You can’t build a house without a foundation; and you can’t have a future without a plan. Every organization needs a structured course of action to ensure that there is a plan for the future. Like New Year’s resolutions that we all make (but these need to be kept), there are a few questions that should be answered in the process of making a plan, like:
Who is going to be speaking for your company?
Where are you going to take your company in the next year?
How will long-term employee benefits be financed?
How will you find customers – and keep them?
What are your inbound marketing plans?
How will you compete in your market? Your competition is?
How can you ensure that your business is structured to last?
Even if your business is a new one, it is never too early to start looking towards the future. Similar to planning for retirement, your business should be thinking about its future from the very beginning. The most important thing about planning is going to be making sure that the plan is not only sustainable for the long term, but it is also reviewable and changeable. Businesses are living, breathing things that must change with the market. Your business is going to grow, and it will probably change faster than you ever imagined. Like a financial budget, your business needs a marketing and strategy one as well. While not financial, it does outline your successes and goals and how you will achieve them. If you are regularly assessing your performance against your goals and targets, there is a significantly better chance of achieving both your short-term and long-term objectives as a business.
Your plan for the future should include marketing aims and objectives, operations information, and financial planning. The way to go about that is S.M.A.R.T. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. If a goal isn’t specific enough, miscommunications can occur, and an objective can be missed. Similarly if an objective isn’t met in a timely manner, it could be forgotten. If a goal isn’t actually achievable or realistic employees won’t be able to help you attain it, because it simply isn’t possible for them. Measurable success and failure is mission critical in an organization. This is possibly the most important piece here, because without measurements, there is no clear way to see improvements or even progress.
Using an annual business plan revision, your business can set, review and measure progress of your business’ objectives easily. Whether you decide to have your business on a yearly cycle or a quarterly cycle, reviewing your business plan will be a date set for all of your employees to take the time to process their work. Their immense efforts in their work lives will shine. This will help keep morale up as well. Psychological studies have proven that looking back on past successes helps people move forward with more motivation to keep succeeding. In other words, planning for the future now is the path to success every business needs to take.