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The 2020 Planning Blues

Well, you blew it! You kept putting it off and now the New Year has passed and you still haven’t finalized your business plan. My blog from last October was timed for a reason. Had you started once you had read the detail you would have had a plan in the can and you would be ready to go! You wouldn’t be scrambling to put your plan on paper in advance of the next 2020 kickoff meeting. You wouldn’t be trying to figure out the most important of the million things you could do this year in support of the business. And you wouldn’t be scrambling to set and communicate meaningful targets for the organization.

If you’re like many, the demands of your day to day job often get in the way of the time required for effective strategic planning. I know the drill. How the heck could you be expected to build a good 2020 plan when all your efforts were focused on closing 2019? It’s not as if your boss came to you late last year and said, “I’ve got great news, these three new employees are going to handle your mundane job details so you can focus more of your attention on building our plan for next year.”

Now that we’ve turned the page on the calendar the heat is on. So, what ARE you going to do about this year’s business? How are you going deliver that kickoff presentation and speak about your plan in a convincing and credible way? Good luck!

Well, don’t worry because although strategic business planning is often perceived as an arduous and mundane task, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, with the right structure, process and approach, you can create a 2020 business plan in a matter of weeks which will not only be well thought out, but will also be easy to communicate to your organization thereby instilling confidence among your team that you actually do know what you’re doing.

What should you do? Well, you could hire Dendog Strategy Insights to help you 😊. All kidding aside, your plan should incorporate the following characteristics:

· Make it Simple – Limit your objectives, strategies and tactics to a manageable number. Your organization is already incapable of getting to all the things you want to do so don’t complicate matters

· Focus – Identify the key activities that, if completed, will have the most significant impact on your desired business results

· Spread the Wealth – Your organization doesn’t benefit by you creating the plan. Get others involved and get their contributions. The closer they are to the day to day work the better

· Commit Your Plan to Writing – Don’t depend on your team to absorb your plan based upon a presentation. Put the plan in writing in a format that is easy to digest

· Gain Commitment – Communicate your plan among team members. Solicit their input and buy-in. You need them to execute so take the time to get them engaged

· Set Targets and Benchmarks – Establish Key Performance Indicators bench-marking them against other similar organizations and keep score. It’s important your team knows how they are performing.

· Make Adjustments – Business conditions change and you need to be prepared to change with them. Don’t hesitate to modify the plan based upon what your results tell you

Building strategic business plans is not difficult, but it is work and it does require a dedication of time and effort if you expect to produce a quality result. What doesn’t?

Yes, like many, you likely dropped the ball. The New Year has a habit of sneaking up on everyone and nobody can dispute the fact that focusing on finishing the prior year is critically important. However, although you have shot yourself in the foot by lacking a 2020 plan, don’t compound the problem by shooting yourself in the ass.

Take the initiative and spend the few weeks needed to build a solid plan and targets for 2020. It’s not too late. The only thing you have to lose is your business.

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