Now that the year is rounding off, it is a good time to think about your objectives and what you have achieved with your business in the last 12 months. It’s been well documented that success comes from working towards a set of pre-defined objectives, and creating the appropriate strategy to achieve them. As we all know, what’s written down on paper isn’t necessarily the way things pan out in real life, so being able to adapt your strategy is vital

The good thing about using the end of the year as a stop gap for your business is that this time of reflection can be used to assess how well your strategies have worked. Repeat the things that have gone well for you, learn from the mistakes that affected you badly, and continue to grow. There is no catch-all strategy for every type of business, but here’s a few things to consider.

Work Off Of Key Dates

There are a great deal of online planning tools to help business plan their year around patterns in retail. Having a note of the ones that present the biggest opportunity for your business is vitally important. Will your business receive a lot of footfall around Easter? Do you know what products are big sellers during the summer holidays? What can you do to encourage sales around Halloween? Taking a holistic view of the year and consumer buying patterns will help you to plan accordingly.

Monitor Competitors

There’s always something to learn from others in your industry. And checking out what the competition doesn’t have to be full-scale corporate espionage. Try to get a handle on how they’re handling day to day operations, and take note of what differs from your strategy. From here you can make adjustments based on what others are doing. This might be as simple as going to a competitors business like a mystery shopper, and seeing how they stack up against your business.

Be Prepared For Anything

No one could have predicted the results of the EU referendum, but Britain is now in the middle of complex Brexit negotiations. How this will affect retail businesses remains to be seen, but those who have plans in place for every eventuality are the best prepared. Beyond wider economic factors, having the appropriate shop insurance in place is also an effective way of keeping your business protected.

Think Creatively

If you’ve done some monitoring of your competitors and found that they aren’t doing anything out of the ordinary for your industry, you’re in a unique position to think creatively about how you can get ahead. Utilising the ever more important tools of social media allows you to have control over your audience messaging. Having an understanding of what works on social media can give you the tools to create campaigns that people engage with, and ultimately get more people in store.

2018 should be seen as an opportunity for you to grow your business. You need to take stock of what you’ve achieved in the past and use it to inform your future strategy. Success doesn’t come to any business over night. A great deal of strategy development is required, as well as the occasional bit of luck.