Annual Business Planning Checklist | Prepare for Next Year
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Begin Next Year’s Business Plans Now

Even though your overall business models shouldn’t change too frequently, there are some areas of your business that should be reevaluated annually. While there are aspects that can (and should) be addressed on an ongoing basis, the end of each year is a great time to check in with  your processes and strategies to determine if they are still helping you achieve your business goals. Below are some examples.

Reexamine Your Ideal Customer

Chances are, you have target consumer research for your business. But that research doesn’t hold much value if it’s not up to date. Taking a step back to complete a high-level evaluation of how your current customers behave can shed a lot of insight on who you should be targeting. And if you find that your targeting does still ring true, try to think of more ways you can reach your target customer more effectively in the coming year.

Check on Competitors

Ideally, you should be doing this more frequently than just once a year, but take the year’s end as a reminder to dig into some research of how your business stacks up against the competition. There are many great online tools that assist with competitor research, from providing insights into paid advertising habits to brand awareness. By establishing this annual routine, you’ll ensure that you understand the industry and its trends so that you can make informed, strategic decisions for the next year.

Identify New Opportunity Potential

Are there any markets you haven’t tapped into yet? Any new products or services it’d make sense to explore this year? Take the opportunity to make some goals and maybe even spark some innovation!

Implement Internal Changes

The New Year is a great time for fresh starts and new initiatives. Which means the end of the year should be focused on identifying areas of improvement by offering employee surveys or suggestion boxes. Try to find any internal processes that can be streamlined or software in need of an upgrade.

Create a New Budget

Identify any major expenses coming up or areas where you might need to make up some ground. How is your cash flow? Do you need to make any capital improvements this year? Updating your budget annually is one of the most important things you can do for your business.

Create a New Schedule

Depending on what type of business you are, you likely have project or task-based schedules. But it’s always good to come up with calendar goals for your internal processes as well. It’s not enough to just have goals—by mapping out those goals on a calendar, you’ll be far more likely to achieve them. Outline your milestone goals based on progress from the past year/s.


Because each new year is a chance to start fresh, it makes sense to spend the final few months examining areas of improvement. Once you know what needs to be done, set up actionable plans to help you reach your goals on schedule and within budget. Starting your analysis and planning early will ensure that you’ll stay organized and on track to reach a healthy and sustainable future for your business.

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