Summer Recharge: Strategic Planning for the Second Half Your Business Year

As most, if not all, entrepreneurs know, strategic planning is one of the most important elements of small business success, but that doesn’t mean it is always an easy thing to do. While start-of-year-strategic planning comes at the perfect time, coinciding with the natural lull of the holiday season and other end-of-year festivities, mid-year strategic planning often comes when schedules are at their most hectic and businesses must continue to operate more-or-less as usual. Despite that fact, business coaches and leaders alike say it is important to take a beat during the summer months to reassess, address shortcomings, and strategize about changes that will help you better hit your targets in the second half of the calendar year.

That doesn’t mean, however, that mid-year planning must or even should be as robust as end-of year planning. Especially since it coincides with busy season for many small businesses, mid-year planning should be more of a re-direction than a true interruption. It is a time to address the most important things that can spell the difference between a weak and strong second half of your year, rather than a time to address each and every thing you might want to change.

But what are those “most important things?” Though they vary from business to business, strategists tend to suggest three overarching high-yield aspects that you might want to look at in your business during your mid-year planning session. Those things are:

1. Assessing First Half-Year Performance

Evaluating Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) from the first half of the year is crucial. Key areas to assess include:

  • Client Acquisition Cost (CAC): How much are you spending to acquire new customers? And is it working? If your CAC has risen significantly and your costumer spending has remained the same, this might be the first place to make an adjustment.
  • Employee Utilization: Measure how effectively your employees are contributing to revenue. If performance metrics are not being met, reassess and make necessary changes.
  • Sales Revenue: Compare current sales revenue with the same period last year to determine if you’re on track to meet yearly goals. Make adjustments if sales numbers are below expectations.

2. Financial Planning and Potential Budget Adjustments

After reviewing your KPIs, you may have to adjust your company’s budget for the second half of the year. This is where experts recommend utilizing a CRM or financial tracking software to access economic data in real time, which may allow you to switch to a rolling or monthly budget instead of a yearly or quarterly one if that better suits your needs. Whatever the case, it is important that any budget adjustments match the current realities of your cashflow, rather than the other way around. This may mean having to let go of certain things you had planned at the beginning of the year, and that’s okay. The most important thing is balancing the realities that your KPIs brought to light with the needs of continuing to run and grow your business.

3. A Marketing Strategy Refresh

The thing that is most often overlooked during mid-year planning is marketing, and it really shouldn’t be. Marketing is an area with great potential for optimization, where businesses can significantly improve their efficiency by updating and refining campaigns to ensure they are current, effective, and contributing positively to sales leads. Mid-year is a great time to revisit these numbers and strategize with your marketing department.

Strategic planning is a continuous process. Mid-year planning allows businesses to realign their strategies and make necessary adjustments based on their performance and market conditions. By focusing on key performance indicators, adjusting financial plans, and refreshing marketing strategies, businesses can ensure a robust finish to the year. Engage your team, use strategic tools, and set clear objectives to navigate the second half of the year successfully. The EFBC is here to support you throughout this process.