Working – Planning? Or Both…


This is always an interesting time of year for many businesses. In several industries or types of businesses, the fall is perhaps the busiest and strongest sales period. I know this is the case for the printing industry, and obviously then for many of the types of businesses or organizations that we work with as well. And of course you have the retail sector that finds the last few months of the year to be a “make it or lose it” stretch.

This is also though, the time that many organizations begin to do their planning for next year! Of course you need to start this process to see what has worked for you and in fact made you this busy so far, before your can pin down the budget for the coming year.

If your marketing effort for the year has paid off, then you are especially busy right now… if not, then this gives you pause to re-think some strategies. What has changed in your business, or what is happening within your client’s businesses? How is technology going to change the way you do business next year? It is amazing to see new business models like Uber and Airbnb take over their markets within such a short time frame, and they will totally disrupt the marketplace as it was just a few years ago! Opportunities are expanding for all businesses, so the planning process becomes even more complex, and important.

It can be a little daunting to do a comprehensive job on this while also taking care of the day-to-day business, especially within small businesses! Most of us do  not have a “Chief Marketing Officer” or even a “Sales Manager” to lead the process. Rather, it is upon the owner to take some time and look at the numbers and review client sales, and perhaps make some time to meet with a few critical clients to ask some questions. Read through some association research on new trends or perhaps even use the good old internet to seek out what other companies are doing different from yours. Peer groups can provide good insight as well, or reach out to your local Chamber of Commerce members. Then take some time to meet with your staff to ask questions like… what is it we do best? What jobs are the easiest for us to process, and which ones are not? Do we need to add more services, or perhaps less? What ideas have they heard of or thought of that they believe would be good to try out?

All of this input is valuable when planning for the coming year and critical to making decisions before setting a budget. Finding the time while you are so busy might not be so easy, but that is why we have the “5 to 9” time period in addition to the regular “9 to 5” work day – a potential extra 8 hours every day!

Have you started planning yet?


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