How to Plan for Business Success in 2012
Did you plan for success last year? Did you write down your plan? If you answered yes to both, that is awesome. Get out your plan, review it to see where you were successful and where you were not as successful, and figure out what you could have done better. Get started with 2012 planning if you haven’t already and have a Happy Holiday.
However…if you didn’t have a plan and/or you didn’t write it down, then it is probably a great time to start and new and valuable ritual as we head into the next year. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of business planning in 2012:
- First, get together with your team and spend a little time evaluating what you did successfully in 2011. Take a moment to celebrate those successes, and evaluate if they are taking your business in an overall desirable direction.
- Next, explore what did not go so well in 2011 and explore strategic impact of those issues – with special focus on two areas: what is still an issue today, and what your team would have done differently to create a better outcome. Take ownership of the issues, but remember, sometimes bad things happen outside of your control. When those things happen, learn what you can and move on.
- With 2011 wins and losses evaluated, get back together with your team and launch into an open and honest discussion of what everyone would define as success in 2012. Ask everyone to come prepared to talk about three topics:
- What they would like to accomplish organizationally in 2012,
- What is the anticipated impact to the company of those goals (define metrics that make sense for your business and use them consistently),
- And what resources are needed in order to accomplish those goals.
Let everyone present, discuss, debate and plan about what will have the greatest positive impact, how teams can work together, and proceed until everyone has been heard. Take notes. Listen hard. Speak only if necessary to avoid going “off the rails”.
- With the review of 2011 in one hand, and the thoughts and ideas of your team in the other, sit down and craft your business plan for 2012. Write no more than two pages and stay strategic. Settle on roughly 3 to 5 organizational goals, define very clearly what success looks like and how you are going to measure it, and who is going to own the outcomes within the organization. Review the document with your team, address issues and concerns, and move forward.
Look Back to Get Ahead
Why do all this? Several reasons, but some more obvious than others. First, learning from history is hard to do if you aren’t looking at it. Second, creating time to listen to your team in a group setting and involving them in the strategic planning is great for both moral and the business. Finally, at least in my experience, even if you put the plan away and forget to look at it again for the remainder of the year, the effort will guide you and your company,, and you will likely accomplish much of what you set out to do.
Ted Roller is VP of channel development Intronis, the cloud backup specialist. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy’s annual sponsorship program. Read the archived Intronis guest blogs here.