Are You Making Plans for Next Year?

We’re talking here about your annual business planning session. The annual “how are we doing, where have we been and where are we going from here” meeting. However, if you’re looking to do the more significant strategic planning meeting, your list is going to be significantly different and will incorporate far different elements.

Here’s a brief checklist of the basic things to get done to make the most of your planning:

  1. Establish the objectives and purpose of your planning session. Include plans for all of the major business areas in your company:
    • Sales
    • Marketing
    • HR and personnel
    • Finances
    • Operations (systems and processes)
  1. Gather all the data needed to evaluate each of the above. Delegate this to the department heads when and where possible. It is important that your leadership team participate in this exercise. They (and you) will need the last 3 to 5 years of data and any comparative year to date info that has been tracked for the current year.
  2. Formulate the guidelines of the exercise to challenge your team and let them know what they are working toward.
  3. Set expectations for the new year. This will be the time to tell your team and get them all going in the direction you want. Ten percent growth year over year? Five new major clients?Five percent EBITDA growth?  You get the idea. You’re the leader.  You are the only one with a blank page. Everyone else will be working from your outline.
  4. Draft an agenda and determine how much time this planning time is going to take. One day? Two days? Delegate the planning of the program including location, food and other details.
  5. Schedule the meeting.  Put it on the calendar as soon as possible so everyone has ample time to clear everything else off their calendar. This should be a “no miss” meeting.

One final, but important, note: invite as many people as possible to participate and contribute to this, even if they are not going to be in the actual meeting. You want engagement and the best way to get it is to engage them first. If you’re a business of “one” you can still engage your closest adviser or mentor.

Good luck with your planning. If you need help in this early stage, the actual planning session or in the execution of the plan, I’m here for you. Call or text me. I’d be honored to help. Your success is my success.


Staying focused when everything is drawing you away

Here in Texas we will occasionally drive by a large farm field freshly plowed and ready for planting. All of the furrows are straight for the full length of the field. That’s downright an amazing thing. I’ve sat on a tractor and attempted to plow a long straight line. On a much smaller scale, I’ve had the same challenge mowing a straight line in my own yard. How do they do that?! Well, now days, they get help from a GPS system that keeps them really well aligned. But – that’s not true with a lawn mower. Ever see how straight those lines are across the baseball park?

The secret is to pick a point out at the end of the row and drive toward it. – never look back and never get distracted side to side. A great practice to apply when it comes to achieving our goals. We must keep our eye on the end game – where we’re going not where we are. Jesus once said, “No one, having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God.” Well, that’s also true for being successful in business. We must stay rifle focused on our end goal – never looking back – or side to side and set that as a standard for the entire organization to hold to. Or else – we’re not fit for running a business.