Do you really want another year doing the same thing? We need to design our success, and not live by default.
Perhaps there’s something in the water, or maybe it’s the nice weather, but if you ask me everyone seems pretty optimistic about 2013. My newsfeeds are full of positive affirmations about health and wealth and photos of beautiful scenery, tasty meals, or cats. It seems like everyone is over the doom and gloom and ready to kick butt.
Just think back a couple of years (2008 comes to mind) and the general sentiment was rather different (not helped by a rubbish summer if I recall correctly). But this year, of all years, it’s not enough to just think positively despite what the inspirational Facebook quotes may say. As business owners and managers we actually have to sit down and plan what we want to achieve and how we are going to do it, so that our success is by design and not by default. FYI, Idealog editor Hazel Phillips wrote a great piece about not being a headless chicken the other week.
Whilst planning my own business strategy this year I came across this very handy and free resource from NZTE you might find useful as a starting point for business (or life) planning. The challenge with running a startup or SME, as I know, is that business planning always takes second place to other important jobs like servicing clients, paying bills, or writing blogs (cough).
The advice from NZTE is to really sit down and analyse your market, brand, and of course competitor activity. I mean really look at it: not five minutes on the interweb Googling yourself. Even if you are a sole trader or just starting out it is a useful exercise to take a half day out (ideally away from disruptions like phones or staff or kids or cats) and really figure it out. You might be surprised at what you discover about your business – or yourself.
Your business plan should be a changing, evolving document that adapts alongside your company and your market. Try and set realistic goals along with rewards for achieving them, and have fun while you do it. Be lofty with your thinking, but realistic with what the market can sustain or what you personally have capacity for because there is nothing worse than setting goals, not achieving them, and then feeling bad.
Don’t be too hard on yourself; give yourself at least a chance to succeed!
Robert Bruce is the founder of experiential marketing agency SublimeNZ (now part of Professional Public Relations), and a regular contributor to Idealog. You can see more of Robert here or contact him at Robert@sublimenz.co.nz