December 3, 2013

Now is the time to start planning out your 2014 year.

What do you want to accomplish? Are there specific sales goals you are looking for? Maybe you are looking to raise the average cash register ring or to reduce employee turnover.  Or, maybe you are looking to obtain more customers. Or, you might possibly want to accomplish all of these things.

Whatever your specific goals are, now is the time to sit down and get them on paper. 

A good rule of thumb is to take some time in a quiet area to complete this task. After all, this is the activity that will carry your store throughout the whole year.

You will first want to reflect on this past year and list out the things that you think you did poorly. Also list the things that you wanted to accomplish this past year but didn’t quite get a chance to. And finally, pat yourself on the back and list out those things that you did very well.

Now, next to the list of things that you wanted to complete, but didn’t quite get a chance to, write out what resources and other things you will need to get them accomplished for this upcoming year. Be sure to add your new goals for the upcoming year and do the same with these.

After completing this task, read back through your goals and make sure each of them is “SMART” (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely). This will ensure that your goals make sense. If they don’t fall into all of these categories, tweak them so that they do.

Don’t forget that now is also the time to plan out your marketing plan for 2014.

Chances are, some of the goals you listed above have something to do with marketing your store. Remember, that one of the main components of a marketing plan is a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis, and you should be completing one for your store at least yearly.

As part of this process, be sure that you are in tune to what your competitors are doing. You do not want to fall out of touch of your competitive environment.

Make sure that you are looking at your competitors down the road as well as the dotcoms. Anybody selling pet food and supplies should be considered a competitor. Once you have this SWOT and your list of goals complete, you are ready to write down some actions steps.

Be sure to give yourself a timeline for your action steps so that you can schedule in your tasks and hold yourself accountable for getting them complete. A good habit is to use a scheduling program like your Outlook calendar to schedule these tasks on.

After completing these few steps, you should now have a good plan to grow your business in 2014.

– Jessica Farina-Morris

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