We are now into September. The nights are drawing in. Have you PLANNED 2022?
- The next 5 years?
Perhaps your financial year runs to April, and Spring next year seems a long way off. Got to get Christmas out of the way first I suppose?
A small exercise. Look around the room. In the next 5 seconds, count how many yellow things there are in your immediate vision.
Ok. You counted.
How many red things did you see?
Of course, I didn’t ask you to look for red things, just yellow. Those yellow things jumped out at you as I asked you to look for them. The red things were still there of course, but you weren’t focused on finding them. A simple exercise, but it brings out a point. When we are focused, things happen. Nothing new will happen unless you seek it out.
If you are a small business owner, you probably know where you see your business next year, the following, but have you communicated this to your teams? Involved your senior management team in your planning process? What about your wider team? Have you asked them to look for those yellow things? Those PURPLE things? Forgive the abstract example, but I hope it proves a point.
Involving your team into those strategic planning sessions will set your business up for success. You and your team need to identify what needs to change and how they can affect the results for next year, the following year and beyond.
Perhaps you do the budgeting yourself, and then roll it out to the team as a done deal. You may not feel that they have much input in the numbers, in the way you want your business run, but involving them at the early stages will instigate ‘buy in’, ownership of the purpose, an understanding of expectations and goals, and shape their ways of working for next year and onward.
Dependent on the size of your business, your strategic planning sessions can take many forms. You could start with heads of department, asking them to look at the questions which are keeping you up at night.
- Is our product right for the market?
- What is the market doing over the next year? The next 5 years?
- How can we capture more opportunity?
- Is our pricing right?
- How are we marketing? Is it working?
- What do our customers think of us?
- What barriers to success do we have?
- Does every team have the right tools to do the job?
You could even do a group company wide exercise on this. After all – those on the coal face may well have great ideas. Once you have these discussions and you are all aligned in your thinking, then the flow to plan next year, and the next year’s should be easy. Having clear revenue (‘vanity’) and profit (‘sanity’) targets can be used to focus the team on the output, but what input do they need to do to achieve them? It is up to you how much detail you wish to share with whom in your business, but each department and team will be accountable for something.
With clear goals and targets and a shared business strategy, then what is the process for SUPPORT? For FOLLOW UP? Where do your company VALUES and HOW you run the business feature in the day to day? Are they supportive of these goals or is there any conflict?
Allow your team to be involved in the strategic planning process. Allow them to teach you a thing or two about making it happen.
Seek out those red things. And have a look for the purple and orange opportunities too.
Enough with the abstract metaphors – It’s time to get practical to make things happen.