2024 Kickoff: Your First Moves For A Business Breakthrough

Business owners have a golden opportunity to sculpt their success in 2024. Success is not luck or a ‘see what happens’ situation; it’s a follow through of pre-planned activities. This blog post is your guide to the strategic manoeuvers that will set the stage for a business breakthrough. 

It’s time to make your mark and propel your enterprise into a year of unparalleled triumphs. Here are three activities you can do to have the best year yet in your business:

1. Strategic Planning and Goal Setting

Strategic planning and goal setting at the year’s kickoff isn’t just a box to tick – it’s the secret sauce to kick your business into high gear. Clear, measurable goals are the GPS to success, aligning your team with a shared vision. Throw in some KPIs for good measure, and you’ve got a recipe for a year where you’re not just chasing dreams, but nailing them, one bold step at a time. 

Step 1: Reflect on the past year

Dive into the past year with a magnifying glass. Acknowledge and celebrate the victories to identify what made successes, and replicate them this year. Then pinpoint the hiccups and hurdles – whether it’s delays, tight budgets, or resource juggling – to learn the whys behind the setbacks.  This is where most business owners stop. But simply knowing what went wrong isn’t enough. Instead of just patting yourself on the back, turn this data into a playbook for the next game.

Step 2: Set SMART Goals

SMART goals aren’t just fluffy acronyms; they’re the heartbeat of a thriving business. Why wouldn’t you want to make the journey to your goals easier? 

  • Specific – Set goals that aren’t buried in ambiguity, so you walk into the office everyday knowing what you need to do. 
  • Measurable – How will you know you’ve met your goal? “Increase revenue” isn’t measurable, but if you add “by 30%”, you now have a trackable goal.
  • Achievable – You should be dreaming big in business, but balance your ambition with where you are and the timeframe in which you want to achieve this goal.
  • Relevant – set smaller goals that will help you move towards your vision for the future. If you want to grow your team, what do you need to achieve first to make that happen?
  • Time-bound – what is the deadline for the goal? Consider setting smaller goals quarterly and larger goals bi-annually or annually.

Step 3: Identifying Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Think project completion timelines, client satisfaction scores, and financial numbers. Think about metrics that matter to your specific goals. Setting benchmarks is about crafting a success definition that’s as clear as day. Regularly monitor and assess progress against these benchmarks to stay on track with your SMART goals.

Step 4: Develop a Plan

It’s time to get strategic. Wishful thinking is not a plan, but breaking your goals into bite-sized, conquerable chunks is. Consider it a map leading your team to the treasure chest of goal accomplishment. But we’re not just talking about a rigid plan. Business can be unpredictable, particularly in the trades and construction industry, so flexibility must be baked in. To avoid being thrown off your plan, you must embrace the chaos and acknowledge the curveballs. Your plan isn’t etched in stone; it’s a living, breathing document. Review it regularly and update it as needed.

2. Financial Review and Planning

Digging deep in the financial trenches is where business winning strategies are fought. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and face your finances head-on. Get ready to plug leaks, cut waste, and uncover growth opportunities. From negotiating with suppliers to fine-tuning your pricing, this is the gritty groundwork that leads to financial mastery.

Conduct a thorough financial review

Get your hands dirty in the numbers—no excuses. Break down your income, scrutinise every expense, and face the cold, hard truth of profitability. It’s not supposed to be a walk in the park; it’s a deep dive into the financial trenches where real business battles are fought. Make it a challenge to find money that is leaking or hiding, and shine a spotlight on financial weak spots. You want to slam the brakes on waste and seize opportunities for financial growth.

Explore cost-saving measures

One method to increase profit margin is to trim the fat in your expenses. Streamline operations, squash inefficiencies, and tighten the ship. It’s the nitty-gritty that separates the winners from the whiners. You can also negotiate with suppliers for better deals. Arm yourself with reasoning and do your research. Every cent saved here is a victory for your bottom line.

Review your pricing structure

The start of the year is the perfect time to review your pricing, if you haven’t already. Break down your costs – materials, labor,  overheads, etc. – and account for expected fluctuations throughout the year. Then aim for a profit margin between 10-20%. This isn’t a suggestion; it’s a business law. Price like you mean it, because hitting that sweet spot means the difference between thriving and just surviving. A business can’t operate, let alone grow, without a healthy profit margin. 

3. Diversification of Services

Investing time in revenue diversification is your business’s compass to navigate uncertainties. The start of the year offers a strategic launchpad to capitalise on fresh perspectives, market trends, and untapped opportunities.

Evaluate Market Trends

Ignorance is not bliss – it’s bankruptcy. Keep up to date with industry trends and track what your competitors are doing. Know what’s hot, what’s not, and what’s on the horizon to stay ahead of the curve. It’s not mind-reading to get into your customer’s heads; it’s market empathy. Understand their problems, needs, and desires. The market doesn’t care what you want, because it’s about what they demand. Adaptation in business is necessary to survive and thrive. 

Explore Complementary Services

Don’t be a jack of all trades! When you try to sell to everyone, you end up selling to no one. Be a master of your craft and identify services that sync with what you’re already killing it at. Revenue diversification isn’t about chasing every shiny thing; it’s about strategically expanding where you’re already a beast. It’s about smart expansion. You can read more about this in ‘Profitable Pivots: Strategies for Diversifying Your Construction Business Revenue’.

Don’t go it alone – get free advice

If you’re a lone wolf business owner, find a pack of like-minded tradies in our free Trades and Construction Mastermind Facebook Group. We share advice and coach tradies in our weekly live sessions to spark change in your business. Join us today!

Power to you!

Stefan Kazakis,

CEO & Founder, Business Benchmark Group


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