— October 2, 2018
Don’t get left behind; take ten minutes now and jumpstart your 2019 strategic plan.
Strategic planning can seem overwhelming. There’s no time today, and tomorrow never comes. You blink, and it’s the beginning of April. The first quarter is history, and you’re living day to day and minute to minute, hoping that the year will turn out right.
Meanwhile, competitors are forging ahead. They are launching new products, capturing the market, and in some cases, edging you out.
A strategic plan can help set your direction, assess your position and effectively focus efforts. But as much as you appreciate its value, you can’t seem to find time to launch a full blown analysis.
Something is better than nothing. Take ten minutes, answer six simple questions, and set a framework for the new year. Take more time if you want, but even the quickest top of mind responses can set you in a productive direction. If time permits, elaborate on the framework with a more robust strategic planning session, but for now, focus on the basics.
Six Questions to Jumpstart Your 2019 Strategic Plan
- What are your goals? Where do you want to be at the end of 2019, as well as ultimately? Keep your short term and long term goals in sight as you set your plans.
- What worked well for you this past year? This includes the products that were winners, the clients you especially pleased, the marketing channels and messages that worked, the processes which were efficient and effective, and anything else which was a winner, and which propelled your business forward.
- What were the disasters? This is the new hire who didn’t make it past probation, the unhappy customer who launched a viral campaign on social media, the product which is gathering dust on fifty pallets in your warehouse, and any other “chalk it up to experience” experiences.
- Given # 1 and #2 above, what are you going to do differently next year? What are your lessons learned? Are you going to change policies, or launch a new product? Are you determined to build additional strategic partnerships, or blog regularly, or look for a different target market?
- Given #3, what specifically are you going to do, and what is your deadline? Be realistic. One or two specific tasks with deadlines you meet are far more effective than ten great ideas which you never implement.
- Are you committed to the task or tasks you’ve set in #4? Be honest. If you’re indifferent, don’t bother. Set yourself up for success. Identify a project which is small enough to accomplish, which will move your business forward. When you’ve succeeded in it, find your next project.
Acting on the six questions will generate productive movement. If this is all you do, you will be further ahead than if you did nothing.
But maybe the six questions can be the catalyst to jumpstart your 2019 strategic plan on a broader scale. You might convene a brainstorming and planning session with major stakeholders, or do an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) for your business. The six questions might open the door to a more comprehensive plan, with specific goals, objectives and tactics.
Regardless, invest the ten minutes and don’t be left behind by competitors. Jot down your top of mind responses, and take directed action, no matter how small, to move closer to your short and long term goals for your business.