Business planning


19th July, 2022

How to plan smarter in the new financial year

With one financial year coming to a close it’s a great time to ramp up business planning activities to make certain the year ahead will be a success.

New financial year? Time for new ideas.

In uncertain economic times and with competition across all industry sectors at an all time high, now’s not the time to be complacent.

Thorough business planning should occur periodically and if you’ve just completed your EOFY tasks, now’s the time to turn your eyes to the future.

Developing a business plan for the new year is a great way to learn from past mistakes, adapt to new technological advances, and pivot where needed.

5 core elements of an innovative business plan

Having a business plan is a vital foundation for every business. But the quality of the business plan can have a significant impact on a company’s success – and treading the same old path can lead to the same old outcomes.

Here’s how innovative managers will approaching their business planning activities to inject fresh ideas – and create a strategy that will take their business to the next level.

READ: Mid-market businesses “primed for progress” throughout FY23

1. Involve your whole team

While business planning is a management task, it must be connected to what’s happening on the ground in your business. And the best way to do that is to engage employees from the beginning.

Leadership team members might not work directly with customers day-to-day or at the front line of operations, so they aren’t always seeing the challenges and opportunities that employees do. Involving them will unearth planning insights, while also giving them more ownership over the final strategy.

This will mean they’re more likely to engage and run with it.

2. Evaluate products and services to find ways to innovate

It’s great to look back at the year gone and see which products or services made the biggest difference to the customer. Is there a way to improve on hero products? Could you replace the least popular products with new and innovative ones?

Start by outlining the market and all main competitors. Are there any gaps in the market? Have similar brands started offering something new that customers are responding to? How can you create something original and valuable, too?

We suggest looking at data to build new prototypes or offerings around customer needs and feedback.

3. Analyse your previous year

There’s nothing like hindsight to get a clear idea of what went wrong and how to do better.

This is the time to take a good hard look at the wins and failures of the past year, so you’re better placed to plan for the year ahead.

What was the overall customer feedback, employee retention, product success, or process efficiency? Where is there room for improvement?

Brainstorm with the entire team to see if they’ve spotted improvements that may have otherwise been missed.

4. Forecast your cashflow

Estimating cashflow for the upcoming year is essential. All the strategy and planning mean nothing if there isn’t enough money to pay the bills.

How much is available to invest in new technology, new projects, and new staff? If you find there’s not enough cash left over to grow, you could use the business plan to find a new investment.

5. Create a digital-first strategy

To stay competitive, businesses need to make sure they’re constantly upgrading to the latest technologies. For example, cloud-based integrated business software such as MYOB Business for smaller operations, or the MYOB Advanced suite for larger ones.

A single, unified platform that allows you to track financial data helps you manage and grow your business more easily by uncovering valuable insights that drive decision-making.

To ensure essential technology continues to be introduced at the optimal time, companies should adopt a digital-first strategy. This is not just about buying tech – first you need to ensure that the company culture is there to support it.

Aim to lead, not follow

With a clear vision and motivated employees, a company is better placed to achieve big goals and retain a leadership position.

With the ultimate goal being to increase revenue, a good plan will keep you one step ahead, no matter what’s happening in the market.

This is the time to shake up the core business and forward plan for new projects. By taking a more innovative approach to your business planning this financial year, your company will be better positioned to succeed.