Planning to plan

By January 19, 2016 September 20th, 2018 Business Planning & Strategy


It’s the time of year when businesses often undertake some form of planning for the next 12 months.

Great idea, but what’s the best way to go about it? I think there’s a few elements which are worth thinking through before you jump head long into your strategic planning.

  1. What’s your business/organisation’s purpose? Why does it exist? It might be to provide an income for its owners, or to increase the wealth of its shareholders – or it might have other, non-monetary purposes, particularly if it’s a not-for-profit. Before embarking on your strategic planning activities, refocus on what the organisation is here to do.
  2. Sketch out a future vision for the company. What does the ideal future version of your organisation look like? It’s got to be different from its current situation for there to be any hope of your plan being ‘strategic’. After all, a strategy is only a way of achieving a goal; the goal is your company’s improved future state.
  3. Be specific about the strategies to achieve your goal. Say exactly what’s going to happen, when it’s going to happen and who’s responsible for activating.
  4. Consult with your staff – but don’t expect them to give you the answers. Strategic planning is a responsibility of management staff; you’re there to lead. Get input from your staff of course, but give them a clear indication of where you’re going.
  5. Don’t let it take up loads of time. A quick, well-managed process keeps your team focussed and gets to a result quickly.
  6. Put it on one page. Two pages max. Share it around your team and make it visually appealing. Consider putting it up on a shared common wall, so it can become an ongoing point of reference.
  7. Set dates for reviewing the plan; every three months is good to check in with it.

The key element to keep in mind is that this is an activity with purpose. Strategic planning shouldn’t be an automatic ‘this-is-what-we-do-this-time-every-year’ exercise. It’s a plan of achieving an improvement in your business performance, so it’s worth putting some effort into making it pay off.

In short: Make it savvy, make it snappy and make it happen.

If you’ve got issues in your business you don’t seem to be able to get on top of, why not get in touch? Not only do we provide a full suite of bookkeeping and tax services here at Generate, but we’re also able to help with business coaching, strategy workshops, business plans and much more. You name the problem and I’m sure we can help.