At Apprize Solutions, we recommend formal planning on an annual basis. And while many companies plan, one survey indicates that only 23% say their planning drives important decisions. In fact, less than 3 in 5 say that they link their budgets to strategies and fewer than one-third link employee compensation incentives to strategy. So, how can you do better than the average business leader? Whether you use a program such as the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), McKinsey’s Business Systems, Schwada’s 8 Blocks, or some other process to manage your planning, we believe it is a critical activity for your business. As we start 2019, here are five critical steps you can take to get your year off to a great start:
1. Establish goals for your business. When establishing goals for your business write them down, and share them with all of your team. Even if you haven’t done formal planning with your team, I’m sure you have some basic goals and objectives as your enter 2019. Putting them down on paper solidifies them in your mind, allows you to effectively share them with your team, and helps you ensure that they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-Oriented, and Time-bound).
2. Give every person a number. Managing by Objectives means that you should be establishing objectives jointly with each member of your team. They should be adopting at least one of your key objectives as their own, then they should each be jointly developing objectives with their staff and each of these employees should have at least one measurable number they are tracking weekly to measure their progress toward goals.
3. Connect compensation to Strategy. If you have already set compensation and bonus plans for 2019, then this might require a reset, but if you realize that what you are asking your employees to achieve for 2019 is not aligned with the way they will be compensated, then its time to revise the comp plans. While financial benefits are not the only driving factor for employees, it is a critical element of a successful plan. Be sure your team’s comp plan will drive them toward achieving your goals.
4. Re-think your customer base. The new year is a good time to review your customers. Who are they? How has your customer base changed over the course of the last year or two? Are there products or services that are no longer as popular? Can you determine any buying patterns that might provide new insight into where you take the business? Are there customers you should fire?
5. Re-Assess your marketing plans. Based on your assessment of customers and where you want to take the business over the next year, should you be making changes to your marketing strategy? Is your positioning still solid? Do you need to make any efforts to respond to competitive pressures? This might be a good time to re-look at your communication plans as well. Are you communicating regularly with your current customers as well as your prospects?
Taking steps early in the New Year can pay huge dividends allowing you and your team to get the traction they need to make real progress toward a successful 2019.
Can Apprize Solutions help you develop or implement plans for 2019? Contact us today!