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The Perfect Time is Now!

12155614_sIt’s “that time of the year” when our calendars are filled with holiday events and there just doesn’t seem to be enough time for everything that must be done. For holiday shopping, as for strategic planning, “It is never too late, but earlier is better than later.”

Whether early or late, finding “the right time” often means finding “an opportune moment.” Many companies never find an opportune moment to start the planning process. Some believe they cannot start their strategic plan for next year until they have ALL the information for the current year available, which means “the right time” is NOW, with the end of the calendar year approaching.

When I was involved in the corporate team at Dayton-Hudson, we would start the planning process seven to eight months prior to the fiscal year end so we could encompass the whole staff who was going to help in its execution. Because we wanted total buy-in, we knew we must start developing next year’s plan early enough to give everyone involved adequate time to work through their ideas for strategy and execution.

The importance of having a plan cannot be overemphasized and the timing has to be thought out carefully.  That being said, if a company was slow in moving forward on their 2014 plan, NOW is the “perfect time” to push forward on developing and perfecting the plan. You cannot go back in time; therefore, now is the right time!

Starting the planning process involves several critical steps:

  1. The first is to call your key team members together.  You need to let them know what your planning process is going to be. Do not procrastinate on enlisting their involvement.
  2. Give them a communication memo showing the current status of their department or division.
  3. Talk about your vision and profit goals for 2014.
  4. Let them know the group will work on a SWOT (strengths weaknesses, opportunities, threats), so they can begin thinking about it.

One year at Paper Warehouse, I made the mistake of telling the staff too much of how I thought the plan should go.  I received far less input and cooperation from my team that year, as they thought that I had already decided the direction and completed the planning. It is important to give your staff just enough to “get them excited” to make them a part of the process.  Give them just enough so they will feel OWNERSHIP in the plan.

The strategic and execution plan is at the core of what guides your business to profitability.  It’s best to start early but, if not, there is no Perfect Time other than Now.  Élanstrategic specializes in strategic and execution planning.  Contact us at 952-960-6688 or for help with your plan for 2014.