As you read this you probably have a million and one things to do and your head is full of stuff that you need to somehow prioritise and get done.
That which has your attention will be that which you are mindful of and will focus on getting done and so as all this stuff fights for your attention, the one thing that is unlikely to get a look in is the thing that you need to start preparing for – next year.
Set aside time in order to plan for when you will create next year’s plan – plan to plan.
You may think it’s too early to be thinking about next year but not only does time fly by at a frightening rate but because you are so busy running your business, natural spaces in your diary allocated to preparing for next year won’t magically appear.
All too often, next year arrives and business owners simply carry on where they left off. The big problem with that is that the experience you had this year will at best repeat itself next year.
The challenges, the problems, the things that didn’t work out will still exist and, without a huge dollop of luck, the desire for a better year will simply not transform into reality.
So how much time should you set aside? Well, that depends on the current size and state of your business. The smaller your business the less complex the plan you need to create and the stronger your business the fewer challenges you’ll have faced that you need to overcome.
Essentially, you need to do 4 things; you need to:
- Identify where you want your business to be at the end of next year or whenever you aim to reach your next strategic destination;
- Assess where your business is now;
- Figure out how you will best get from where you are now to where you want to be and make sure that you’ve planned how to overcome the obstacles ahead;
- Identify the key metrics that you need to measure to ensure you know you’re on course.
For a micro business the first step may take a couple of hours. Step 2 may take a working day. Step 3 may take 2 to 3 working days and step 4 half a day. So you may be looking at around a week’s worth of time and focussed effort.
A larger business will of course take longer.
Estimate how long you’ll need to create your strategy plan for the year ahead (and add another day to be on the safe side) and set aside this time in your diary.
Do this now and you can spread the effort over the next 3 months. Plus, if in the early stages you find that you need more time than you initially estimated then you still have it.
If you want next year to be better than this then setting the right plan for the year ahead is vital and so over the coming weeks I’ll stay on this subject to help you so please keep an eye out for my future posts and email messages.
To Your Success
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As we don’t have an infinite amount of time and resources we need to use what we have as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Make your strategy an evolving, guiding entity that will show you the way and help you overcome the challenges ahead.