So now that the year is almost over, how did your business do? And what’s next? Did you reach your goals for the year? What do you have planned for 2018?

Now is the time to determine what you want to accomplish in the next 12 months. How much has your business changed in the last year? Are this year’s goals still appropriate for the upcoming year? Do you want to try something new?

As business slows down a bit, take the time to plan for the future. When was the last time you updated your business plan? Did you ever write one? At LIGHTS, we use a tool that can support you and your business in planning ahead. It streamlines the business planning process so that it’s a living, breathing document that can be easily updated from time to time.

First, determine what your Value Proposition is for your business. What is the value you are creating for your clients, because after all, it’s all about them! What problem are you solving? Is it creating time, creating joy or does it save them money? Below is the link to the worksheet to walk through this process.

Once you determine your Value Proposition, if you hadn’t already done so, now put that into practice and create the model for your business. This exercise is extremely helpful if you are looking to add a new revenue model to the business, looking to grow your existing business or starting something completely new.

In order to complete both the Value Proposition (VP) and the Business Model Canvas (BMC), use post it notes so that you can determine the order of importance for each of the fields. For example, you may have one product but various customer segments. And since funds are limited, you’ll get to determine which customer segments to go after first. Then as time goes on, you may focus on other segments, which may change your marketing strategy, expenses etc. By using post it notes, you can move things around easily without having to redo the VP or BMC completely. And you can update it as you see fit.

Once complete, hang it up somewhere you can see it daily, like a vision board. This is the vision for your business and you get to be reminded of it whenever possible.

If you have any questions, we at LIGHTS are happy to support you and go through the process with you.

About LIGHTS: Ohio University’s Innovation Center founded the LIGHTS (Leveraging Innovation Gateways and Hubs Toward Sustainability) program in 2016. LIGHTS’ Innovation Network catalyzes the creation of companies to create high-wage jobs, and attract greater private investment in the coal-impacted regions of Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky. The Appalachian Regional Commission generously f
unded the program because of its unique way of matching complex problems and opportunities facing corporations, communities, and individuals to a network of two strategically-placed Innovation Hubs and seven Gateways. New marketable products arise from these problems. The Gateways and Hubs are new business incubators and makerspaces serving a 28-county area.