Planning for the New Year!

Now that the year is “winding down”, this is the perfect time to reflect on last year and plan for NOW!

Were you satisfied with your business results last year? What are you going to do differently this year? Have you established your business and personal goals for the new year?

You know the old adage “Failing to plan is planning to fail!”. Think of the subject of business planning – does it sound like a difficult chore like cleaning out the garage or going in for major dental work? Necessary but painful tasks.

Do you know why most people resist planning or at least resist putting a plan in writing? Most people resist planning because they don’t want to be held accountable (or hold themselves accountable) for the results. Well, don’t put anything in your plan that you don’t want or plan to achieve! A plan is for you, not to impress someone else!

If you are a business owner, you are truly fortunate. You can plan for yourself and don’t have to come up with a plan to achieve some global objective for the company handed down from on high! Take advantage of this and plan to conquer your own destiny!

The key to good planning is to just do it. Here are four quick and easy steps for doing your business plan that you can use to get started and stay with it.

1. Your present vs. your target position. This is the opportunity to realistically assess where you are today and where you want to be. What are your unique strengths and weaknesses? How will they help you define your vision, mission, and strategy?

Remember that this is your plan and goals. Make it work for you and be easy to follow. You might have one, three and five-year goals but focus on one 90-day plan at a time that leads you toward your goals incrementally. This will be easier to visualize and easier to start on.

2. Strategy. Strategy is your high-level assessment of resources needed to achieve your goals and objectives. What resources (time, team and money) do you need to get your desired results? What will you need to do differently? So it begins with choosing/defining your objectives.

The key to a successful strategy is to set S.M.A.R.T goals and objectives. S.M.A.R.T goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-oriented. Then you identify a set of resources you will devote to achieving each objective.

3. Tactics. Tactics are the specific tasks that must be executed in order to support your strategy. What is the most cost-effective (and quickest) way to get your desired result? Who, what, when and where?
The tactics need to support your overall plan and priorities. Remember that you may need to be creative and flexible in re-aligning the resources in order to meet your goals. There are many ways to get the desired results. Don’t get bogged down in the tactics.

4. Feedback. Feedback is a key element of the planning process. How are these strategies and tactics working for you? Is this a realistic approach? What is working and not working?

Remember, that you have S.M.A.R.T. goals and objectives. You have to measure the results you get and compare the results to the stated objectives. Then take that learning and factor it into the next planning cycle. This last step is key to having a plan that actually moves you closer to your goals.

 By: Judy Freeman

Action Coach of Elm GrovePlanning for the New Year!