6 Resolutions for Planning That Works

Here it is New Year’s Resolution time and me with a computer, free time in an Internet cafe, and really looking forward to 2008. And still committed to business planning as the key to better management, for both new companies and existing companies alike.

I call it plan-as-you-go business planning. That means planning that actually works to help you control your business destiny, start or/and grow your business, introduce long-term directions and goals, and manage accountability and implementation.

So I’m going to suggest some resolutions you should add to your list:

  1. Set a schedule today for regular planning reviews, an hour or two every month, and then three hours or so once a quarter. Get those review meetings on the calendar now, and make sure the people who should be there know about the dates and keep their schedules free.
  2. Review the metrics that make your business go. Obviously that’s cash flow first, sales and profits second. But also whatever other metrics drive your business. Look for measurable trackable metrics for key elements, like repeat business, or calls, or time per call, or trips or presentations or whatever. Review those metrics.
  3. Review the heart of your plan, meaning the interplay between what your market wants, what you want and do well, and the focus required to bear down on the keys to success.
  4. Do a SWOT analysis. That’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Bring your key people into the session, build a list of bullets, start thinking.
  5. This year make your planning collaborative, meaning that nobody gets locked into the crystal ball and chain, stuck with doing something just because it’s on the plan.
  6. Put your assumptions on top, where you can identify changing assumptions as soon as they happen. And keep those assumptions on top, where you’ll review them with every plan review. Remember that when assumptions change, the plan may have to adapt.

So that’s a quick list for now. With your permission, I hope I can reserve the right to revisit in a few days.

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