December is a great month to plan for the coming year. Business planning does not have to be a chore. An effective plan can be easily completed in a couple of hours and need only be one to two pages in length.
To begin you must do a bit of business analysis. This is also known as SWOT analysis. Here you examine your company’s Strengths and Weaknesses, as well as market Opportunities and internal and external Threats. Now that you have a clear understanding of your business’ health, your next task is to create your vision for the coming year. As with your business plan, your vision does not need to be lengthy – one paragraph will do. Here you briefly define your business, describe your target market and share your revenue, margin and net income goals for the year and wrap up with a one-sentence mission statement.
The next step is to create four to five business objectives (goals) for the coming year. Two to three will typically focus on company finances, one on your employees and the last on your customers. Now that you have your objectives set, you must create two to three strategies (goals) per objective that will allow you to attain them and then two to three tactics (goals) per strategy that will allow you to realize these as well. And when goal-setting, please remember to keep them SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.
Again, business planning does not have to be an unpleasant task to be effective. And can be done right in only a couple of hours and need only be one to two pages in length. So please block-out some time this month to write your plan. If you do you will have a much more successful year.
Lastly, if you need any guidance with your plan feel free to contact me.