Accelerate your business with an effective annual plan

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If you fail to prepare then prepare to fail. A phrase we’ve all heard and will continue to hear for many years to come because it’s true.

Business owners who are enthusiastic about accelerating their company, whether that’s from the expansion of services to growth in profit, need a thorough and effective plan to achieve the results they desire.

But where does one begin when approaching the annual plan?

We’ve listed some core areas to consider when producing an annual plan which will be effective in helping you accelerate your business.

It’s worth noting if you’re not a business owner then the following points can still be transferable into other roles and possibly your personal life.

1. What do you want to achieve with your business?

Everything you do should play a part in your long-term ambition for the company.

From major projects to minor decisions, if what you set out to achieve isn’t aligned with your long-term goal it should be left out of your annual plan.

Be mindful of what you, as a business owner, wish to achieve within the next three, five or even ten years. Keep your annual plan focused on these goals.

2. Set realistic goals which won’t guarantee failure

Many plans can be too ambitious to the point they are destined to fail before they have been implemented.

If you have a goal to achieve within three years, such as generating £500,000 worth of business, split that goal up into three realistic checkpoints and work towards them each year.

Perhaps you have a plan to sell your business within five years, then include five core actions to achieve over the forthcoming five years to make that intention a reality.

Being realistic with the goals you set has a huge effect on your attitude and enthusiasm to see positive results.

3. Understand what’s happening in your market

If you’re selling oranges when the orange industry is declining, you must be prepared to adapt and start selling apples instead.

The reality of economics is it isn’t just about what you wish to achieve but what your target audience is investing in and wish to have.

If you fail to understand what your market is, and who your target audience is, your annual plan will certainly not accelerate your company.

4. Detail is important…

…and it’s essential to keep you on track. Without specifics in your annual plan, you are leaving yourself susceptible to going off on tangents and becoming distracted from your real long-term goal.

Be mindful that too much detail can also distract you from reacting to what’s happening in the world – so always allow room to analyse what’s going on in the present day and how your business can be a part of that.

Single-mindedly following everything you planned at the beginning of the year, some of which may have become irrelevant part-way through the twelve-month period, also prevents you from being resilient. This can be a threat to any business.

5. Ask the opinion of someone who isn’t a part of your business

Get a second pair of eyes to take a look at your annual plan. But do choose wisely, perhaps a business partner, colleague, or even a coach.

6. Embrace new tools to help you keep on track

There are numerous tools available to support people with bringing their annual plan to life.

Software such as Trello, Asana and Monday can be useful systems to use as you look towards the next twelve months, although we make no recommendations in respect of any of the software mentioned.

7. Change your attitude towards your annual planning forever

Your annual plan has the power to reinvigorate the journey your business is on – as well as your professional journey too – so take the time out to invest in bringing everything together to produce something that will help you accelerate your long-term aims and objectives.

In summary, however, you choose to approach your annual plan it’s important that those affected by it are enthusiastic about helping you achieve it. Make sure that they understand the Golden Thread linking goals and targets to the long term business aspirations and crucially involve them in the development of the plan.