Set yourself up with an achievable financial plan for 2023

As the year draws to a close, business owners all over Ireland are thinking about how getting organised in Q4 could set them up for success in 2023. No matter what the size of your organisation, spending some time now to get the planning process up and running will reap rewards in the next financial year. It is easy to overcomplicate these things – but here at Pinnaklo, we find it helps to follow a simple 4-step process.

Step 1 – Think Strategically

The starting point is the “big picture” thinking about what you want your business to look like in the short, medium, and long term. Picture the scale, shape and output you want to achieve – be bold, but realistic.

Carry out a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) for your business as it is now– what are the weaknesses you need to improve on, and the strengths you can capitalise on?

Do you need more staff? How are you going to grow and what are your resourcing requirements? Now is the time to think about the investments you might want to make in your business – that could be new machinery, new premises, or any new equipment – fixed assets which you can depreciate over time. Also, consider whether you need to make any improvements to your existing premises or vehicles for your fleet.

Step 2 – funding requirements

Aside from your local bank or credit provider, it is also worth exploring potential grant funding to support your blue-sky thinking- there are many opportunities for grant funding from different agencies across Ireland. Grants are a very useful source of funding to help you explore new business opportunities, provide working capital to support the implementation of your business plan, or provide funding for you to develop specific business opportunities. Local Enterprise and Enterprise Ireland have funds available to help businesses transform digitally, support capital expansion, and spark innovation and growth. At this stage of the planning process, consider all the funding opportunities available to your business. Remember you cannot grow without investing.

Step 3 – Goal setting

Working with your senior management team, share your thoughts on the big picture and ask them what they think – where do they think the business should invest to support growth and improvement to the business? Set your goals and objectives around the high-level blue-sky aspirations whilst remembering “Rome wasn’t built in a day ” so it may be a multi-year plan you come up with. What’s important at this stage is you align as a team on where the focus should be, along with a rough costing estimate – which gives you a sense of what is achievable. Then you can agree as a group on the final set of goals.

Step 4 – Define your final objectives and budget

The final step in the planning process is to distil all this research and business goal-setting into a concrete set of measurable objectives with a final budget.

Example objectives could include setting targets on sales or revenue, profitability levels, sustainability goals or plans to launch a new product or system.

In the final plan, these should be fully costed, with measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) set for each objective again, and regular reporting milestones set (these could be monthly, or quarterly).

And finally, it’s essential that you communicate those agreed goals and objectives across the business to make sure everyone is aligned and pulling in the same direction.

Spending the time before the end of the year planning and setting objectives and budgets means your business will have a clear guide for action and performance in the new year – setting yourself up for success.