Annual Plans help you focus your energy; they help you say yes to the right things and no to the things that won’t serve your business. (No doesn’t have to be forever! It can just mean ‘not right now.’) They also help you measure your progress.
Here's a summary of steps you can take to create a rock solid annual plan.
Start with a quick SWOT analysis. (Assess your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats.)
Mission & Vision Statements.
- Mission: Where are you going? Why are you in business?
- Vision: Paint a picture of the business you would like in the long run. This is not time-specific. Don’t be afraid to dream big!
Annual Focus or Theme: You can pick a couple. Break them down into outward facing themes, (like adding a new product, program or service, or increasing customer satisfaction,) and inward facing themes, (improving systems, building your HR program, addressing strategic weaknesses.)
- Sales goals. They should be easy to understand and measure. For example: add three more desert sales each night. Add 5 more customers in your store per day.
- Operations goals. For example, improve your database. Shift to QuickBooks Online. Revamp your website. Create an employee handbook.
Prioritize & Sequence: Review your goals to prioritize or consider necessary sequencing. Do some naturally come first? Are there goals (sales, for instance) that are specific to a season?
Breakdown: Break your large goals into component pieces. What are all the steps needed to accomplish each goal? Now assign a best-guess budget to each goal—you will feed this info into your 2018 Budget. (We’ll talk about this process next month.)
Anticipate obstacles and challenges: How will you overcome them? Imagine a worst-case scenario. How will it impact your business? Are there steps you can take now to ensure your business will survive, should the worst come to pass?
Timeline: Look at your 12-month calendar, and consider the natural ebb and flow of activities. Split your goals appropriately throughout the year, based on prioritization, natural synchronicity, or the most reasonable windows to devote time and energy to them. Working backward, break the steps needed to achieve your goals into quarterly or monthly goals.
Schedule regular times for reflection. Each week, each month, each quarter, review the timeline you’ve created. Celebrate your accomplishments, measure your progress, and adjust your deadlines.
*Remember, your plan doesn’t need to be perfect! Assume it is a starting point that will require revision and finessing as the year goes by.
Want help setting sales goals? Ready to shift to QuickBooks Online, but would feel more confident with a coach? Interested in building a database or a website? Need professional HR help in creating an employee handbook? Contact us. We’re your partner in creating financial health. We empower you to reach your goals.
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