What can I do to ensure a successful year?

Business Planning for 2019

Before you can start looking into a successful plan that will help your business in 2019, there is a very important step you need to take first: Reflect back at what you were doing in 2018.


Often we get ourselves in a rut doing the same thing year after year, and finding little or no results. Start out by asking yourself several key questions. What were my targets (if any) and did I achieve them? If I fell short, was it by a lot? If I exceeded them, why and which ones performed well? What strategies went wrong, and which ones went right, and why? This exercise is important because it will help you to set up a proper platform for the next year, and the years to follow.


Your next step is to develop a SWOT analysis. What is SWOT? It stands for:

  • Strengths

  • Weaknesses

  • Opportunities

  • Threats

While it may seem simple to assess each of these within your business, make no simple conclusions. Carefully analyze each one for what it stand for. For instance, if we focus too much on our weaknesses without developing and nurturing our strengths, we lose sight of some goals that will maximize the overall effect of our planning. Explore all opportunities that will allow you to be more efficient and effective in everything you do. And threats can come at you from a variety of different angles. Tax changes, risk management, and market fluctuations all play a part of threats that can affect our overall business planning goals.


What you decide to achieve in the next year can be summarized with Key Performance Indicators, or KPI. Normally you should start with financial targets, but whichever targets you set up, be sure to be specific and concise. This is essential because you will want to be sure to refer back to your SWOT on a regular basis throughout the year to evaluate progress. It can be done monthly or quarterly depending on your business model. Be sure to also include long-term goals. What vision do you see in 3 years? 5 years? Even 10 years from now?


Finally, and probably the most important step is to review your Business Plan at the end of the year and determine what works and what doesn’t work. This is the time that you may need to make changes to your SWOT and KPI analysis to better work within your goals. Your Business Plan should be a constant work in progress as it evolves with ever-changing markets and trends of the business world. Above all, be sure to celebrate your successes!


With thoughtful and precise planning you can work towards a goal of success and find the path you need to take for a productive 2019.

© 2018 by O'Donnell, Ficenec, Wills & Ferdig, LLP