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Small Business Planning for 2016

December 30, 2015 by Ed Becker

As the year is ending, both calendar and fiscal year, you should be or have been planning for the upcoming year for your business. Refining your business plan annually allows you to see where you’ve been, how far you’ve come and where you are going. It lets you see what has and hasn’t worked for the last year, so that you can make positive changes. You can see what current trends are working for other businesses and what predicted trends you might want to test out. In this article we will discuss things you should think about for your 2016 business plan. In the next two articles we will discuss marketing trends and ideas for 2016.

There are 5 crucial things to consider in your 2016 business plan

  1. Cyber Security

Since this is an issue that has hit some major players and affected large numbers of people, it is something that you have to address in your 2016 business plan. Small businesses can be targeted as easily, maybe easier than larger businesses. Small businesses may not have changed to EMV card readers yet. If you haven’t done so that should be a top priority. And you need to have a plan for protecting customer information, as well as a response plan if your system gets hacked. Having a simulated crisis exercise is a great way to educate staff and ensure that your plan will work properly.

  1. Social Interaction

Face-to-face interaction is a given, in person customer service has to be strong and friendly. Your business plan also needs to include social media interaction with customers and potential customers. If you are not on social media, you need to be, even if you do not have an online store. Facebook is usually the first thing people think of in social media, but there are many others you can also utilize: Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest just to name the top few.

  1. Mobile

If you are not utilizing a mobile platform, you are missing a large targeted market. You have to be mobile/smart phone friendly. More than 109 million people carry a mobile/smart phone that you could be targeting. Even if your business is all local think about the potential market of mobile users in your area. If you already have e-commerce in place, you must be mobile friendly in order to reach the full market of e-customers.

  1. Labor Market

The labor market is in the best shape it has been since the recession began, with unemployment around 5%. This means that finding highly qualified and skilled employees is tougher on small business owners. Finding and retaining the best employees to grow with your business is a must. Utilize your current staff to their fullest potential, invest in training as needed. If you have good employees that are teachable, it is a wiser investment to train them than to spend funds searching, hiring and training new staff. When you do have to recruit, do it wisely. Take the time to ensure the new hire is a good match for your business and you can offer incentives for them to stay.

  1. Exit plan

Most small businesses do not have an exit plan. Statistics show that 70% of the owner’s wealth is tied up in their small business, but they are not prepared with an exit plan. Even if you don’t plan to retire for many years, you still must have an idea of what will happen.

Early planning for each new year in business makes the year go smoother. It allows you to see where you have grown and where you can target more growth for the coming year. Tweaking your business plan annually is a best practice for any business.

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