Peculiar, right? My old man said something like this to me for days on end and it's stuck. I'd also be remised to not say that it has bitten me in the ass from time to time in my quest for perfection. So when faced with the other adage of "perfection is the enemy of progress", I find myself at a crossroads in combating the damnation of my programming. What's interesting, and the premise of this article is that every year in Q4 we have a chance to change our expectations for the upcoming year. Even more, we can look back on the year prior and set new goals with intention. And that's precisely the word I want to zoom in on--intention (and its required attention) separates those who plan from those who simply react.
Here is an easy test for you, ask yourself one of these questions:
If you were unsure of what the goal was back in January, or if you're unable to honestly state that you've achieved it (or maybe you simply didn't), your aim may have been beyond your current maturity.
Sometimes, as owners, we lose track of what's important and make goals that are impossible to achieve or aren't well-defined. If you have colleagues or a group of peers, this is an excellent opportunity to set some achievable objectives for the upcoming year. You might also receive helpful feedback about whether your proposed goals will be too demanding for your team and push them too hard--perhaps even to the point of burnout.
That being said, goals that are too easy or impossible may hurt team morale. So think carefully about where you need to be!
Next year's objectives will be influenced by several variables, including sales increases, decreased workloads, and the possibility of new services. In most cases, these objectives will need the input of several team members. Regardless of how things are done in the process, it's crucial to know WHO.
Who Not How is a good book that explains this idea through the use of software like Scrum and discusses why focusing too much on how something will get done might stifle development since it would consume leadership teams' time where they could have been concentrating on more essential activities.
How does this relate to accountability? It's quite simple: for each goal on your business plan, designate one person who will be held responsible for achieving it by the end of the year. refrain from assigning how they will go about doing so.
It's no surprise, but it is still remarkable to me how many small businesses do not yet have a formal Budget or Quota generation process. This is the single most important thing you can do to guarantee that your company grows at the expected rate, that your objectives are feasible, and that any new initiatives will have enough financial backing.
Knowing your sales targets and budgets for the year is important for you and your leadership team to hold each other accountable and make smart decisions with company finances. If unanticipated costs pop up or sales are lower than expected, being proactive and having a plan lets you adapt quickly instead of scrambling later on. And because we're looking ahead intentionally, setting budgets helps manage cash flow so you're ready when it's time to make a big purchase or investment.
Use visuals in your business plan as often as possible, but not excessively. Graphs, charts, and pictures can assist you bring your idea to life. It also helps the text flow more easily because it breaks up the content.
Look towards the future, before anything else on this list. To be a great visionary leader you must look 3-5 years in advance and decide where you want your company to be. Doing so, will help better plan and guide next year's vision.
I intentionally placed this at the bottom of the list! Why? Because to lead effectively, you must be disciplined--and that's harder than just reading an article. When you set a 5-year goal (or even more complicated ones like 7-10 year goals) for your team, you have to work hard to keep everyone motivated so that progress doesn't stall. This entails determining yearly what smaller goals are necessary to accomplish the larger one.
Jim Collins wrote a great book called "Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies" that calls these BHAGs, or Big Hairy Audacious Goals. In his words, "A BHAG is a powerful way to stimulate progress. A BHAG is clear and compelling, needing little explanation; people get it right away. Think of the NASA moon mission of the 1960s. The best BHAGs require both buildings for the long term AND exuding a relentless sense of urgency: What do we need to do today, with monomaniacal focus, and tomorrow, and the next day, to defy the probabilities and ultimately achieve our BHAG?"
Creating an intentional business strategy for 2023 can seem daunting, but it's important to have a plan if you want your business to grow at the expected rate. The steps we've outlined include creating a budget and quota, designating someone responsible for each goal, and using visuals to help explain your ideas. Most importantly, don't forget to look forward and set long-term goals for your company. These goals will provide direction and motivation as you work towards accomplishing them
Now that you know how to create an intentional business strategy for 2023, it's time to get started! Follow the steps we've outlined and make sure to stay motivated by keeping your long-term goals in mind. Let us know how it goes in the comments below. If you want assistance, there is a worksheet available for you to get started and a scheduling link that will set up a free consultation to assist you with starting or improving your Business Plan.