The days are shorter and the warmth is fading. The cricket set has retired to the shed with the Sherrin now waiting for a moment of sunshine. The barbecue cover is on. The forgotten winter wardrobe of boots and trenchcoats is rediscovered. Summer has definitely ended and so has the ‘boom times’ (so the economists keep saying). But it’s no time to let your business fall asleep. Let me tell you why now is the most important time of the year!

May and June is the time for business planning and budgeting, ready for a new start in the upcoming financial year. This is the time to work out where you’ve been, what has worked and what hasn’t. More importantly, it’s where you work out where you want to go, write your strategy, and plan your activities. Don’t just keep on keeping on. Use this time to reflect, plan, and visualise your goals.

If nothing else, at this point each year you should review your business plan and your marketing strategy (if you have one). Grab a cuppa, find a comfy couch and take a small refresher course on your business. Are you on track? Do you need to update your planning documents? Have you reached any of your goals?

From this process should come the setting of your next financial year’smarketing budget. Think not only of what you can afford to spend, but what growth you intend to have and what investment you are willing to make. If you simply spend what you did last year, you can only expect to maintain where you are. Base your budget on tomorrow’s dollar, not yesterdays.

An excellent way for you to plan how to spend your marketing budget is with a promotional plan, which I’d recommend as an essential annual planning document for any business. We prepare such plans for many of our clients which balances planned and contingency amounts as well as internal and external marketing activities (if you don’t know what I mean here, refer to my previous blog about ‘shoe-string budgets’). A promotional plan keeps you on track and always focused on your strategic goals, rather than an ad-hoc marketing approach that could see a lot of expenditure for little return. You can also adequately prepare for events or special occasions (i.e. a special advertising program surrounding Mothers Day). A promotional plan is also cost effective. Our fees are relevant to your capacity, budget and business size, which sets the cost at a realistic level for any business. If you’d like to know more, feel free to contact me.

Don’t let the words ‘planning’ and ‘budgeting’ scare you into hibernation for the winter. Talk to us about how you can make them your friends and I can guarantee that the results will show the difference!