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How Important is Annual Planning?

The New Year has started! Do you have a plan?

Importance of Annual Planning

With 2015 over, have you started your annual planning?  Do you know the importance of planning for your business?

There are a many different ways a business can go about developing their annual plan. Whichever process you choose, there are a few things that every annual plan should include.

A Clear VisionImportance of Annual Planning

The first thing your annual plan should provide is a clear vision of what you want to accomplish. This should include S.M.A.R.T. goals.  As the organizational leader, your goals should be to establish a clear cut idea of where you and your company want to be by the end of the year.

Focus on Improvement

The second part to your annual plan is to focus on improvement.  Every business should have the focus and dedication of always wanting to make their business better.  Developing the annual plan is a good time to sit down and reflect on how you can do things better. Possibly advertising or additional training. How about networking or even trade shows.

The Follow-up Process

A third thing to consider is the follow up process.  Once you set up what your vision is and how you want to improve, then ask how you are going to make sure you reach those goals. Having a system in place to monitor your progress is key to your plans and organization’s success.

Financial Planning

Another crucial part of any annual plan is budgeting.  For any business to be successful you need to have an accurate idea of what your finances will be moving forward.  The first important part of your yearly budget is projecting your income.  Based on your income in the previous year, and factoring in economic conditions and growth, you should be able to get an idea of your projected income.  Then you want to compare your projected income to your expenses.  You can look at your past year expenses across all of your functional areas, and factoring in growth project your year-end expenses.  This gives you a good start for a yearly budget.

Importance of Annual PlanningThe most crucial part of any annual plan is making sure you have a system in place to check that status of any business segment or interval at any given time.  So when developing your plan it’s a good idea to work in metrics to measure your initiatives, and whether or not you are on track to reach your goals.  Then, implementing time to check the status is the next step.  These can be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly checks.  This will also help you to quickly and easily identify any problems that may arise.

While not all businesses are the same, following this basic outline will help you begin down the path of business planning for the year to come.  There are a variety of ways to go about developing your plan, but knowing the importance of annual planning and having a plan is in place will get your year off on the right path.

Have You Made Your Plan Yet?

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