3 Easy Steps to Updating Your Business Plan for the New Year

by Summer Alexander on January 10,2013

How to update business plan “Most people don’t live 70-90 years, they live the same year 70-90 times.” – Derek Rydall 

The first time I heard that quote I thought ouch! It was even worse when I was able to look back over several “clumps” of years in my life and find no real change in circumstances.

In other words one year ran into the next, and the next, and the next and not much had changed. This finally changed when I launched my business because I had never even imagined I could do such a thing.

Since then I’ve been determined to make sure I am not repeating the same cycle of events and circumstances year after year, both in my personal life and my business. 

You’ve probably heard that your business plan is a living, breathing document and should be revisited and revised regularly- and it should.

So since we are entering into a new year what better time to avoid the repeat cycle and touch up our business plans?

Step 1: Review Last Years Ups, Downs and In-Between’s

Start by writing down a list of everything you offered last year. Include every product, service, and program that you made available for purchase – whether or not they actually sold.

Next to each offering jot down the number of each offering sold and the dollar amount it generated.

So it should look something like this:

Product/Service Number Sold Dollar Amount Earned
Widget 1 32 $13,045
Widget 2 4 $224

Now take a look at the products/services that earned the most over the previous 12 months and answer the following questions:

Who bought it? ( Describe in detail.)

[Is this target market still a good fit for your business? Do they pay on time or are they always trying to negotiate and get a discount?]

What did they think of it and would they buy it again or refer your business to others? (If you don’t know, stop here and contact them to find out.)

Step 2: Eliminate the Junk

Of all the products/services you offered and were actually purchased which:

Did you love?

[Great! These programs are a good fit for your business let's keep them for the upcoming year. If sales were high, it may be time to raise the price, if sales were low it may be time to increase our marketing efforts.]

Did you dread providing? 

[Even if these products/services were profitable, if they were too time consuming, costly, or stressful to provide it may be time to let them go. Determine if the production of these products/services can be outsourced or delegated. If they cannot, determine if there are some slight changes that can be made to make them easier for you to provide.]

Failed to sell but you really love? 

[Evaluate the value in these products or services. Having a great idea that no one in your target market wants is a setup for heartbreak. Give a few samples or trials away in exchange for feedback before adding these to this year's "for sale" list.]

Step 3 – Set the New Plan in Stone

Update your website, marketing materials, social media posts, and all business listings to include only what you will be offering this year. If there will be a price increase don’t forget to notify your customers so that they can budget accordingly. 

So tell me, what steps have you taken to update your business plan this year?

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12 thoughts on “3 Easy Steps to Updating Your Business Plan for the New Year”

    1. Hi Silvia,

      Yes many times we are so connected to our products and services we have a hard time letting go. However, if they are not serving our business – or better yet the customers we intended for them to help it may be time to let go.

  1. This is so true! I love the quote at the beginning…time does fly by and we must pay attention to it. I have an online journal that I fill out every month answering questions similar to the one’s you provided-but instead of products, I ask what I loved about last month and what I dreaded. This helps keep me on track and successful. Thanks for a great article.

  2. Summer! These are great ideas no matter what kind of business you are in. Look at what is working and what is not. How can we improve what is not working or does it need to be elminated!!

    I shared on Google + too.

    FYI your G+ link to add you to a circle is not working properly. I found you my searching for you on G+

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  • About Summer

  • Summer Alexander is a Marketing Implementation Mentor with an assignment to help businesses increase revenue strategically.

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