Regular quarterly reviews of your business plan are a crucial if you want fast, sustainable growth.
But are you doing the right kind of review? Good goal reviewing and strategic planning is about taking dreams and figuring out how to make them real.
Shweta Jhajharia from The London Coaching Group advises using a seven-step strategic planning process:
Step 1: Review Your Past Year
Get an overall view of the direction of the business. How much time did you spend working in, rather than on, the business?
- Has your team been working effectively and productively together?
- What goals/milestones did you achieve in the last year?
- What difference has this made?
- What did you not achieve that you intended to? Why not?
- What has been the impact?
Step 2: Review Your Current Position
Do an objective review of the last quarter and an overview of your current situation – focus on what is still missing/needs to be done.
- How were profits over the last quarter?
- What goals/milestones mark the end of this quarter?
- What did you not you achieve that you intended to? Why not?
- What do you need to carry over or continue working on in the next quarter?
Step 3: Set Your Personal Goals
Define your long-term goals (5-10+ years), then break those into three-year goals, and then into one-year goals.
The drive to make your business a success often comes from the knowledge that this success will allow you to achieve your personal goals.
Step 4: Create Your Plan
1. Categorise your goals
For example, Travel, Finances, Family, Social Life, Charity/Community, Business etc.
Flesh out your business goals and categorise them, e.g. Marketing, Recruitment, Finance, Team etc.
2. Prioritise your goals
Choose one goal in each category that is the absolute most important one; the one you will achieve no matter what else happens. Highlight this.
3. Actions Required
Write down next to each goal the actions you need to take to achieve it. Be specific and realistic. Hitting milestones keeps us motivated.
Split the actions out over the four quarters of the year.
Then split these out across the 13 weeks of the quarter.
You have now created a clear set of tasks to do every week in order to achieve your goals.
Step 5: Assign Accountability
Now clarify WHO is doing what.
Create an Accountability Chart. Take all the functions – Head of Company, Marketing, Finances etc. - and make sure that for each:
1. There is a person who is held accountable for this function
2. There is a list of Key Performance Indicators or KPIs that tracks that function's performance
3. There are clear results/outcomes from that function that directly relate to lines on your Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet and/or Cash Flow statements
During this process ask yourself:
- Is there more than one person in a seat?
- Is there a person in more than one seat?
- Are there any empty seats?
- Would your rehire the person in charge of this again?
Step 6: Create Default Diaries
For every accountable person there will be weekly actions required in order to maintain the KPIs. Block out time for these every week so that they’re completed no matter what other tasks crop up. Plan other appointments and activities around these core tasks.
Step 7: Review Your Plan Weekly
At the start of the week, look at your weekly plan. Tick off the actions you achieved and highlight the ones you did not. For the latter ask yourself why. Is the goal no longer important or do you need to make adjustments in order to prioritise these tasks?
This quick review will leave you more focused on the right areas of your business. This will result in greater and more consistent growth - rather than continuing along a plateau, or seeing jerky movements upwards.
Taking the time out can sometimes be a difficult thing to schedule into your diary. Therefore having a business mentor or attending Strategic Planning Day workshops can be beneficial: someone will hold you accountable.