Hello, 2016! On the first day of the new year, almost anything seems possible, especially if you have a plan. So after I finished closing out the books on 2015, I did what I have done every year for the last fourteen years. I put together the framework for my annual business plan. But there are a few key differences this year.
What’s Different in 2016
In the last few years, my plan has become less formal than the ones I wrote in the early years of the business. Back then I needed to prove as much to myself as I did to others, that this was a real business. I felt I needed to demonstrate I had thought through all the possibilities and I was prepared for whatever came my way.
In the early days of my business, I used this small business plan outline. It served me well, laying a foundation I could build on each year. But now I am more comfortable with the ups and downs of the business. There are fewer unanticipated changes so I have switched to a more informal process. The plan focuses on a handful of strategies and key metrics everyone on my team can see every day.
This year’s plan is the most streamlined I have ever written, just a few pages in length. Despite its brevity, it is probably the clearest road map I have ever had because it focuses more on the actions in our business and marketing strategy and less on the outcomes. Sure I have sales goals, but rather than spending hours trying to get the budgets to add up, I spent the time thinking about what Roundpeg would have to look like, and what we would need to do to achieve those goals.
There’s something else that was different this year. I am not creating the plan by myself. For the last 18 months, we have been using elements of the EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) as a foundation for our planning. I really like the simple two-page vision/strategy document which serves as the foundation of all we will do. Using it, the team has hammered out the foundation elements: core values, focus, target customer, what makes us unique and our objectives. I am looking forward to our off-site session in the middle of January where we will fill in the rest of the details, such as goals, key performance metrics and milestones of critical projects.
The open book approach of EOS enables my team to be more involved in decisions because they know more about how the business is performing. With that information it is easier for everyone to see how their actions contribute to the success of the business. As a business owner it can be hard to let other’s in, but it can also be liberating because you have others to share the burdens. That’s probably the most important part of my plan for the next year, sharing my goals with people who can help me achieve them and keep each other accountable so we stay on track.
I am excited about 2016. What about you?