Most business owners I meet begin planning out the following year around early to mid-October and will wrap up their planning by early to mid-November This planning can include everything from forecasting Labor Had Counts, developing a budget for the year, etc.
By not setting goals, you will go nowhere. If you have been in business for at least a couple of years, you will be able to pull on historical financial data to develop accurate forecasts to help propel your business forward. A great tool that I recommend for established businesses is Fathom. This platform integrates directly with both Quick Books Online and Xero and provides a treasure trove of information. A favorite feature of mine on here allows you to benchmark against other companies in the industry that you operate in. By using this information you can see where you are underperforming and outperforming your competition. Using this information, you can make more informed business decisions next year as well as make a more informed budget.
If you are starting out, the first 18–24 months in your business will be a little unpredictable in terms of financial performance and there will be little to no financial data to provide information. Your main goal should be to establish a sales base, one preferably with a recurring revenue model to guarantee revenue for your products and/or services. One issue that you will have to look out for with a recurring revenue model is creep. If you don’t watch this closely and consistently, you could have a big problem on your hands.
After you establish a baseline revenue model, it would be a good idea to write down exactly how many customers you need to achieve “X” goal in 2017. For most of us, that goal will be some monetary figure. For example, if you currently have no customers and your primary goal is to be generating $10,000 a month by December 31, 2017; you will need to work backward to determine how much work you will need to do to reach that goal. Assuming you use a recurring revenue model, and each customer pays you $400 per month, you will need to acquire a little more than 2 clients per month to reach that goal. After you are established, the tool mentioned earlier will continue to help you grow and help point out any areas that your business can improve upon.