As our calendar year speeds on through 2017, it is time to re-assess business goals and head strong into these last few months moving into the New Year. October officially marks the beginning of the 4th quarter and it’s a critical time to start planning for 2018.
A few questions to ask yourself as a business owner/manager:
- Where is your business at coming out of Quarter 3 and throughout the year?
- Where did you want to be?
- Did you hit your goals?
Throughout this article I will address a few of my recommendations on how to assess your 2017 business year and start preparing for a successful 2018.
First, you want to start by assessing yourself and your role to grow the business. One of my mentors once told me that
you can’t work on your business if you are always working in your business”.
This was game changing advice for me. I was working so hard in my fitness center every day that I wasn’t taking the time to step out of the day-to-day roles and work on growing the company from a business development standpoint. I soon adjusted my schedule and created “business development hours” during which I worked on growing the business. I recommend that you adjust your schedule to create structured time to spend on the business that will not be interrupted.
After assessing yourself, it is time to assess the business overall for 2017. Did you hit your goals? Memberships, training numbers, staffing, etc. Review your monthly and quarterly goals and see when you were successful and when you fell short. Although looking at our shortcomings can be something we want to avoid, it is extremely important in teaching us how to adjust our goals for the following year. Look at your staff, marketing, and sales strategies for each goal and takes notes on exactly what worked and what didn’t. We will come back to using these notes when we create our 2018 calendar.
Next, it’s time to create a differentiation plan for your business for 2018. Ask yourself this question; How am I going to differentiate my business from my competitors? Now, focus on the different departments that could have these differentiators to create a customer experience to grow your business. Front desk staff, Coaches, Trainers, Group Fitness Instructors, Maintenance, Sales Team, etc. Think of one way that each of these departments could offer a new service or experience that would enhance the customer experience.
Now that you have assessed yourself, the business, and created a new plan to differentiate the business, it’s time to create a calendar that applies these goals. I recommend putting up a large monthly calendar on the wall of your office if possible. I pinned up a calendar every month in my office this year and my business partner and I have had one of our most successful years. It gave us strong visuals to keep us on task each month/quarter. It also kept me from becoming overwhelmed when I could see everything broken down simply within each month.
Now, it’s time to create realistic goals based on what you learned from your 2017 assessment above and place these appropriately on the calendar. This will hold you accountable when it comes to reaching goals in 2018.
After the 2018 plan and calendar has been created, it is time to start working with your staff on the vision. Have staff meetings now that address the new structure, system, and goals for 2018 so they will be prepared. All questions and concerns can be addressed, instead of waiting until January when the business is busy and your schedule is full. Have staff training and education in this last quarter to be sure the staff is ready to start strong in January.
To recap, I recommend taking what you have learned from 2017 and creating a strategic plan to prepare for the results you want in 2018. Let’s get started in this last quarter so we do not fall behind the curve and optimize business growth in January. Using these steps can help you reach and or exceed your business goals!
Here are the steps in review:
1. Assess your current schedule and see if you can create new hours for business development to focus on growing the business.
2. Assess the overall business monthly and quarterly goals from the previous year and create new goals for the following year.
3. Create a list of how you will differentiate each department to create a better customer experience.
4. Build a large visual calendar that will have all goals and events that can be seen every day.
5. Start working with your staff in quarter 4 on new development plan and goals for 2018 so they are prepared before it starts.
Get a jump start on your 2018 goals with these tips from PJ Stahl.