Planning growth for your revenue or customer base means planning growth for the rest of your business as well…and doesn’t have to happen in January to work for you!

The weather has begun to cool and the kids are back in school, making me realize another year is coming to an end.  This is also the perfect time to start looking forward and planning for the new year before we enter the hectic holiday season. 

[EasyDNNnewsToken:Left Justify Embed 300 x 250] Annual planning for business growth is a key part of our success at My Maid Service.   Our annual plan allows us to hit the ground running, with everyone knowing exactly what we are aiming to achieve. In fact the first three months of the year are the most important ones because they set the tone for the full year.   A strong start will have everyone in your company feeling like they are on top of the world.  On the opposite side, starting the year with a big loss can create a funk for the entire year.  

1.    Have a Vision – An annual plan can help bring your company together.   You should have a clear vision and goal that everyone can get behind.   While a plan can have lots of details, you should be able to drive it down to no more than 3 simple ideas.  Get 300 clients.  Increase customer satisfaction to 95%.  

2.   Know Your Potential – It is hard to create a plan if you do not know how big your potential market is.   Use websites like the US Census to determine how many target customers there are in your service area.  How many of them do you have already?  I have seen companies with a less than 1% market share and over 70% market share.  If you have over 70% of the market, you know you will need to consider adding geographies or services to grow.  If you are 5% or under, you may want to tighten your service area and concentrate on growing your core business since you have so much upside potential in the market you are already in.

3.   Have a Plan B, C, and D – A good plan needs to be realistic, and in the real world things never go according to plan.  You need to build back-ups and margins of error into your plans.  For example, if you want to add 100 clients this year, build a marketing plan that will get you to 120 new clients.   That way if one thing misses your goal, the entire plan does not fall apart.  If you find you are coming in even better than planned, it is always easier to turn growth by stopping some advertising than trying to catch up once you discover you are behind.

4.   Look at the Entire Picture! – This is the most common mistake I see made.  Everyone wants to build a plan to grow sales, but a good annual plan should address all parts of your company.  How are you going to improve your systems?  How are you going to recruit better technicians and customer service staff?  How will you reduce costs?  In my company we try to build the business (grow sales), build the team (staff and training), and fine tune the machine (cut costs and improve processes). 

Once your plan is in place, be sure to use it all year round as a living document.  At My Maid Service, we take out our plan and review it once a month to make sure we are on the right path; if we aren’t, we make small course corrections.  Because we built plan B, C, and D right into our plan as back-ups from the start, we don’t even need to debate what to do.  We are behind, so it is time to activate plan B.   We do not lose time debating what to do.  So whether you develop a plan alone or as a team exercise, now is the perfect time to start working on your plans to make 2014 the best year ever for your company.

Derek Christian is the owner of My Maid Service with locations in Cincinnati, OH and Dallas, TX, as well as a business coach through Cleaning Business Builders and publisher of  Derek is now an investor in several cleaning companies including My Maid Service Dayton and Real World Services Columbus.  Derek is also a consultant for industry leaders Marvelous Maids and Castle Keepers.