Planning for Fiscal Year 2017: Evaluating is Step 1

Planning for Fiscal Year 2017: Evaluating is Step 1

August 31, 2016
Business Skills

By Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

While retail companies are helping their shoppers gear up for back-to-school, there’s an additional set of plans begin built – goals, objectives, and budgets for the new fiscal year. Early fall is a key planning time for many businesses. It’s also the ideal time for retail dietitians to ensure successful programs as well as promising new initiatives get funded for the next year. In a series of three articles (Evaluating, Planning & Budgeting, Pitching), RDBA will provide insight on how to effectively develop FY17 plans.

The first step in FY17 planning is to evaluate the current situation. Consider the following:

  • Company Goals and Objectives. While overall goals of retail companies tend to remain consistent and are financially driven, the objectives and strategies on how the company gets there can shift each year.  Determine where the most pressing priorities lie for the overall company and key departments. Make sure you’re in the know on new company initiatives, such as online ordering, grocery delivery, expansion of RTH/RTE, and new store openings.  
  • RD Program and Services Impact. Assess all current programs and services, determining which have been most effective in reaching goals. While you may have pet projects you love delivering, be objective and prioritize programs most effective in contributing to the company’s business. If there are programs you thought would have been successful but have floundered, determine if adjustments can increase the impact of these programs moving forward.  If you have a brilliant idea for a new initiative, detail how it fits into the overall health and wellness goals of your company and what it would take to implement. Gather and document all metrics that support the impact of the programs and services you recommend moving forward and those that justify addition of new projects or headcount.  
  • Competitive Assessment. As the retail health and wellness landscape continues to evolve, competitors may be adding programs and services. Evaluate how your key competitors are helping consumers live healthier lives through competitive shopping, website reviews, and social media stalking. Try out their services so you can be informed on the details and determine if they are a fit for your company. In addition to grocery, assess drug retailers, online retailers and meal solution programs, and health care companies.  
  • Who’s in your Corner. There are many influencers and decision-makers in the annual planning and budgeting process. Know who your biggest supporters are so as you move through the process, you are positioned to garner their support of your FY17 plans. Gain insight into the rising stars in the company that will have strong influence over the planning cycle, and work to establish or strengthen relationships with them.  

All this information positions you to put together a well thought out and comprehensive plan and budget – the next stage in the process and the topic of our next article in this three part series.