On this episode, James Woosley and Megan Burns discuss the importance of developing an annual strategic operating plan for your business and why now is the time to do it for 2015.
Why plan for 2015 now?
- It’s 2-3 months from the start of the new year as we record this. Annual planning helps us keep some perspective on our time. It will come whether we plan or not, but we can attempt to control it with a plan, or just show up a year from now and hope for the best.
- Annual plans help us segment our time and pursue significant initiatives. A new year is a fresh start. Projectize your efforts so they aren’t open-ended and they won’t become dull or mundane. Inject new energy into your efforts.
- Don’t do it at the last minute. If it’s December, the holidays will interfere. Base it on your business cycle. Plan now to start the year strong, however you define your year.
- Caution: If you’re listening in May, don’t wait until January to do this! Plan where you are.
What needs to be planned?
- Major initiatives.
- What are the things you’d like to accomplish in the next year?
- This is a business after all, so money matters a lot! If you want to make more, a plan will help you get there intentionally.
- A plan will structure your time so that you can get more done, as well as add prioritization to the mix so you work on the most important things first.
- What needs to be done for your team? Retirement plans, events…
- Fun, Education, Investments, Networking Events, etc.
- Planning is about being intentional.
How does an entrepreneur plan for the coming year?
- Carve out some time in your calendar. Make this appointment with yourself and if you have a team, with them as well. It will not happen if you don’t do this. Make it a priority. How much time will vary, but it doesn’t have to be completed all at once (and it probably shouldn’t be).
- Use a well defined process. There are many out there, including self-led, facilitator-led, template-based, tool-based, and more. Use something to structure and guide your efforts.
- Be flexible. Putting a plan together is a great exercise, but no one can predict the future perfectly. Think about the ideal year and the realistic year, and push to do amazing things. But adjust execution accordingly. You’ll end up in a better place with a plan than without. Plan to do quarterly reviews of the plan to adjust and stay on track.
- Commit to building a plan (schedule the time)
- Build the plan using a process or system (don’t just wing it)
- Don’t forget to do a financial forecast as well (it’s a significant business measurement…it’s how we keep score!)