As 2017 comes to a close, it’s a great time to put thought into planning for 2018. If you are a successful business owner, you’ve likely already started, but if you haven’t, a great way to effectively prepare and strategize for the coming year is to conduct a SWOT analysis with your team.

SWOT Analysis MustangSWOT, which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, is an analytical framework that can help your company face it’s greatest challenges and find its new markets. Do a SWOT analysis based on your 2017 numbers. What went well? Where does your business need to make improvements?

Hopefully none of this information about the year’s hits and misses will be news to you, but now you are looking with an eye for making future moves. Make a plan to build on your successes. Map out how you will refine or totally rethink approaches that aren’t working.

The SWOT analysis leads to business awareness and is the cornerstone of any successful strategic plan.

In Mustang The Story, Bill Higgs illustrates Mustang Engineering’s SWOT at the end of each section of the book. Higgs believes, “your team should objectively agree on the top 5 strengths and weaknesses internally, then do the same looking externally at opportunities and threats. Now you have topics to discuss what needs to be done to stay healthy in 2018.”

Planning is the key to success on every level of an organization, but plans mean nothing if they don’t spur action and direct hard work.

After you defined your career aspirations and goals, you can also use a SWOT to understand more about yourself and set personal goals. Here is a great post about How to Conduct a Personal SWOT.

How do you plan for the coming year? Let us know – Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn

We wish all Mustangers great success in 2018 and a very Happy New Year!

For the budding entrepreneur, moving from vision to action often starts with a solid business plan. Take a breath…we’re not talking about a phonebook size stack of papers that specifically outlines every single aspect of your business, in minutia. But rather, a high-level, action-driven, one-pager that lays out your vision, mission and objectives.

This week team Mustang attended a “One Page Business Plan” presentation by entrepreneur Tom Bojarski of Echo Stone. Bojarski spoke about the business plans of past – those 200 page documents that start with good intentions, but often end up in the back of the filing cabinet collecting dust. He stressed that the one page business plan is more effective because it streamlines the steps and removes the unnecessary verbosity and clutter that can often be found in more comprehensive plans. Leave it out on your desk!!

Much like the SMART goals, SWOT and KISS principles that Bill Higgs speaks about in his keynote presentations, the one page business plan also helps define who are you, what you do, and how you will get there. It is the perfect way to get you started on formulating your end goals and business strategies while giving you the benefits of a business plan.

With all the tasks to juggle in order to get a business up and running, it’s easy, and all too common, for teams to lose sight of the answers to these questions.

The one page plan is meant to be a living document – it will expand as you grow and keep you on track. In order to ensure its success, you need to meet regularly with your team to discuss progress. The beauty of a one-page plan is its innate conciseness, allowing you to keep your team focused.

Entrepreneur.com Contributor Casandra Visser recommends the simple one paged plan. “Test drive your thinking. Get [your plan] out in front of as many potential clients, partners and suppliers as possible. In presenting and discussing your offering with them you will receive immediate feedback. This kind of first-hand market research will be invaluable as an early indicator as to whether or not your business plan is on track to becoming a profitable enterprise.”

Avoid the rabbit holes with a one-page business plan. Don’t let the idea of developing a business plan, and all that it COULD include, be the thing that keeps you from getting started… today!