If you haven’t yet thought about what you want to achieve in 2019, now is the perfect time to create a plan. A business plan, or strategic plan, not only sets out practical goals, it serves as a useful big-picture reminder of where your business is going and what you’re trying to achieve. It creates common goals that everyone in the company can get behind, which spurs people into action. And it gives you something to revisit throughout the year, to see whether you’re progressing as you intended.
Your 2019 strategic plan will include as much detail as is appropriate for your business, which is dependent on what stage your business is at and what you’re trying to achieve. But it doesn’t have to be complex or lengthy. Even a one-page business plan can provide clarity and direction, and ensure you spend your time and effort on the areas that are most important to the business.
For example, the process of planning your 2019 priorities and activities could be as simple as:
• Stating your company’s purpose. Consider the problems you are solving for your customers and the opportunities you are creating for them. Each problem or opportunity represents a solution or attraction you can offer. Because for your clients these are real ‘pain points’ and ‘gain points’ your purpose becomes very clear – providing products or services that make a difference and that your customers value. This process of thinking about ‘why’ you do what you do is a very positive way to start the year.
• Reviewing what worked and what didn’t in 2018. Make a list of what worked particularly well in 2018, alongside the things that didn’t quite go as planned. For each item, good and bad, set an action point that gets you and your team doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
• Identifying a big-picture target or priority for 2019. This could be launching a new product or service by the end of the year, growing revenue by x% or boosting the value of the business for a potential sale or exit.
• Turning that target into a series of activities. For you to achieve that key priority, what needs to happen? What people and processes do you need to put in place, and what resources do you have available? How should you and your team spend your time over the coming year? For example, do you need to invest in new talent, grow revenue among your existing customers or develop your management team? As you do this, keep in mind what worked and what didn’t in 2018, so you can focus your efforts on those activities that really deliver value for the business.
At Henchards, we work with companies to facilitate this business planning process, crystallise key goals, and provide the practical support needed to achieve those objectives. For more tips on strategic planning, and to start your journey towards a better, more profitable business, take a look at our business planning video. Or why not talk to us about planning your key activities for 2019?