How to Create a Foundation for Business Success for the Year

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Do you ever get to the end of a month, a quarter, a year... and you’ve made money, but you’re ultimately going in a circle?

I know what it’s like. That’s why it’s so important to create a foundation for the year by conducting an annual planning process.

I’ve been a part of lots of different high-potential teams, but they often failed to get beyond one-off projects because there is no long term plan.

Further, a lack of meetings leaves team members entirely out of sync with each other and fails to create a motivating context for their work. Conferences are a topic for another day, but here’s the exact process I walk my clients through for annual planning:

Five Steps to Annual Planning

First, create a non-financial measurement of success for your business. Is it several clients serviced? Square feet of windows washed? Members in your Facebook group? What represents success for your business?

Second, pick an achievable financial goal. Achievable financial goals for the year will serve to create momentum to the end of the year. Specify whether it’s revenue or profit.

Third, brainstorm all of the possible projects that would help get you there. Is it a promotional campaign? What medium? Do you need to expand or contract services? Create better customer onboarding?

Fourth, pick just four of those goals to tackle for each of the four quarters of the year.*

Fifth, break it down into 30-day segments.

Lastly, load it directly into your project management system and create specific descriptions for each task such that any team member can pick it up.

Caveats to Planning

You may realize that some projects you initially picked for 90-day projects may be accomplished in 30 days and that’s fine. Meetings should allow for review, the addition of, and cancellation of projects.

*Now, an important distinction to make here is the difference between your internal and external delivery teams. Let’s say you’re a landscaping business. People who perform landscaping for your clients are part of your external delivery team. People who work ON your business are part of your internal delivery team.

If you don’t have an internal delivery team, create a job description for what kinds of things you need to be done once the projects are selected. The better your internal delivery team, the faster you can grow.

Had I known this process coming into many of the projects I was invited into early on, it would have completely changed the direction of things.

Use it. Stick to the plan. Prosper!


Matt Wright

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Matt Wright is the founder of Matt Wright Consulting where he helps businesses create task assignment and communication systems that lower noise and increase productivity and profits.

MattWrightConsulting.com