As year-end approaches, business owners often get pulled in many directions. In the retail sector, this is when sales typically peak. This finds many business owners working more hours in their shops while spending the little free time remaining readying for the holidays and gathering together with family and friends. What can be forgotten in the midst of the season’s hustle and bustle is the critical task of business planning for the upcoming year. Even a small amount of planning in the following areas can provide your business with a roadmap for success.
1. Create a Performance Plan: Start by assessing performance for all aspects of your business. Do your employees have skills gaps? Identifying and discussing areas they can improve adds value to your company. It is imperative to have key performance indicators (KPI) for your business. Some commonly used KPI’s are sales growth, inventory turns, individual employee sales, profit margins, and discounts. You’ll want to set goals for each of these areas in addition to knowing how you’ll measure this performance. Many of these items can be found on the Management Dashboard Report in PawnMaster.
2. Create a Financial Plan: Every business should go into the new-year with a comprehensive budget in place. Budgets are imperative to ensure your business is staying on track and meeting goals. Take the time to really look at each line on your financial statement. If you are new to budgeting, using prior year sales and expenses will provide you with a starting point. Are there certain months of the year that revenues dip? Determine now how you plan to drive sales during your slower seasons. Review each of your expenses. Make sure to keep your expectations realistic and attainable. If you have store managers or supervisors, getting them involved in the budget process helps create accountability for store performance.
3. Create a Marketing Plan: A solid marketing plan can help drive sales. Some items to consider: Who is your target audience? What platforms are available for reaching your ideal customers? As technology has evolved over the years, so have the advertising mediums available to you. According to the Pew Research Center, 95% of US adults own a cell phone and 77% of those are carrying smartphones. This means you have the ability to reach 3 out of 4 prospective customers any time and place. Are you utilizing text messaging to reach your customers with marketing promotions? Are you listing inventory online to sell more quickly? Make sure you’ll have the ability to track return on investment for your marketing initiatives. This will help you make sure you get the most for your money.
4. Create a Growth Plan: Think about where you’d like to see your business go in the coming year and create an action plan to achieve this. Research tools available to help you attain the growth you want. Do you want to drive recurring sales amongst your existing customers? Try the PawnMaster Customer Loyalty Points module. Are you looking to add a new location? If so, are you setting aside enough money now to fund this venture? Do you know what time of year to find the best real estate deals? By planning ahead, you can take advantage of opportunities when they come available or create your own.
5. Utilize your Resources: Data Age is more than “just” a software vendor. Collectively, the Data Age team has over 200 years’ experience assisting pawnbrokers. We are a one-stop solution for software, training, marketing, consulting, educational content, and the tools you need to put your business in the best possible position for success.