Every year you plan for your vacation with the anticipation of getting away and enjoying the fruits of your labors. You know where you are going and you know the way.
The same kind of planning can strengthen your business. A new season of the year is a good time to reflect on what you accomplished in the last year compared to goals you set, steps you took to accomplish your goals, steps that didn’t work, and steps you need to take to strengthen your goals or make new ones.
If your business was better, determine why. Capture those steps that made it better and continue doing them. If your business suffered, what made it worse? Not enough customers? The wrong products? The wrong employees? A poor economy? Focus on how to take advantage of strengths and how to minimize weaknesses.
Now, plot a new business map for the next year. Your objectives should be clearly defined along with specific action steps for specific employees to accomplish, and a timeline by which the steps must be completed.
When you go on a trip with your destination in mind, you must know the way or you will wander aimlessly and squander precious time. In the same way, business planning needs to go beyond setting goals to show how you will accomplish your vision. Just like a road map allows you to stay on course if you have to detour, a thorough business plan gives you the knowledge to understand what to do when you need a course correction. Operating without a plan might find you wandering aimlessly.