How Should a Business Prepare for Next Year?
Just as you’d be foolish to take a long car trip without mapping out your drive in advance, operating your business without a plan doesn’t make sense if you want to arrive successfully at increased profits. Creating an annual plan requires a mix of strategic and tactical planning based on a review of your past performance and projections for the future.
Don’t wait until December or after the first of the year to create next year’s business plan. Many of your partners and suppliers begin making their budgets in the fall, tying up money they could have spent on activities with you. Begin your planning for the coming year after your third-quarter results are in. At the very latest, start your planning well before people start taking off for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Review This Year’s Results
Look at your income and expenses for the current year, reviewing your budget with a variance analysis. If your numbers differed from your projections, find out why. Review your sales reports by more than just gross volumes and revenues. Look at which products or services did best, which locations generated the most sales and what marketing efforts generated the most return. In addition to reviewing your numbers, discuss with your management team their thoughts on why you performed the way you did.
Have your management team create projections for next year based on doing the same things you did this year before you start considering new ideas for next year. Ask your sales team to give their best estimates for the coming year if your operations and the market stay generally the same. Review the likelihood that your customers will buy more or less from you, whether you think your expenses will increase or decrease and if your competitors, customer preferences or new technologies will change your marketplace. After you’ve run this analysis, discuss how you can do things differently. Look at the effects of a cost-containment effort, new promotional strategies, changing your distribution and raising or lowering your prices.
Create Your Budget
Once you’ve projected your sales and expenses for the coming year based on your discussion with management, create a detailed master budget that includes your income and expense projections, a cash flow statement, cash reserves and credit availability estimates, debt-service numbers, profit-and-loss statement and balance sheet. Look at your estimated year-end profit and determine if it’s adequate or if you need to lower your costs, reduce debt or increase sales targets. Don’t forget to review your potential tax burden, calculating the effects of any tax laws, and consider tax strategies to help reduce your burden.
Once you have a detailed analysis of how your company might perform next year, barring any significant, unforeseen disruptions, discuss your financial and operational ability to expand your business. Consider adding a new product or service, opening another location, adding distribution channels such as online selling, increasing your marketing or diversifying into a new market. Calculate the costs to do each, analyze the risk/reward ratio and determine what you can afford to do. Use the amount of money you can afford to lose without seriously damaging your business as your low-end benchmark and your profit potential as your high-end target.
Make Your Commitments
After you’ve reviewed your past performance, made your projections, created your budget and discussed options for new business development, create your plan for the coming year. Have each department head prepare an annual plan and operating budget for you to review and approve. Create benchmarks that alert you when you’re underperforming to help trigger automatic responses, such as reducing spending, arranging for more credit or exiting failed marketing strategies.
10 Tips for Successful Business Networking
Want to make your business networking more effective? Here are 10 networking tips to keep in mind.
Effective business networking is the linking together of individuals who, through trust and relationship building, become walking, talking advertisements for one another.
- Keep in mind that networking is about being genuine and authentic, building trust and relationships, and seeing how you can help others.
- Ask yourself what your goals are in participating in networking meetings so that you will pick groups that will help you get what you are looking for. Some meetings are based more on learning, making contacts, and/or volunteering rather than on strictly making business connections.
- Visit as many groups as possible that spark your interest. Notice the tone and attitude of the group. Do the people sound supportive of one another? Does the leadership appear competent? Many groups will allow you to visit two times before joining.
- Hold volunteer positions in organizations. This is a great way to stay visible and give back to groups that have helped you.
- Ask open-ended questions in networking conversations. This means questions that ask who, what, where, when, and how as opposed to those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. This form of questioning opens up the discussion and shows listeners that you are interested in them.
- Become known as a powerful resource for others. When you are known as a strong resource, people remember to turn to you for suggestions, ideas, names of other people, etc. This keeps you visible to them.
- Have a clear understanding of what you do and why, for whom, and what makes your doing it special or different from others doing the same thing. In order to get referrals, you must first have a clear understanding of what you do that you can easily articulate to others.
- Be able to articulate what you are looking for and how others may help you. Too often people in conversations ask, “How may I help you?” and no immediate answer comes to mind.
- Follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given. When people give you referrals, your actions are a reflection on them. Respect and honor that and your referrals will grow.
- Call those you meet who may benefit from what you do and vice versa. Express that you enjoyed meeting them, and ask if you could get together and share ideas.
This education moment was presented by Julia Cummings of Crafted 4 You. Julia can be reached at (520) 365-7000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay Safe Around Lightning
By Mike Bartoletti, Licensed Electrician, CMB Development
Facts About Lightning
All that energy travels along a path about as wide as a thumb!
The streamer can travel up through a building, a tree, or even a person, which can be fatal. Lightning kills about 2,000 people a year, so stay inside during lightning storms.
How hot is a lightning bolt? Only about 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit-roughly five times hotter than the surface of the sun!
The average striking length of a regular lightning is about 2 to 3 miles and carries electricity of nearly I 00 million volts.
Lightning flashes more than 3 million times a day worldwide-that’s about 40 times a second. Not all those flashes hit the ground-some happen between or inside clouds.
Why do you see lightening first and then hear the thunder? Light (670,616,629 mph) travels faster than sound (760 mph) and that’s why lightning strike can be seen first and then the thunder can be heard. It is because of this speed difference between light and sound that it is actually possible to calculate the distance of storm.
If you start counting the instant you see the flash of lightning, every second is equal to approximately .2 of a mile.
Safety and Lightning
Phone use is the leading cause of indoor lightning injuries in the United States. Lightning can travel long distances in both phone and electrical wires, particularly in rural areas.
Do not lie on the concrete floor of a garage as it likely contains a wire mesh. In general, basements are a safe place to go during thunderstorms. However, avoid contact with. concrete walls, which may contain metal reinforcing bars.
Avoid washers and dryers, since they not only have contacts with the plumbing and electrical systems but also contain an electrical path to the outside through the dryer vent.
Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords. If you plan to unplug any electronic equipment, do so well before the storm arrives.
Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes, and do not do laundry.
Victims of lightning do not retain the charge and are not “electrified.” It is safe to help them. Rubber shoes will not give you any meaningful protection from lightning.
Lightning can, and often does, strike in the same place twice. Tall buildings and monuments are frequently hit by lightning.
A motor car with a metal top can offer you some protection-but keep your hands from the metal sides.
An umbrella can increase your chances of being struck by lightning if it makes you the tallest object in the area.
Always avoid being the highest object or taking shelter near or under the highest object including tall trees. Avoid being near a lightning rod or standing near metal objects such as a fence or underground pipes.
For more information about lightning or anything electrical, contact Mike Bartoletti, CMB Development, at (520) 850-7722.
Appraising Property can be done three ways:
- Cost Approach
- Income Approach and
- Comparable sales.
The latter is used in most residential appraisals. As I Realtor for well over 30 years, I always feel that there is no exact number, but rather a range to determine price, or value.
If I had three different appraisers come out to a property, they usually come up with three different values. However, each appraisal will all fall into my range.
The Buyer will actually determine the real value when they make an offer. But there are other things in an offer that can make that sales price vary, such as a Home Warranty, Closing Costs, HOA Fees, GVR Fees, etc. Depending upon who pays these fees can alter the sales price—kind of like trading dollars.
So when buying or selling a home in the future, remember the factors that go into an appraisal and a home’s value.
Stu Samovitz is a realtor with Home Smart Pros with more than 30 years of experience. If you need assistance with valuing your home, or deciding if it’s better to buy, sell or not, contact Stu at:
Stu Samovitz, Home Smart Pros