Planning The Year Ahead
Written on the 15 January 2014
The turn of the year usually prompts most people to think about some business planning for the year ahead. Here are some tips to make the planning more productive.
Get your team involved
Business planning works best when it’s a team effort. Involve your key staff and your advisors, such as your accountant, your mentor (if you have one), and others who can contribute meaningfully to the planning, such as an IT expert if you envisage a major website overhaul. Ask people to bring their ideas to the planning meeting and try to hold the meeting away from the business to avoid getting caught up in daily activities.
Review your business
Start with a review of your business as it currently stands, focusing on three key questions:
What’s working well for us at the moment that we should continue doing?
What’s not − what should we drop or do less of?
What has the most business potential for the future?
Decide on changes
Your combined thinking may produce some required changes. For example, you may need to adapt your existing products and services, seek new markets or distribution channels, or change your business model entirely.
Figure out capacity
Any changes will likely require some investment in new skills, new products or services, or other changes in capacity.
Get everyone on board
Once you’ve established where you want to take the business, concentrate on the next 12 months. Set some end-of-year goals, and then work backwards to create the stepping stones that will take you there. Your role now is to get everyone on board by clearly communicating the plan to them.
A major challenge with all business planning is that it is often done at the beginning of the year when optimism and motivation are high. However, these emotions can quickly fade as people get caught up in their daily activities and new projects.