are you ready for 2012?

November 22nd, 2011

As hard as it is to believe 2012 is not that far away, so are you and your business ready?   Ask yourself what will your business look like at the end of 2012 and what needs to be put in place now if you want a different result than you got in 2011?

Some might say they don’t want a different result and are just happy to repeat the previous year, but good business doesn’t happen by chance, so even if you want just want to get more of the same, now is a good time to think about the coming year.   Some will align this activity to the financial year and that’s fine as well.   The important thing is that it’s done!

Planning in late November allows you to go into Christmas knowing the direction for the coming year and it also means that when you start in January (assuming you have had a break) you hit the year running.

Consider who will be involved in this process.   Is it the business owner, management team, key staff, all the staff, outside advisors?   Remember if you want to implement well there needs to be strong buy in from all parties that will be affected.

So what to consider when you are looking at the plan for the coming year?

  1. Review achievements
  2. Identify any immediate challenges
  3. Review your longer term plan  (5+ years, assuming you have one)
  4. Set the objectives for the coming 12 months
  5. Decide on the priority for the next 90 days
  6. Set KPIs
  7. Communicate and Set Expectations

Review Achievements

First of all look back over the last 12 months and congratulate yourself on the achievements.   All too often we get caught up in the doing part of our business and forget to look back.   Make sure you share these achievements with your team (they’re probably the ones that implemented your plan!)

Identify Any Immediate Challenges

It’s no good setting a plan of action if you are going to continually hit the same challenges, so you might need to deal with some not so pleasant tasks first.   Ask what is holding you or your business back, what do you need to stop doing, what systems have not worked as well, or what people may be causing issues?   Until these are resolved it may be difficult to move ahead.

Review Your Longer Term Plan

It’s always good to reflect on what you are ultimately aiming for.   Consider if the direction of the business is the same as when you set the initial plan, if not what has changed.   If your direction has changed is this on purpose or have you just drifted off track and if so what do you need to do to realign yourself.   Clarity of purpose for the longer term objective will make all the activity a lot more focussed.

Set The Objectives For The Next 12 Months

Once you have taken a strategic look at your business you need to decide what activity will support the plan.   Failure to implement can become costly, so this is the time to take the ideas and turn them into action, which leads to results.   Don’t get caught up on the detail but identify the key things that you want to achieve in the next 12 months.   Remember this needs to support the longer term plan.

You might want to split objectives into key areas such as sales, operational activity, finance / administration, people or whatever drives your business.

Decide On 90 Day Priority

This is where the detail comes into play.  Take one of the 12 month objectives and identify what activity needs to happen in the next 90 days to support that objective.   Then break this activity down into smaller sized tasks that can be allocated and people held accountable for.   This is the ‘doing detail’ so be very clear and specific

Set KPIs

It’s no good doing an activity unless you can measure it, so make sure that some KPI is set to the activity.   It may be a completion date, a $ figure, % increase, conversion rate, balance sheet ratio or some measurement that will let you know you have achieved the result you wanted.

Communicate And Set Expectations

You might have the best plan and strategy, but unless you get others to work with you your results may be limited, so make sure you share your plan and how you intend to achieve it.   This may be in a State of The Nation type address to the team, informal stand up meetings (which are very short and sharp), written material or email.

Remember though we are constantly bombarded with correspondence, so if you leave any communication to a written medium it is likely the message gets diluted if at all read.

Finally set expectations with a date to drive activity.   Anything without a date of completion will probably drift along until it was another of those ‘nice’ ideas.

So take the time to stop and set the direction for the coming year, you may be surprised by the results.

PlanA Consulting is able to assist business in reviewing its strategic direction as well as ensuring there is an activity plan to implement.

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