Setting Business Goals for the Future
Warning! Most company goals begin to collect dust the day after they are conceived. Strategic Planning Meetings to discuss future business plans are a must.
Strategic business planning departments for large companies employ many employees, contract with consultants, and integrate with every other department. Medium and small business owners should learn from big companies and place higher importance on planning for the future.
Future Business Plans VS Planning Too Many Years Ahead
Many professional business coaches have changed long term goals away from the ten-year benchmark in the 1990s and before three years. The rationale for this change has been the upgrade over the years from courier delivery of documents to fax machines and then to email and form sharing online. Exceptions are companies with a very long turnaround time on a production like aircraft manufacturers or commercial contractors who build skyscrapers.
Putting together a three-year plan requires several steps in the preparation process. A great way to begin is to brainstorm together with all company stakeholders and put the ideas down on a mind map. Spend time looking at the pictures and even revisit it several times over the following few days or weeks, fine-tuning it along the way. Transfer several of the top priority ideas from the mind map to a Gantt chart or timeline. Put down measurable goals for three years into the future. An example would be “increase customer base to 1450” rather than “gain more customers.”
Strategic Planning Sessions: Off or On-Site Meetings to Discuss Long Term Goals
Three-year goals are a great start but do not help much if left alone in a notebook or even in a frame on the wall. After setting these long term goals, they should rest for about a week. It allows the creative juices of all business stakeholders to operate. The next step is revisiting the goals and breaking them down into one-year measurable milestones.
Every three months is an excellent time to revisit the goals and assess what changes need to be made. Every six months, or at least every year, new three-year goals should be set based on how milestones have been met. As planning occurs, it is crucial to consider planning other factors that will affect the feasibility of reaching company goals. These might include evaluating existing employees’ capabilities and considering where replacements should be made with better employees; adjusting budget goals to parallel company goals; aligning customer service and outside sales goals, and evaluating pay structures.
Post Planning after the Long Term, Strategic Planning Meeting
After goals and milestones have been set, it is essential to communicate these milestones often and frequently. Yes, that was on purpose. Company goals and milestones can not be discussed too often. Yearly plans will need to be broken down into short term goals and then into weekly milestones and daily tasks. Following this pattern of breaking down larger goals into daily tasks is the best prescription for business success.