4 Things You Can Do to Prepare for 2019

The year is coming to an end, and with it comes the preparation for a new year. Whether you sit down to write out a list of New Year’s resolutions for your business, or simply review your goals and final results from the past year to translate the data into new targets, annual planning is a priority. Here are some simple steps you can take to make sure that your 2019 is a success.

Write or update your business plan

It’s hard to know what the future will bring. Even our best-laid plans can go awry, and the unexpected can happen in a second.  Having a business plan prepares your company for those moments you didn’t expect, as well as creating a solid framework for major projects. A business plan should contain financial expectations, including projected costs and a buffer for unexpected financial demands, plus a clear description of what your company will accomplish over the coming year.  All of this helps prepare your business for changes and growth.

Having a business plan can also help with securing a loan. Lenders often use business plans to understand how loan funds will be used and how your business plans to generate cash for loan repayment. While not necessary for every loan application, a business plan will always make the process easier, as all the essential information will be compiled and ready.

Conduct a competitive analysis

A competitive analysis identifies your business’ strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities relative to your top competitors. This analysis should provide an understanding of how your existing and potential customers rate both you and your competition, what your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses are, and how you can best compete for the attention of your niche market.

Your competitive analysis should look at the service or product line up, pricing, website, brand strategy, social media presence, business model, and a client list of your competitors. Identify where your competitors are succeeding and how you can adapt your strategies to start outpacing them.

Review your business credit

If you feel like you will need to get a business loan or to apply for a business credit card, remember to check your business credit score. Somewhat like your personal credit score, a business score is based on payment information from sources such as vendors, banks, data-gathering trade associations, and business credit card issuers.  Business scores differ from personal scores on how they are ranked. While most personal scores are ranked from 300-850 a business score is ranked from 0-100.

A good business credit score can help with lowering insurance payments, as well securing larger loans. Many loans that don’t require collateral will require a strong score.

If your credit is low, or not where you would like it to be, now is the time to work towards improving it. You can improve your business credit in a number of ways, including timely bill payment, managing the ratio between available and used credit, and disputing any errors or inquiries.

Hone your goals and vision

Identifying exactly what you want to accomplish in 2019 is the first step in preparing for the new year. Your goals and vision should be precise. Do you want to grow your business, or expand your current real estate holdings? Or are you looking to start a new endeavor? Understanding what your goals are is essential for determining what each step of the process needs to be for achieving them.

It’s easy to get bogged down in day-to-day operations and neglect strategic planning.  If you want to grow and further your business in the new year you can start now with simple steps. Being prepared before the calendar turns can ease the process and help you stay on track.

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