New Year, New Start

This is the perfect time to review your business plan, analyze what’s working and set new goals

January marks the start of not only a new year, but a new decade. There’s something very refreshing and “clean slate” about Jan. 1, 2020.

The beginning of a new calendar year is the time many people put new goals and habits into action. And the more motivated among us may keep those habits for more than a couple weeks.

Even if ringing in the new year is barely a blip on your radar, it’s not a bad idea to take this time to set some goals for your business. But no matter how motivated you are or how ambitious you want your goals to be for this year — or the next 10 years — you do yourself a disservice if you don’t first do some honest reflection about how things are going.

As a business owner, you have your finger on the pulse of your company year-round. At the same time, getting bogged down in the day-to-day work and short-term results can make you lose sight of the big picture.

You should have a business plan that outlines your goals and a clear path for where your business is headed. That plan is the blueprint that guides your whole operation. The problem is when the plan no longer reflects reality.

January is a good time to go over your business plan if you haven’t done so recently and to make sure it still represents the direction you want your business to go. (In case you missed it, the November 2019 issue contains a Money Manager article that is a great guide to updating a business plan. It can also be found online, titled “Why Your Business Plan Needs to Be Updated.”)

This is also the perfect time to try something new. If you’ve been thinking about making some changes to your marketing strategy or doing some research on a new service, now is the time. Even if it’s something you can’t immediately implement, you can outline a plan to reference throughout the year to keep yourself on track.

While trying out new ideas is never a bad thing, sometimes it just doesn’t work out.

For example, DrainPro, the Baltimore-based company featured in this issue, started out with zero marketing. Pat Martin, general manager, and Melissa Martin, his wife and a co-owner of the company, drummed up business solely by pitching their services directly to plumbing companies. They use only unmarked vehicles and handle work that plumbers don’t have the equipment to do.

Four years in, they decided to give traditional advertising a try. They saw an increase in call volume, which led to hiring more employees. But all those added expenses weren’t worth it when their call-closing ratio took a hit. So the Martins went back to their original plan and have stuck with it ever since.

So if your goals for the year include some new ventures, don’t be afraid to give it a shot. And even if it doesn’t work out, that doesn’t necessarily mean you failed. Maybe it just means you were right the first time.

I hope you enjoy this month’s issue.


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