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New Year........New Plan

by Claire Martinsen on Wed 05th Jan 2011 10:24

I’ve been talking about it, planning it, and had the diary for it for AGES, and now finally we are actually in 2011.

For me, the New Year always heralds the start of a new plan.  It must have been all those years spent working in the world of big business, but the discipline of planning has always been drilled into me.    Its great to have a road path to follow, even though there will be variations to the plan throughout the year.

I know some people don’t like them, but honestly if you haven’t done a month on month, year on year forecast then have a go……its a great exercise for at least clarifying the shape and look of the year ahead. My personal preference is to have a plan at the outset of the year and then to do a re-plan in about May, when the year is shaping up a little more firmly in terms of trending!

I’m a huge fan of the website Inc – they are a fabulous resource for small businesses and entrepreneurs.  Their take on Forecasting is as follows:

‘Forecasting involves a little art, a little science, and would definitely be a lot easier with a very large crystal ball. How you forecast depends a lot on what industry you’re in, your company culture, and the number of variables that are just beyond your control. The good news: solid experience with forecasting sales in good times and bad should help everyone make more accurate predictions in the coming years’

So looks like I’ll be an expert in say – 2020?

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  • Forecasting is just a guess, the issue is you want to make it a somewhat educated guess. I think there are two types of businesses out there when you breakdown forecasting – (1) have fairly consistent sales throughout the year and (2) sales fluctuate on a cycle throughout the year. For the first, you can go with last year’s number and make a guess on what you’ll do in the future. For the second, you probably want to break it down monthly and then make that guess.But, just because you’ve put a forecast in place, doesn’t mean you are done. Make sure you have the strategies in place to reach your forecast. You can even have a base forecast and a stretch model. Either way, you can’t get to the finish line if you don’t have a road map on how to get there.

  • Masqueraider 12/17/2010 02:27 PM
    We believe that the key elements to consider in this area are as follows: macro trend info, the delivery of your marketing and engagement plans (you should always be able to forecast results of marketing/messaging efforts moving forward) and other factors, such as planned line extensions, new product launches/betas, acquisition plans, divestiture plans, capital improvements, etc.We recommend that, if a company is serious about this, they ask us to help them go through a “3D” success metrics identification process

    – the metrics have to be sold internally, and line up with ways that marketing and sales departments are financially motivated to increase their performance (i.e., you cannot bonus a sales person one way, and then measure success of the company in a completely different fashion)

    – the company’s various stakeholder groups and product/service silos need to be (temporarily) deconstructed to allow the organization to create “top-down” goals (vs. bottom up) and to investigate cross-sell/up-sell opportunities

    – the company’s portfolio of marketing, branding and “exposure” providers need to be managed by an “Integration Czar” who acts as a general contractor/lead resource in this area, breaks down territorial/competitive issues, and enables the portfolio of providers to play together like a symphony orchestra (vs. a group of musicians on Jam night who have never played nicely together)

    If this is done correctly/flawlessly, not only will company execs be better forecasters, but they will be able to better optimize their marketing and sales initiatives to meet/exceed their stated success metrics.

    Chuck Hirsch
    Masqueraider Marketing



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