What’s the old saying – the early bird catches the worm? I think it’s true for agencies too.
Now is the time when many forward-thinking firms are beginning to start their planning for 2010. I’ve already begun to work with firms on their next year’s plan.
I am going to give you six key strategies that will guarantee you a successful 2010 (full disclosure: I cannot fix the economy but I am confident it is improving) and here’s the first.
Strategy 1: Critically Assess 2009
It is extremely important that before you start your 2010 planning you take a critical assessment of 2009. Put the economic issues aside for this. What did you learn about your agency?
Review the following:
• Time management and staff billability. Are you meeting industry benchmarks? Are you spending your time working on your business not just in your business? Where can you be morfe efficient? What did you neglect in 2009 that you won;t tolerate in 2010?
• Process improvement. Where can you improve your internal processes? What's not working well?
• Financial data. Are you getting the right reports to help you understand your P&L, running rates, monthly revenue against budget, accounts receivables, etc?
• Standards of excellence. Do you have them – both internal and external? Does your staff adhere to them? What must you do differently in 2010 to make these standards the basic fabric of your business?
• Management team. Are you satisfied with their performance? Do you need to make changes? Does the team really help you run your agency effectively? What do you need them to do differently next year?
• Staffing. Where do you need to upgrade staff? What new positions might you need to establish?
• Services. What new services, capabilities, or expertise do you need to add to keep your firm on the forefront of trends in your business or improve your offering to clients?
• Marketing and business development. How effective was your agency marketing and business development programs? What do you need to do to improve them?
Don’t drink your own Kool Aid! Look at these and other issues with a critical eye as you start to plan for a great 2010.