How to create an annual plan, part 1

Are you ready to tackle 2018?  Make it your best year yet?  YES!  Let's do this!!  


But wait.  

Slow down there, tiger.

We're going to get there, but before we look forward, let's take some time for a little reflection.  After that, we divide and conquer this coming year.


How did your 2017 end in comparison with your 2016?  Have you checked?  Please say yes.  If you haven't checked, do it now!  Make a point to spend a couple hours this week looking over your finances, whether it's running a Profit and Loss statement from Quickbooks, finding that Excel file you've been meaning to update, or your trusty notebook.  

Note:  I recommend Quickbooks or other accounting software.  You have other things to do than pencil numbers in a notebook.  It's 2018, after all.


So what are you looking for?

You're looking to compare your numbers from 2017 to 2016 to see how your company performed.  Things like merchandise sales, cost of goods sold, and net income.  The more detailed your books are, the more insight you'll have into where your business spends and receives money.


Is your bottom line higher?  Yay!  Congratulations!  

Is your bottom line lower?  Oh no!  What happened?


Either way, try to identify what caused your numbers to shift.  Don't beat yourself up over it, just look at it objectively.  Numbers don't lie, and numbers sadly don't care about your feelings.  They do, however, give you a black and white picture of the health of your business.  Don't be offended.  Just take what the numbers are offering you.


They are offering you insight into what you did well and what you can improve for this coming year.  


Now, answer two questions about your business's finances.  Use your numbers to help you find the answers.  Write them down.  You're going to need them to improve and grow your business in 2018.


1.  What went well last year? 


2.  What can be improved this year? 


Now, make sure these answers are about the financial health of your business.  Not your personal life, not the trips you took or the friends you made.  Those things are important, of course, but we're looking at dollar signs here.  Money loves attention, and sometimes, when we're not numbers type of people, we like to avoid looking.  Stop avoiding.  You'll thank yourself soon.



Next week's post will have you set some measurable, attainable goals, so start thinking about what you'd like to accomplish this year.  What numbers do you want on your 2018 books?

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