It’s after the holiday, lets refresh and get back on track. Enjoy this post.
Did a lot of work go into that initial plan?
If you were to pull out that plan today, how relevant would it be for your business? Would there be any creep of scope? Perhaps you’ve edged into new product areas or service offerings that don’t appear in your plan?
Many of us that operate small and medium-sized enterprises get so busy running our businesses and chasing the next opportunity, that we lose focus on our plans.
Over the next few weeks, we are going to learn how to get that business plan back on track. We’re going to cover When to look at your plan, Who to involve in the review, and What to include in a planning session.
First of all, let’s look at When.
Ideally, you’ll undertake a full-day planning session once a year. This is complemented by quarterly reviews. Even better if the planning and review sessions can take place off-site. Your people will respond more positively if they can undertake the work in a place that is neutral or not related to stress. These sessions can enable your organization to get back on track with its plan.
At these sessions examine what worked and what didn’t over the year.
Look at revenue/expenses, customer satisfaction, staff morale and human resources, marketing, and so on. Review what was tried and what responses were.
Be aware of the trends that occurred over the year and the trends that seem to be emerging that will have an effect on your business in the upcoming year.
Create a road map to take best advantage of opportunities that present themselves and allow you to bypass those that are more likely to mire you down.
The big business story that comes to mind for me when I try to give an example of a business getting off track (and needing to get back on track) is Kodak. Eastman Kodak made the brownie camera over 100 years ago. They made the film that went into cameras; the paper pictures were printed on. They even invented the digital camera back in 1975. We all know what has happened to the company since then. I think that they failed to properly address the trends emerging in their markets.
Given that perspective, isn’t your business worth a full day once a year to take a strategic look at your plan? Isn’t it worth setting aside a bit of time every quarter to review your action plan (annual plan, operational plan, whatever you call it.) You can’t get too far off track if you are keeping an eye on your plan. You can make course adjustments as needed each time you review it to make sure that it still reflects your reality.
Here’s a take-away point for you: Take time to plan and regularly review and adjust your plans. The cost up front of the time and energy planning takes is nothing compared to the potential cost to your business if you don’t make the time.”