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BUSINESS: Planning For


The Year Ahead by Tatiana Hitchen


Now that the current financial year is well underway and you have a taste of some of the current challenges and opportunities affecting your business, it is a great time to look ahead to where you want to be in the next financial year. A thorough audit of your business and a rigorous plan might sound uninspiring, but it can help you to realise your dreams.


SMART-thinking


A cheesy but nonetheless useful device is the mnemonic SMART: your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-focused. Maybe


you


would like to boost your customer base by 50%, increase revenue by 15%, have your products stocked at 15 markets and shops, or even take


71 | ukhandmade | Winter 2011


your retail online. Recognition, too, is a valuable means of cementing your brand, so perhaps you would like to have your work featured in a newspaper or magazine article, or publicly recommended by 20 different people. Are these SMART, pie in the sky, or undemanding and unrewardingly low goals?


Get Organised Consider how you will get what you want. Every goal will have a number of specific steps – work backwards and write down each stage. If you want to make more money in this year, ask:


• Where it will come from: more customers? • How will you reach those customers? • Can you get the right quantities of


your products ready in time? • How will you produce more? • How will you get the raw materials for what you are producing? • Do you have the money to buy those materials, and if not, how will you get it?


Take a look at everything you do now – your suppliers, contacts, distribution, marketing – and ask yourself, “Is this going to get me to my goal?”.


You should also go through all of your financial information and see where money is going out and coming from. You might find that you can make big savings in some areas and boost your revenue in others. Be ruthless. Every penny spent is one less for the bottom line figure. Then ask, “Is this enough to


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