan, schedule a business coaching session with Arman.