At the beginning of the year, many companies are in strategic planning mode, hoping to set achievable goals for the business for the year. If you don’t have a plan for this year yet, best you get going.

Strategic planning is about making the tough decision on where to invest your business’s money, time, focus and energy. It’s also about working out where NOT to spend it.
I am facilitating a number of strategic planning workshops at the moment. If you haven’t planned a day to plan your year, here’s what you need to think about before the year starts running away from you.

Define the business you are trying to build

Now is a good time to think about the business you are trying to create, and put it in writing. What will your ideal business look like in three to five years? From a numbers perspective, what is your turnover likely to be? Market share? Number of customers? Average sale? On the flipside, what is the business going to be known for? Who is its market? How is the team structured and who are your best customers?

Work backwards

Once you have a good idea of where you are headed, you can plan the route to get there. If you know where you need to be in 5 years, where do you need to be in 4, 3 and 2 years? What steps do you need to take in the next year, broken down into 90 day chunks to get there?

Determine your limiting factors

The best way to find strategies to grow is to identify the single biggest limiting factor in your business that is a major obstacle to the success and growth of your business.

List solutions to limitations

What are the 10 ways you can push back on those limitations to make them less impactful? If your limitation is that you can’t do everything yourself, perhaps the solution is hiring additional staff, training and upskilling staff, putting automated systems in place, etc.

Identify the “low hanging fruit”

Go back to your 10 solutions to overcome your limitations and identify the solution that is the easiest to implement, or has the highest likelihood of working, and make it happen. One small change has the power to make a big difference.

Identify the “home run”

On your list of 10 solutions, which strategy will result in the biggest payoff if you get it right?

Determine the “sweet spot”

Do you have any strategies that are both low hanging fruit AND a home run? These are the critical areas to need to invest in because they are relatively quick and easy to do, have a high likelihood of working, but will give you the best returns and results.

Identify 1-3 strategic results per quarter

Select a maximum of 3 areas to focus on per quarter. Any more than this splits your efforts, attention and focus and the team becomes overwhelmed. And when you are overwhelmed, you don’t take action. Be realistic and be relentless in your pursuit to deliver on it.

Document who, what, where, when and how

In order to implement these strategies and plans, you need a very clear document articulating what each person in the team is responsible for. Then the trick is to hold each other accountable to deliver on the task.

It’s the beginning of a new decade. Make sure you know where you are going and how you are going to get there. I am waiting for your call if you need some guidance to make this the best decade of your business.

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