Time seems to fly faster every year, which is why it’s crucial to get on top of your new year business planning now. As you enter the new year, you need to know exactly what you’re aiming to achieve, and how you’re going to do it.
Start with these 5 handy business planning tips from worldwide bestselling business author Brian Tracy. Once you have worked through this quick checklist, you will have a much clearer idea of where to go from here.
1. Figure out what’s working and what isn’t.
Over the past year, you may have noticed a lot of problems in your business. Now’s the time to bring them all out and talk about them; if you don’t address them now, they will only get bigger over the coming year. Now is also the time to talk about what worked well in terms of sales, production and other areas of your business. Maybe you can double down on those successes or build upon them.
2. Start long-term and work down to short-term.
Take a look at your big-picture goals; are they still the same as they were last year? What has changed about them? Now break those big goals down into sub-goals, and talk about the short-term steps you will take to bring you closer to them. Keep breaking the goals down until you can see every step with perfect clarity.
3. Write out your strategy.
Put it all up on the whiteboard. List every major area of your business, from finances and sales to hiring and onboarding to expansion and business development. Under each of these categories, write out the main things you aim to achieve this year. Ask for lots of input from the people in those departments, as well as from other people throughout the company. You don’t have to use every idea, but this will give you lots of fuel for brainstorming.
4. Make your goals specific.
Your achievements can only be as concrete as the goals that lead to them; make your goals as specific as possible. Use hard numbers whenever you can and if the goal doesn’t seem to be quantifiable, find some other way to define it clearly. For example, instead of saying, “We’ll make customers love us more,” say, “We’ll get 20 percent more positive customer reviews than last year.” Bring everything back to numbers because then there will be no debate about whether you have achieved the goal or not.
5. Assign immediate action items.
Here’s where all this planning translates into action. Everyone should walk out of this planning meeting with something specific to do right now. They should also have action items to be completed by the end of this week and the end of this month. Don’t let anyone get away with vague promises, no matter how far up the ladder they are. Make sure everyone on the team knows who is accountable for what, by when.
Build your new year planning meeting on these five steps, and you will be well on your way to an actionable business plan for the year ahead. And for lots more business planning tips from Brian Tracy and other international business experts, visit FocalPoint’s blog page.