Is annual planning dead?

As business owners reflect on another year grappling with COVID-19, economic uncertainty and political unrest, it may appear annual planning has lost relevance.

How can you use the traditional approach of setting static timelines, actions and goals when the situation and future can turn on a dime at the whim of a decision made by the Government?

In order to maintain momentum during uncertain times of rapid external influence, the key to success is continuous and agile planning. With consumer behaviour rapidly changing and the emergence of new technologies allowing business owners to discover innovative new ways of doing business, the future is promising for business owners who can remain flexible and determined to achieve their goals. 

Quarterly plans and monthly strategic reviews complimented by day-to-day adjustments will help business owners make informed data-driven decisions in their pursuit to sticking to an annual plan. 

Here are some ways to embrace agile planning: 

  • Think long-term but implement short-term by breaking down big business goals into incremental objectives. 
  • Outline quarterly, monthly and weekly goals and further define them by 24 hour tactics that will help you meet your objectives.   
  • Schedule daily huddles and weekly team catch ups to ensure collective awareness around current affairs and the opportunity to pressure test tactics to ensure your approach is still relevant. 
  • Assess potential risks or obstacles that could derail your plans and map out how you could tackle them should you need to face them.
  • For major projects, consider engaging key stakeholders early in the planning phase to assess the project viability and establish control frameworks to handle any obstacles that could impact the project.
  • Have clear start, stop, continue benchmarks for existing projects and include contingency planning as part of the project assessment.
  • Consider investing in customer research to make data-driven decisions and understand your customers on a deeper level.
  • Allocate funds based on your consumer’s current behaviors and what’s been successful for your business in the past 90 days.

Check out the sixty:forty Business Bootcamp, where annual planning features as a key strategy to reboot and transform your business.

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