Whether you are celebrating because it's a new start, or because it's the end of last year, you need to understand that just thinking and talking about making your business better in 2014 isn't enough. Yesterday we covered a little about resolutions, now we are going to talk about planning and execution.
You need a business plan. There's an old saying that if you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else. Start with something simple. If you don't have a clue where to start a business plan, we have published several articles that can help you that are listed at the end of today's article. You also can contact your local small business administration office, ask your tax prep person or CPA, or seek out help at the local Better Business Bureau or your state or community college's agriculture or business school.
Understand your past to better profit in the future. While you are gathering information to file your 2013 taxes is a great time to delve a little deeper into your business. Don't think you know where your profit is coming from, figure it out! You might be surprised to find out where the highest percentage of profit comes from in your business.
Set goals. You need to set business goals in order to have something to strive for. Horse folks for the most part are competitive; so look at it as keeping score. Do you want to make more money? How much more? From what profit center of your business? What are you going to do with the "more" that you want to make? Is it enough to put in that new indoor? Take a trip? Add a new cross-country course?
Benchmark where you are in your business. If you want to earn enough to put in a new indoor arena, have you set monthly goals of how much you need to set aside so you can break ground in March of 2015? You should at least have monthly budget reconciliations so you know where you have been and the trend of where you are going. And those budgets should be compared not only to the month before, but the same time period last year and your goals. If you are way ahead of your monthly and and year-to-date (YTD) financial goals, then you might need to re-evaluate your end goal and perhaps you can break ground for your new indoor in December 2014! If you are behind on your financial goals, then you need to know why you haven't met your benchmarks, determine if you can do anything about "catching up" with those goals, or you need to set different goals that are more realistic to your current circumstances.
Reward yourself when you accomplish goals. You should "reward, recognize and celebrate" small and large accomplishments. That can be as simple as treating yourself to an ice cream or a weekend off, or as big as building that new barn or arena.
May you have lofty goals and reach all of them in 2014!