Look Back as You Plan Ahead, Gail says….

Failing to plan, they say, is like planning to fail. Interior design professionals who don’t chart their course are unlikely to reach their destination. 

Gail Doby, one of the design industry’s premier business coaches, has some outstanding insights on how to make your 2019 plan. 

Read on….

As you may know, the month of January, which begins the new year, is named after the Roman god Janus.  Appropriately so, because Janus had two faces, one looking forward into the future and one looking backward into the past.  In doing your preparations for the coming year, keep that image of Janus in mind.  It will serve as a good guide to successful business planning.

Why two heads?  In order to get where you want to go, it helps to know where you’ve come from.  Before taking the next step, look back.  Start your planning by reviewing the business and marketing plans you made a year ago and how your business performed against them over the past year.  What worked well?  What didn’t work so well?  Try to determine why.  You don’t want to begin the new year repeating last year’s mistakes or continuing to follow unsuccessful strategies.  Plus, you’ll discover ways to improve your planning process.

In addition, set aside some time to review last year’s numbers.  Did you make your revenue and profit goals?  Did you grow your client base?  Were you able to manage your cash flow appropriately?  The numbers can tell you a lot about where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

The same applies to identifying any operational or organizational weaknesses or deficiencies that hampered you from achieving your goals.  Make a list of the things you want to stop doing or want to do differently to incorporate into the new plan.

Once you’ve finished your review, set the past aside.  For good or ill, 2018 is over and done with.  You can’t change it, so don’t dwell on it.  Use your second head to take a fresh look at your future opportunities and set a course for future growth.

A lot can change in a year.  How is the market shaping up for your services?  Do you anticipate revenue growth, more clients, more projects?  Or do you foresee a softening in demand?  If the former, what do you need to do now to position your firm to take advantage of new business?   If the latter, you can focus on other goals, such as enhancing your marketing efforts or moving into a different market or niche as a way to reposition your business for future growth.

Set yourself a few specific, realistic goals and targets.  I recommend no more than three or four to keep them manageable and achievable.  Create objective measures for each (e.g., amounts, percentages, milestones, deadlines) so you can assess your progress and stay on track during the year.

When it comes to planning, two heads really are better than one.  The past will give you a firm foundation on which to build the future.

Want to get a jumpstart on your planning for the new year?  Text FEES to 38470 to obtain a copy of my new Profit Maximizer Toolkit, including an exclusive Easy Client Fee Calculator, ideal client profile, and industry benchmarks.


Gail Doby, ASID is the co-founder of Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting.


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