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How will 2018 be different for you? A Blog With 88 Questions to plan your way to a successful 2018!

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Supposedly Benjamin Franklin is attributed this quote. Planning To Fail What do you think? Is that fair? Do we have to plan if we wish to succeed? I mean can’t we just have a general idea and wing the rest? The fact is, we as human beings are always planning. It’s in our nature. The question is – how deeply do we plan? Have we truly calculated the costs to obtain the victory we intend to obtain this year? When I think of planning I often think of the Bible verse,  “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” Total Questions in Blog Read So Far: 8 (includes blog title.) Costs The next few verses go on to say,“For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.” I think of these verses every time I pass an uncompleted building on a well-known highway in Florida. It’s properly nicknamed the “The eyesore of I-4”. I’ll give you one guess on which road it sits next to. So, have you made any plans for 2018? Are you going to crush it with your business? I’m going to rapid-fire a bunch of questions. If you haven’t answered these questions, or haven’t answered them at a deep level, perhaps it’s time to do so. Total Questions in Blog Read So Far: 11 Questions to ask yourself: How? How are you going to market yourself? How are you going to be differentiated from the competition? How are you going to pull it off with your current funds/resources? How are you going to measure results? How are you going to make sure the leads you generate get responded to quickly? How are you going to ensure quality standards are met? How are you going to manage customer complaints? How are you going to build a great company culture? How are you going to scale? How are you going to find your new talent? Who? Who is on your team? Who shouldn’t be on your team? Who are you grooming/training to move forward to a new role this year? Who is going to be your mentor? Who is your greatest asset? (Cheat Sheet: The Answer is yourself!) Who do you trust? Who is going to take care of the responsibilities you’re not talented at completing? Who is going to keep you accountable to your goals? What? What are you offering your customers? What do you really want to do with your life? (Is this it?) What gets you up in the morning? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What are your opportunities? What are your threats? (Congratulations! You’ve just completed a SWOT analysis with those last four questions). When? When are you going to start? When is the busy season for your business? When is the slow season for your business? When should you hire? When will you have the funds needed? Where? Where will you be located? Where are your customers? Where are good employees? Where can you get additional financing if you need it? Where will your product come from? Where will new customers discover you? Where will past/current customers talk about you? Where are you going with your business as a whole? Why? Why are you in this business to begin with? Why do you want to be in this particular business? Why do your customers need what you have to offer? Why will your customers pick you? The above has taken you through a pretty good exercise of answering quite a few questions related to you and your business. There are always more questions to be answered. Total Questions in Blog Read So Far: 60 (yes, includes the headline question marks) What are you not asking yourself, that you should be asking yourself? A very important tool I introduced above was the SWOT analysis I added in the “What” category.I’m going to provide you two more tools to use when analyzing your plan for 2018. These will be especially useful if you’re starting a brand-new venture. If you have already started your business, or have been running your business for a long-time, they may still be useful to revisit. Tool #1 – Porter’s Five Forces: “What are ‘Porter’s Five Forces’ you may ask?” Definition: Porter’s Five Forces is a model that identifies and analyzes five competitive forces that shape every industry, and helps determine an industry’s weaknesses and strengths. Frequently used to identify an industry’s structure to determine corporate strategy, Porter’s model can be applied to any segment of the economy to search for profitability and attractiveness.
  1. Competition in the industry.
  2. Potential of new entrants into the industry.
  3. Power of suppliers.
  4. Power of customers.
  5. Threat of substitute products.
If you want to learn more about Porter’s Five Forces and how to apply this tool read here: Total Questions in Blog Read So Far: 62   Tool #2 – PESTEL Analysis “What is a PESTEL Analysis?” Definition: “A PESTEL analysis is a framework or tool used by marketers to analyze and monitor the macro-environmental (external marketing environment) factors that have an impact on an organization. The result of which is used to identify threats and weaknesses which is used in a SWOT analysis.” PESTEL stands for: P – Political E – Economic S – Social T – Technological E – Environmental L – Legal Political Factors: Are there any potential and/or recent changes in government policies/laws? Does this cause any threats? Does it produce any new opportunities? Will it help or hurt you in the short term? How about the long term? Economic Factors: How is the economy doing? Are consumers confident? Are they buying your services? What happens if the economy changes? How recession proof is your business? Social Factors: These involve “population growth, age distribution, health consciousness, and career attitudes.” How will this affect your marketing messaging? Does it? Technological Factors: Are there developing technologies that could help your business? How about hurt your business? Are you leading others in the adoption of new technology that will increase revenue, profits, or reduce costs? Environmental Factors: How will your business affect the environment? Are you leaving a better future for tomorrow? Are you using sustainable resources? Are there legal/social factors at play related to how your business affects the environment? Not only are governments looking for businesses to improve their impact, but consumers also desire to work with companyies that care for the long term health of the world. Legal factors: “Health and safety, equal opportunities, advertising standards, consumer rights and laws, product labelling, and product safety.”What legal factors should you be aware of? What items should your employees be aware of? How do these change your day-to-day operations? To learn More about a PESTEL Analysis and the breakdown of each section read here : Summary: Will you take the time to plan? To analyze? Or will you just wing it this year?It can be quite an undertaking, but the better you plan, the better prepared you will be to meet tomorrow’s challenges. Total Questions in Blog Read So Far: 87 Did you count all the questions? – Question #88
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