My final New Year’s Resolution is one that can span both 2011 and 2012, as you no doubt have a lot of planning to do.
Engage your team in short- and long-term planning, and don’t be afraid to innovate.
The corollary to the first New Years Resolution we discussed – ensuring continuity – is engaging in short- and long-term planning. Start thinking 3, 6 and 12 months out for short term planning and 2, 3 and 5 years out for longer term planning.
Though it may seem like the final week of the year is a bad time to start doing your planning for the coming year, no time is a bad time to plan if you haven’t done any planning yet.
This is also your last week to do any quick tax planning that may help you for the coming year. Are there any big purchases you’re going to have to make in the next 30 days that you could make now to enhance your tax situation? Talk to your accountant and financial planner if you haven’t already. Make sure they know what you’re doing, where you’re headed and what your goals are. It’s the only way they can help you plan.
To make sure you know where you and your business are going as you enter the New Year, consider sitting down to a series of meetings with your key team members. If you won’t have time for that before the New Year, then take any break time you get to sit down and think through what you want and where you’re trying to take your business.
Start by figuring out what your goals are.
Is your goal this coming year increased revenue? By what percentage? Would you rather figure out how to increase profits without worrying about revenue? Perhaps there are a few KPIs in your business that could stand improvement? Maybe you’re just looking to survive. Do you want to acquire a competitor this year or make your company enticing in a buy-out?
Whatever your goals, you have to know them in order to do your planning. Map them out over the course of the year and start considering how you’re going to achieve them. Who’s involved? Sales, marketing, fulfillment, accounting? All of the above or none of them? As you consider who’s involved and how you want to achieve your goals, you should be starting to see a sketch of your plan for the coming months and year. Is what you’re developing in line with your even longer term goals?
Consider your plan and then start presenting it to your team members. Though business is not a democracy and you do not need to ask for others’ permission (pending you’re the CEO or key manager – and this exercise can work for managers as well as CEOs), it will behoove you and your business if you get buy in from key stakeholders and team members. That gets them on board, aligned and motivated. Ask for their help, input and concerns. This will help you plan even better.
Once you’ve set up your plan, consider reviewing it with your budgetary committee to make sure that you won’t hit any unfortunate pitfalls along the way. One tool I consider very helpful in short- and long-term planing is the whiteboard. Consider employing one along the way.
Don’t just enter the New Year blind. Resolve to plan with your team and make this year a calculated and successful one.