As a business owner, you know it’s important to look ahead to the future, especially if you want your company to be successful. But between balancing your staff, budget, services, and clients, you may feel like it’s impossible to create a plan that works for your business – and a plan that you will stick to for the following year.

At The Skylight Group, we understand the value of a strategic plan – and we understand how to make it happen for your business. So what are the keys to planning success? Read on to find out.

Put Your People First

Every great business has at least one thing in common – great employees. Without your personnel, you won’t get far in any industry. That’s why we always advise you to include your staff in your strategic planning process. You may be the boss, but they are the ones who will work with your clients, sell your product, and ultimately increase your business. They are the ones on the ground and in the field who can tell you what clients truly need and which services are most important in your market right now.

Including your employees in these decisions also shows them that you value them and the skill they bring to your company. Let your staff contribute to your company’s business plan, and you will find they work even harder to see it through, because they helped create something they are passionate about. Anyone can hire employees to work for them – you want employees who will thrive.

Create A Plan – On Paper

A great plan is really just a great idea until you write it down and look for ways to implement it. Your strategic planning for 2019 likely won’t happen in one afternoon, and you will need to remember which ideas you felt were best suited to your business. You may be able to keep some of those details in your head, but why not take the extra step and commit your strategies to paper? Use a notepad, open a new document on your laptop, or find a file sharing service and get to work.

Another great reason to document your strategy is that, unless you plan to see every detail through all by yourself, you need to let other people know what the next steps for your company are. No one likes to imagine the worst-case scenarios, but let’s say you’re on your way to a strategy session at work and your car breaks down. If you’ve thought ahead and let other people in on your ideas, your team can still move forward with the discussion and put your plan into action. Likewise, if your computer breaks down the day before you present your strategy ideas to the board, you can ask one of your team members to help you out and avoid delaying your plans. Your team is there to work with you – let them help!

Sweat the Small Stuff

When it comes to strategic planning for your business, you probably find yourself considering the big picture, like the major goals you want your company to achieve. But it’s important to remember that the big picture can’t happen – and won’t happen – unless you take the time to cover the little details first. For instance, you may already have a plan for what happens if next year is as successful as this year was, but do you have plan for what to do if you suddenly lost 10% of your revenue? What about 20%? You can’t plan for every single possibility, but it’s important to explore different avenues of the future.

Speaking of the future, you also want to make sure you have a good grasp of which of your services or products will still be relevant through 2019. As different trends and technology emerge, your company needs to stay on top of those in order to remain helpful to your clients and relevant to your industry. Consider making this a weekly part of your duties – you or someone on your team can research market information that will help you know where you stand.

Bring in the Experts

Now that you have decided to make a concrete plan that includes your team and creates a comprehensive vision for your business, you still need to decide one thing: How will you start? As CEO, you may feel it is your responsibility to take on this task and lead your team through the process. While it’s true that now is your time to lead, that leadership may look a little different than an average day at the office. You need to lead your team to the right resources in order to achieve excellence at every step of your plan.

Running a company has taught you a lot about best business practices, which includes consulting the right people for each task. You wouldn’t call your doctor to help you fix your car – and you wouldn’t call in just anyone to help you make a strategic plan for your business. You need someone who is experienced in coaching businesses through the strategic planning process. Bring in an outside expert who is better equipped to be objective about your company’s future and will consequently suggest ideas that you may not have considered. Their objectivity also means you will not just be told what someone thinks you want to hear. Instead, a company like The Skylight Group which specializes in strategic planning will be able to partner with you to learn about your company’s history and ideas for its future, help you decide which items are priorities, and equip you with a step-by-step plan to achieve your business goals.

There are so many things to consider when you’re planning for your company’s future – but we are ready to help. Call us at (317) 416-4369 to learn how we can help you make 2019 the best year yet.

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