Are you planning for 2013 yet?

Can you believe the year is nearly over with just one quarter remaining? Although time has seemingly flown by, we must now begin to look ahead and determine how we are going to promote our business in 2013.

Effective strategic planning is crucial to growing your business. Each time I meet with a new prospective client, I am always asked how soon is too soon to begin planning for the New Year.

Ben Franklin once said, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Frankly, I couldn’t agree more. The most important thing is that you recognize that a strategic marketing communications plan is essential to a successful business.

As we progress into October, November and December, I challenge you to begin thinking of the following five questions and their answers. They will help you put a strategic communications plan into perspective and lead you down a path of business success.

How well did my business perform over the past year?
I usually begin my planning process by asking this simple question. Smart business leaders can instantly tell me as they are continuously looking at their sales performance.

When comparing your marketing communications programs to your sales, you should be able to see a correlation between what tactics worked and what didn’t. This knowledge will help you assess how you should plan for the coming year and what tactics to continue and what you can do without.

What specific goals do I want to accomplish in 2013?
Sure, everyone would like to make more money—that’s a given. What goals are going to lead you to that end result?

A great way to set a goal is to aim for a realistic figure. For example, one might want to increase sales in 2013 by 20 percent. If that’s realistic, then perfect! Put the goal in writing. Now that the top goal has been established, how are you going to achieve it?

Additional goals that can contribute to your success would be by growing your presence on social media, increasing traffic to your website, or closing 90 percent of your in- and out-bound sales calls.

How can I keep track of what you need to accomplish in the area of marketing communications?
Well, the answer to this question should be straight forward—through a written strategic plan. A communications plan is critical to achieving your goals.

Your strategic plan should include tactics, timelines, and responsibilities to yourself and your team. Once it has been created, you should reference it continuously throughout the year to remain focused and on track.

How often should I monitor performance?
Every month, every week, every day! Depending on the tactics and goals you’ve outlined, it may be important to monitor your business’ performance on a regular basis. If something doesn’t seem to be working, it may require you to tweak your tactics or adjust your goals to something closer within reach.

The most important thing to remember is to monitor frequently. You don’t want to get to the end of 2013 and realize that your program has flopped and you didn’t make progress toward your goals… and bottom line.

When should I start planning for 2013?
Now is the perfect time to begin planning for the New Year. As our economy continues to change, it’s never been more important to plan ahead for economic success.

Don’t let a single day of 2013 be a missed opportunity! Give me a call at 214-528-5755 for a free consultation on how a strategic marketing communications plan can help streamline your initiatives, make better use of your resources, and help you achieve bottom line profits.