It is that time of year for Business Coaches. It is not Holiday Season. It is time to beg people to do Annual Plans. Our Clients have no choice. We are going to have them do one or we know that they will not be our clients much longer. Large businesses will have them because their BoD will definitely want one. So, why do I think this is so important? Because it provides structure and context to your next year. It allows you to know where you are heading and how well you are doing in getting there.
The first problem that people have is where to start. And that is easy. You start with today. That means a dive back into the past year. If you didn’t have an Annual Plan, it does not matter. You have results. Which is the first thing. Because without changes, next year is likely to look similar to last year. Not the same, but similar. So that is your launch point.
The thing that people don’t realize is that they get to impact their future through action. In this case, it is changes that you will implement in your business. What those changes are depend a lot on how you want your results to be different. These results are not just financial but non-financial. They might include changes in work habits, market, or client concentration. You get to make plans to help you change your business.
The plans include ways to have actions around what you are doing. The next question that comes up is how do you know if your plans are working or if they need changes. That means that you have to measure your actions and have objectives to set the measurements against. Now when you start, you might think that you don’t know if your objectives or your measurements are good. The truth is that it is not super important, but nothing is ever easy when you start. The important part is to start and you will get better about goal setting and measuring over time.
One of the bigger problems when I help people form their plan is that they can’t think about forward looking metrics or Leading Indicators. Revenue and Profit are measurements of the past. Since we want to take control of our future, we need to predict how things are doing. On top of that our initiatives are the driving force for creating our future. So the progress against our plans has to be part of what we set up in the Annual Plan. All of this combines into a set of metrics that we can track Monthly or Quarterly. If things are not meeting our objectives, we will alter our execution to get back on plan.
Done right, this means that you will have created the results you want next year. Isn’t it time that you are in charge of your future?
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