Starting off the new year with a new business plan can be an exciting prospect. Rebuilding your business after an unprecedented event such as the Coronavirus isn’t so exciting, but it should be tackled with the same vigour and commitment as the new year goals you personally set yourself.
Andrew Burton has his say on hitting the START button on 2020 once again.
As we all understand, as the year progresses and the initial thrill of a new year’s resolution wears off and it’s easy to lose momentum. The difference about setting yourself a resolution to support your new business plan in 2020 is that you can’t afford lose momentum or drive.
There are some well-established strategies which business leaders can use to ensure the new business plans are executed successfully, so now is a good time to examine how you can ensure your team follows through with the execution of that plan and more importantly, stick with it during a new changing world which your business plan has reacted to.
Execute For Today
Make sure you create a solid business strategy that addresses the needs of the business today before you address the needs of the business three to five years from now. Many people build plans for what will happen down the road, but then ignore executing today’s priorities. This causes business plans to miss essential early steps in your plan.
Starting a new or reviewed business plan is always exhilarating, but we tend to look at the final goal and visualise success at that point. Things take longer than we think and long-term success is the result of many short and mid-term goals achieved in the best strategic way possible. Don’t lose sight of the long term, but build and work for what will get you there. Celebrate each step and feel accomplished.
Avoid Written Only Business Plans
When producing a document like a business plan, too often we trade usefulness for seeming strong, serious and important. The most important quality of a business plan is to force the management team and leaders to think, communicate and inspire. Getting positive, honest challenges and disagreements is often the only way to get the value out of planning. An informal brief plan that inspires rigorous thinking is key to the teams ownership in seeing the plan through.
Make Your KPIs and Objectives Visible
Don’t keep objectives hidden; share them with your teams and make them everyone’s goal, not just the management team’s. Summarise the plan, write out your KPIs, set achievable measurable milestones and make this information visible where people are working. The important thing is to take business plans out of people’s computers and put them on the walls. Track progress and celebrate achievements monthly to keep everyone motivated and working toward the same goal.
The best way of ensuring that a new business plan is driven and achieved is to integrate the business plan into the daily responsibilities of your entire team. They will feel part of the overall plan, involved, motivated and care about the end result.
Set Measurable Goals
Work on setting measurable goals for 90, 180 and 360 days to make sure you are hitting those as we progress through the year. Setting SMART objectives that have measures which can be followed up in weekly or monthly KPI meetings, involving key staff make sure you are staying on course with individual goals, as well as with your company goals. These consistent measure reviews keep these goals relevant, reactive and monitored ongoing.
We can all agree that a solid business plan is very important. In order to stick to the plan, it helps to have short-term measurable goals. Instead of limiting the plan to a goal for the year, include monthly and quarterly goals too. Let your short-term goals lead to your long-term goal by keeping you focused on the path you created to success.
Be sure to then periodically review your business plan to refresh your memory of what was important to you from the start. You’ll be able to compare your plan with where your business is now and make adjustments to keep things on track.
Continuous Improvement Goals
The Japanese have a great philosophy in Kaizen or ‘Continuous Improvement’. Kaizen offers a more holistic approach than most IT frameworks in that it aims to improve everything in your organization from people to processes to products. Kaizen – a Japanese term that meaning “change for the better” – has been adapted by organisations as a business strategy aimed at establishing an environment of continuous improvement. The aim of Kaizen is to make the business, and its products, services and people, better by implementing small scale changes throughout the company, then standardising them before making another small scale change.
The whole purpose of Kaizen is to identify where processes need development or have broken down and see where the problems stem from. They then find the root cause enabling the business to fix the problem where it starts. In the Kaizen philosophy, every member of the team need to be prepared to find their own mistakes and address them. No one is punished for these mistakes in a Kaizen environment; they’re seen as opportunities to learn and improve.
Keep your team focused and motivated
Keeping your team motivated, believing and committed to your business is a constant challenge. Creating rewards that they come up with attributed to goals that the management team has set has worked well for us to stay motivated all year-round. These rewards don’t have to be financial, especially in the current climate, however they could involve anything, such as a simple respectful pat on the back to celebrate their success in front of the whole team, or a time reward related, or a subscription to Netflix.
Don’t be afraid to branch out
Your team are the strongest part of your business, but when reviewing a new, focused business plan you should never lose site that others can help you build your plans, achieve your goals or give advice not known by the general public. Using networked business associates, or consultants who specialise in specific areas should never be ignored.
Your team may be fantastic in their role, but if you need support or stronger experience in areas such as Health and Safety, or Town Planning then working with a specialist who understands your business can pay itself back to you very quickly.
The key to any new business plan is to get it right, first time, with a vision and a strategy that is both achievable and rewarding. 2020 has given businesses a challenge they have never encountered before. The reward may be simply to keep your business afloat, or it may be to change your whole outlook. One thing is for sure, it needs a commitment: Commitment to thought, teamwork, a positive attitude, honesty and ownership.