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4th Quarter Checklist

soybean dehulling

The beginning of October is a crucial time for businesses large and small as they balance meeting current year targets and planning for the year to come.  As manager for any size company, you probably have yearly goals.  They could be sales goals, efficiency standards, projects or any other type of goal that has been set for you by upper management.  October is a great time to stop for a minute and make a checklist for yourself to not only complete this year’s goals, but also it is important to effectively plan for next year.  You have approximately 10 weeks left in the year since the last 2 weeks are typically very slow and, in many countries, people are out for end of year holidays.  Here are some suggestions of questions to ask yourself:

  1. Where am I at versus my goals for this year?  For example: Are my sales low? Do I have enough time to close the gap?
  2. Is there anything I can do to try and catch up to or exceed my goal?
  3. What is the outlook for next year?  Growth plans?
  4. If so, do I need to lay the groundwork now for more employees, more equipment or a larger budget next year?

These are basic questions you can ask yourself to help you get through 2019 and prepare for 2020.  Another set of questions you can ask yourself revolves around your customers.  This will help you strategize on where to target your sales and marketing efforts:

  1. Will my target customer be the same next year, or do I need to investigate selling new products to a new customer segment?  Where does my company’s products have the best right-to-win, and where is my best opportunity to win? For example, should I keep selling soy, or expand to corn or rice bran extrusion? Am I an expert in these areas?
  2. What is the competition doing?  Are they coming up with innovative solutions, or just selling on price?  How can you position yourself to win those head-to-head battles?
  3. Where is the overall market shifting?  In soybean, we see a shift from conventional to organic and for the consumer their shift is from a standard diet/lifestyle to a healthy one.
  4. What sets my products apart?  In a world where you can go to China and buy a fake Apple iPhone called an Abble Phone, the consumer can sometimes have a hard time sifting through all the noise.  Your job is to develop a plan to do just that.

Taking the time to ask yourself these questions while there is still time to try and achieve this year’s goals, as well as getting a head start on next year, will lead to success both now and into the future.  Good luck.

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