New Year’s resolutions or a solid business plan? Part IFebruary 9, 2012
Well, we’ve made it into February and I cannot help but reflect on all those New Year’s resolutions I made in January. After all, we are all familiar with the annual exercise of making New Year’s resolutions aren’t we? Without a doubt, some positive changes come about from making a fresh start, but true to their reputation, most resolutions fade away as the year unfolds. Things come up. New priorities and opportunities appear and the vast majority of resolutions become history until next January is nigh.
In contrast, one of the most effective business practices I can think of is the creation and execution of an annual business plan. This is on my mind because our management team recently approved our plan and each manager is now in the process of fine-tuning their department plans to support our overall plan.
I’ve come to realize that having a plan is good, but the process of creating the plan is probably just as important, and of course the mindfulness and discipline required to carry it out is the most critical part of it all. A finely crafted business plan that ends up gathering dust on a shelf is no better than those long forgotten New Year’s resolutions.
What makes a good plan? Ours has 6 main sections: vision, mission, objectives, strategies, plans and actions. You can think of them as moving sequentially from the grand scheme of the vision with ever-increasing resolution to the actions required to get closer to making the dream come true. Plenty of books and websites illustrate how to create an effective plan and most will suggest it should be concise, even to the point where it will fit on one page. We’ve not succeeded in keeping ours on one page, but we understand the logic of keeping it simple and ours is a little over 2 pages.
Surprisingly, a good plan might not need to change much from year to year. Like a resolution to make a significant lifestyle change, some business plan objectives need several years of persistent effort to get where you want to be.
Our objectives (aka goals) for this year address 5 main areas: customer satisfaction, our employee owners’ satisfaction, tending to our company culture, financial goals and productivity. Having a concise list really helps to stay on track and avoid being distracted or spread too thin.
As I write this, I am pleased with our progress, and continue to address those “resolutions” as we approach the 6th week of 2012. Part II will follow next week.
Harrell Remodeling Inc.