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When Is A Good Time To Do Your Annual Business Planning?

October 1st, 2010

If you want to maximise your results then you can’t afford to leave things to chance. Planning and implementation are two factors that are critical to success. Planning with poor implementation might make you feel good, but is really a waste of time. On the other hand no planning but a whole lot of implementation can be downright dangerous. The key is to get a balance between both.

The next series of articles are going to look at the planning process and then how to get the most at an implementation level.

The first thing to do is to decide when will your planning take place and who will be involved.

How Often Should I Plan

The short answer is that every day your key activity should be planned and linked to your overall objectives. Consider four distinct areas:

1. Vision – 5+ Years
2. Strategy – next 12 months
3. Activity – next 90 days
4. Implementation – specific days and tasks

When To Do Annual Planning

There are two possible times each year that you may want to do your annual planning and that depends what you call a year.

Calendar Year

If you think in a calendar year, then November is a great time to complete your annual planning. It gets it complete by the time you head into Christmas madness and means that you will hit the New Year running.

Financial Year

If you do everything in a financial year then make it one of your priorities in the January period. If you leave it too late your focus becomes on ‘year end’ and it’s very easy to push the planning process out to a later stage and then of course it probably doesn’t get done!

How Often Should I Review My Plan

It’s vital that you have constant reviews of your activity and make sure that you are always heading in the right direction. Split your review process into four areas.

1. Annual basis
2. Every 90 days
3. Weekly Management meetings
4. Daily Stand Ups

Annual

The annual review occurs as described earlier. It gives you a chance to check that the vision you have is still relevant and allows you to set the game plan for the next 12 months. It’s easier to break the year down into 90 day periods, making sure that each 90 days has an activity or series of activities that compliment your annual plan.

90 Days

As you are about to complete one 90 period you need to make sure that you are planning for the next 90. That way your momentum continues and there is a clear set of activities and targets that are linked into the 12 month plan.

Weekly Management Meetings

Whether you’re an organisation of 100 or 1 it’s important to have a weekly review of what is occurring in your business. If you leave it for a longer period things can go unchecked and a small issue that you may might have resolved now becomes a larger problem. If you are in business on your own then schedule a meeting with yourself each week where you take time to stop and review what has happened in the previous week.

Standups

Standups are just that. A meeting that might be 3-5 minutes every day or 2 days (standing up) which just allows you and your team to focus on the ‘right now’ in your business, any immediate issues, achievements, key numbers and key activity for the day.

In the next article I’ll look at how you may like to structure your annual planning session.

If you’d like to find out more about planning for your business or would like some assistance in that area then please contact me at [email protected] or 06 974 6236.

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