Don't wait until January to start planning
You will end up losing valuable time for the plan to get decided and to start executing. Getting the right people in the room is also key to the whole planning process. Make sure you provide everyone with an agenda and ample time to prepare - assessments, feedback and/or financials may be needed for the meeting.
Step 1 - Vision & Long-Term Goals
Look at your business’s long-term vision and goals. This will allow you to identify how your business may need to shift over time to hit your goals versus looking for short-term solutions. If you don’t already have a clear vision or feel it is outdated, it might be time to take another look.
Step 2 - SWOT Analysis
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This will help reveal blind spots that businesses or employees might not see on a day-to-day basis. Performing a SWOT analysis helps your company slow down and ask probing questions that unveil essential information both internally and externally.
Step 3 - Short-Term Goals
Narrow down long-term goals into three to five short-term goals for the year. Then, narrow it down again for the next three months. This will help keep the projects moving and feel less overwhelming. Consider your resources and prioritize each initiative accordingly. Make sure to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely).
Step 4 - Identify the KPIs
Metrics are a great way to measure progress over time and understand what is working in your business and why. When it comes to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each business is unique in its goals and should use its business plan as a starting point to determine KPIs.
Step 5 - Accountability/Execution Planning
Assigning task by department and by individual provides accountability to ensure the plan gets executed. Make sure to prioritize each list as there may be rollover from one person or area to another. This micro breakdown is where the magic starts to happen.