30 2012

Navigate Your 2013 Business Plan with Your Own GPS

As one year closes another begins and with 2012 approaching the finish line it’s time to prepare next year’s business plan. Normally, this process can cause more stress than holiday shopping and travel combined. But, have no fear! We’ve got a tool to help you find the best path for your business. Happy holidays! We call it the GPS. When it comes to creating any action plan with achievable results attached, people tend to go one of two ways: 1. No real plan ever gets created, or 2. An overly complex plan with no focus is made. And both tend to lead nowhere.

Obviously, kick-starting the year with no verified destination equals a lot of stopping to ask for directions. But, mapping out an elaborate proposal oftentimes only ends in roadblocks. Can you see why most business plans lie forgotten in a desk drawer by February?

Luckily, years ago one of Gary’s business partners introduced him to a simple, effective approach to writing a one-year business plan, which is sometimes referred to as “1-3-5,” over time we’ve refined and simplified it even more. Today, we call it a “GPS”: One Goal, three Priorities to achieve it and five Strategies to realize each priority.

Here’s how it works.

Plotting Your Company’s 2013 GPS

Keep you company’s GPS short and succinct. Your entire business plan should fit on one page – remember, this is a navigation tool. Like a real GPS, you should be able to tell with a glance if you’re on track or how to reroute quickly.

Plug in your final destination: State your primary goal for the year.

What is your top initiative for the year? What do you want your company to be or have accomplished by year’s end? What does it look like? Think of this – typically one or two sentence statement – as the big-picture goal or outcome objective.

For example, in one of Gary’s recent coaching sessions, a colleague named growth as the main focus for his consulting business in 2013. So, with Gary’s help, he set the goal of a 50 percent year-over-year increase in growth.

Plot your course: State your top three priorities to achieve your primary goal.

If there were three measurable priorities that [if achieved] would virtually guarantee your yearly objective, what would they be? The key here is to make your priorities focused, concise and trackable.

Knowing the objective of growth, Gary suggested his associate’s three priorities might be based around prospecting for new business, marketing for new business andbuilding key relationships for growth.

Identify your routes: State five strategies to achieve each of your three priorities.

Under each priority, list five strategies – or action steps – to accomplish the priority. This is where some creativity and flexibility can happen. Just remember to prioritize your strategies. Think of it as a way of having built-in back up plans. If strategy 1 – plan a – doesn’t achieve the priority, move to strategy 2 – plan b – and so on. You’re bound to find one strategy out of five that works.

Finally, under each larger priority bucket, Gary suggested his colleague and team brainstorm a handful of ways to ensure these three priorities happen.

When you’ve completed your GPS, share it with your team. Take some time as a crew – out of the office – to do a drive through. Modify and agree upon your map. Keep the GPS somewhere visible and check in at least once a quarter to make sure your still on track. If all goes as planned, this time next year you’ll be hearing, “Your destination is on the left.”

What’s your big goal for 2013?