Business planning: Don’t wait until December
This post was originally published on August 19, 2013.
As the year continues to creep to an end and we begin to frantically work to achieve the goals we set for ourselves last year, we begin to think, “Had I planned appropriately all year, I wouldn’t be in this situation.”
All the while, we begin thinking about the goals and plans we have for next year only to be in this same position a year from now. Why do we do this to ourselves?
The goals that you set for yourself in the new year shouldn’t be easy to achieve. In fact, they should be challenging. In the entrepreneurial world, you should push yourself, get out of your comfort zone, and scratch and claw to accomplish phenomenal things within your organization. However, the likelihood of success can be easily impacted by a few tactics.
Set yourself up for success by developing an impactful business plan and incorporating some of the following:
1. Create an accountability loop!
Business plans are a great way to hold you and the rest of the business accountable. Write down your goals and put them up in a place where you’ll see them on a daily basis. Communicate the business plan with your employees, so they know what is expected of them and where to focus their efforts to help the business.
You got out of corporate IT to have the freedom and flexibility of being a business owner. Now that you’re the boss, who’s there to hold you accountable? Many of us need some form of external accountability. That’s why personal trainers and group fitness classes exist. If you fall into this category, we recommend taking it a step further and discuss your business plan, goals, and KPIs to someone you trust. I’m sure there are friends, family, and even mentors that you would do anything not to disappoint. These are the individuals that are there to keep you on track to reach your goals. Discuss with them your plans and have them periodically check on the status. Knowing they will have insight into your progress will create an even stronger drive within you.
You could also consider joining a peer group to serve as your accountability partner. The benefit of peer groups is that you can talk to and learn from IT industry peers who have been where you are and know what it takes to breakthrough.
2. Clarity on direction
Think of a business plan as your roadmap to success. Reaching your goal requires consistent, day-in and day-out dedication. If you’ve read Jim Collins’ book, Great by Choice, you’ll know that executing a 20-mile march every day is key to being a top performer.
Ask yourself: What can I do quarterly to reach my target?
Then work your way backward, assigning activities on a monthly, weekly, and finally, a daily basis that will put you on track to reach your goal. This isn’t a one-man job. Get everyone in your company involved by communicating with them on how they fit into the bigger picture. Having everyone aligned with the bigger goal is the best way to ensure success. Check-in regularly on progress towards the goal.
3. Ability to measure success
You can’t correct something that you can’t measure. If you don’t have an end-goal to work towards, how can you measure your progress?
“Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” Sir Winston Churchill
Designate reminders to check in with yourself and your team to see what progress has been made and adjust accordingly.
At ConnectWise, we encourage quarterly business reviews for a check-in on how the entire company is doing in relation to the goals that were set for the year. Different teams conduct reviews monthly to ensure things are moving along smoothly, which later roll up into the quarterly reviews. Some projects, depending on priority and complexity, require daily standup meetings to keep things on track. In these meetings, the goal is to get a quick assessment of the progress being made and to remove any roadblocks.
Take the approach that no matter the month, a plan helps guide you—it can start at any time. If you do the ‘march’ toward your objectives, you’ll be surprised at how quickly things get done.
Using industry benchmarks and KPIs will allow you to measure your success against other MSPs. Doing so will show whether or not you’re staying competitive in an already competitive industry. Download our eBook, The KPIs Top MSPs Rely on for Success & How to Use Them in Your Business, to get expert insight into the KPI measurements that matter most to your business.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to establish and drive goals throughout your organization, check out the session content available at IT Nation Connect. Does your organization have a strategic plan? Do you have a clear mission, vision, and core values? Could your team explain them? Come learn how to cascade clarity throughout your company with practical tools and tips in our session ‘Minimizing Organizational Drag: How to Gain Alignment in Your Organization by Driving Clarity”. IT Nation Connect is around the corner. Register today to secure your spot.