When trying to make a plan for your year, hitting up colleagues and other industry experts can be a great help. Why not rely on those who already have done what you’re looking to do?
Another benefit of reaching out is your planning may lead you to opportunities. When you and your colleagues discuss your plans for the year, there could be some aspect of your plan that they could be looking for their business. For example, if you state that you are expanding into a new product line, your colleagues may tell you they have been looking for that product. When your colleagues discuss their plans, they may trigger something that you were looking for as well.
Some colleagues who may be competitors, may not be as willing to volunteer so readily. But, they still may be able to help you with the planning process itself. If there is some auxiliary activity that your industry needs to handle, they may give you some insight on that. You probably won’t get much unless you ask a lot of questions. Some competitors who have confidence in their businesses, won’t have problems giving out information.
If you belong to any trade groups, be sure to review any information that the groups publish. This will include conferences and other events that you’ll want to incorporate into your planning for the year. These publications also contain advertising which could spark some ideas for your plans. You may see some product ideas that you may be able to use in your own business. It can also be an indicator of what is working. Businesses won’t repeat their ads over and over again if they are not selling. If you see products or companies who are consistently advertising over time, you may want to incorporate advertising into the mix as part of your plan.
Whatever help you decide to use, be aware that the responsibility of the plan rests with you. If someone makes a suggestion about an item on your plan that winds up not working for you, don’t blame that person. First, determine if you implemented everything correctly. Then, make sure that plan item even belongs in your business. Only you know best what your business is about and which components make sense to keep.
Creating yearly plans can help you in knowing what is working and what needs improvement. It’s perfectly fine to make some adjustments, and you will get better the more you do it.