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Year End Goal Planning

Year End Goal Planning
It’s that time of year to evaluate the past year and create a plan of action for 2009. The first important place to start is checking your attitude. You have to release any fear and discouragement and believe your business can succeed and thrive in these times and in any times. We want you to open your mind to see and believe that your current obstacles and challenges are opportunities that can make your business stronger with proper planning. So let’s get to work.

Review The Past: Before embarking on a new direction, it is important that you evaluate what worked and what didn’t work for your organization over the past year. Importantly, identify which activities have been the most successful in terms of profit, not just income. How is your staffing in terms of experience and productivity? How effective were your systems? Where did you fall short? Where did you excel?

List Your New Goals: Begin by listing all of your goals. For example, how much money do you want to make? What products or services do you want to add to your business? Which ones do you want to discontinue? Do you want to add technology that can streamline your operations? Can you create additional revenue streams off your existing business? How many days of vacation to you want next year?

Be Specific With Your Goals: It is important to add details with each goal, particularly your financial targets. It’s easy to say, “I want to increase sales,” but that doesn’t provide you with a measurable target. However, if you break out each product or service and attach a figure to each offering, you have a real goal to hit and you can track it.   Attach a relevant time frame to hit the goals. Allocate personnel to accomplish the goals. The more specific, the more clearly you can create your vision and attach the realistic resources to accomplish the goals.

Identify Steps: Identify the steps necessary to achieve each specific goal. If your goal is to increase your business sales, then outline the strategies to add more products or services, cut costs, increase prices, increase your web presence, attract more customers, get involved in a new organization, attend a trade show, host a business function, teach your staff how to network, etc.

Estimate The Cost of Your Goals: Put a dollar figure next to each step. The more specific you’ve been with each step, the easier it will be to come up with a range of costs for every goal.

Estimate Time: People tend to underestimate the time that it takes to reach goals. Next to each step, estimate how much time it might take. For example, updating your website may take an hour each day and training your staff may require sending them to a seminar for a day and you may need a temp employee for the day.

Estimate Personnel: It is important to assign people to projects and the defined steps to determine how many people are needed to meet the goal. This will allow you to allocate personnel to projects and determine if you have the appropriate level of staffing, if you have the appropriate skills to accomplish the goals, or if you need to hire or train employees.

Prioritize: Inevitably, you will create a list that requires more time, energy, and resources than you currently have. While that is exciting, it’s very important to prioritize your goals and the related steps to ensure their success. Do not try to do everything! Remember the lessons from the past year, maintain your profit center and prioritize the goals based on the company’s objectives.

Create An Action Plan: This is a very important step. Now that you’ve established your priorities, you need to put your priorities into action. You can have the best goals in the world, but if you don’t take action, you’ve wasted your time and missed opportunities. Action is key! Identify the short term, mid term and long term action items and schedule each step into your calendar by the day, week and month. There is power in seeing the item in your calendar and moving the goal closer to reality.

Reality Assessment:  Take a serious look at your action plan and objectively determine if it’s realistic. Most people tend to get excited during the planning process and tend to be a bit overly ambitious. The goals may look good on paper, but may not fit the realities of the organization as it currently exists. Don’t set your business up to fail by unrealistic planning. Carefully review your plan and re-prioritize if necessary.

Generate Acceptance Of The Plan
: Once you are satisfied with your plan, share it with your organization. Generate excitement and enthusiasm about the goals for the new year and encourage everyone to learn from the past, but leave the past where it belongs – in the past. As the leader, your role is to provide the guidance for the organization, generate buy-in for your plan and turn your vision into results.

Enjoy the process and take the time to fine tune your vision for your company. Define your measure of success, plan for it, take action, and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Here’s to your success!



Joan Jakel-Smith

Business Attorney