Small Business Planning: 7 Things to Focus on in 2013

    By Patricia Lotich | Small Business

    As 2012 comes to an end, it is important to stop and reflect on the past 12 months and begin to plan for 2013. Take some time to celebrate all of the things that were accomplished this year and then ride that momentum and begin thinking about those things that your business needs to concentrate on in 2013.

    7 Things to Focus on in 2013

    1. Mission/Vision
    It is always good to begin a new year by focusing on business strategy which is done by revisiting the mission and vision of the organization. In other words, ask the question, why does this organization exist and what is it trying to accomplish? Articulating a mission and vision provides direction for an organization and a target to shoot for. Business strategy is birthed out of the mission and vision so spend some time reflecting and re-strategizing for the coming year.

    2. Customer Experience
    Too many organizations forget that it is the customer that pays the bills and employee salaries. Take some time to better understand the customer experience and develop processes and systems to interact with consumers. Find out what the customer wants and develop products and services to meet their expectations. Remember customer requirements are a moving target so make it a priority to be continually learning what kinds of products and services consumers are looking for.

    3. Controlled Spending
    Control spending by budgeting toward the vision and strategy and eliminate wasted resources on anything that does not contribute to achieving objectives. Create a culture that can justify all spending and challenges unnecessary expenditures.

    4. Employees
    Employees are the heart of every organization so it important to create a work environment where employees can flourish and grow. Take advantage of the employee perspective and take time to learn from their experience working with customers, products or services. They are on the front-line and know where all the problems are, and very often have the solutions to issues that hinder an organization's progress.

    5. Changing Technologies
    Keeping up with changing technologies is something that challenges all of us, because if you miss the mark on a key technology, you may find yourself trying to play catch-up. Subscribe to blogs or business website newsletters that can keep you informed on new and changing technologies.

    6. Emerging Trends
    Every industry has ebbs and flows and trends move and shift over time. Get involved in professional organizations for your particular industry and keep informed of emerging trends and markets. Stay ahead of the curve so you can be a leader instead of a follower.

    7. Personal Development
    Successful leaders are life learners so identify a few good books, classes or seminars that will help sharpen your skills and expertise. Take some time for you and you will be better equipped to handle the challenges that come with running a small business.

    Another year has come and gone, and 2013 will do the same. Spending a few hours now to plan for where you want your business to be a year from now could help to ensure that you accomplish those things that contribute to continued success!

    Patricia Lotich is the founder of The Thriving Small Business and a small business coach. Patricia helps business owners solve problems and develop strategy and goals to achieve objectives. Schedule a free 30 minute phone consultation with Patricia to see how Thriving Small Business can help your organization.

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