Your 2013 Business Strategic Planning

You Must PLAN to Make 2013 GREAT!.
How are you going to make next year GREAT? Can your life be PLANNED?
No, this is not another one of those annoying end-of-year, goal-setting advice columns we ALL hate!
What this post IS about is charting a new course to a desired future, by creating your own personal strategic planning guide. Have you planned what you’re going to do next year, to change your life? Want to change the world? GREAT, but how are you going to accomplish that? Through strategic planning.
In order to achieve true change, we all have to PLAN our strategy to achieve success. After all…a plan that isn’t written down is only a DREAM.
You won’t be able to achieve your goals until you commit them to writing. Every day I work with people to help them plan their career strategies, and their business strategic planning initiatives. I see first-hand how few people actually make the effort to write a plan so they can chart their progress against tangible benchmarks.
Most people leave their fate (their very FUTURES) to chance, as they fly by the seat of their pants. Somehow, without a plan they still miraculously expect positive things to simply “happen” to them. They react to situations life presents, rather than chart a course for success by actively managing their future.
Visualization is the Key to Success!.
The first thing you need to do is visualize a future in which you are fully “ENGAGED” and are pursuing your life’s passions by doing what you love to do. Close your eyes! Go ahead. It’s what world-class athletes do, in order to see themselves being successful. So, close your eyes. Good! What does such a future look like? Write down everything. Are you working for someone else? Yes? What are they like? What is the organization’s culture? Does it fit into your personal values and beliefs? What are the people like? Where is your workplace? What are you doing?
Now that you have a detailed image of your ideal workplace, conduct research on 18-32 organizations (ideally 6-8 firms in each of your 3-4 preferred target industries) that fulfill your needs. You are developing your very own personal career strategic planning document, which I create for my job search clients.
Do you want to start your own business? If yes, then ask yourself: “Why do I want to start this type of business now?” Another excellent question to prime the pump: “What makes me uniquely qualified to be successful launching this business?” Asking such brutally honest questions will help you to identify a potential niche you might fill in your chosen industry.
You need TWO things in order to plan, launch, and grow a successful business. The first thing you must have is the passion/energy to see your business planning through from idea generation (concept development) all the way through to successful launch/commercialization. The other thing you must have is the technical expertise and know-how (proficiency) to navigate launching the business. Where your technical skills overlap with your passions is your ideal “SWEET SPOT” of potential business ventures that you should pursue. Being passionate but lacking expertise is futile, and being an expert in a field but lacking passion is also a recipe for failure!
Time for Goal-Setting.
To plan anything, you must write down your short-term (next 3 months) and longer term goals. For job seekers, I recommend your own personal 40-year plan (let me know if you want a copy.) Begin by stating your current situation and then go forward in 5 year increments to define what your ideal future career benchmark looks like at that point in as much detail as possible. For entrepreneurs, small business owners and start-ups take classes! Check out WIBO, the NYC Business Solutions Center, SUNY Levin Institute Fast Trac program, Small Business Administration.
Engage your college/University Alumni Relations department for professional business networking, join relevant trade associations, explore business incubators that are popping up all over the place, and find your local Small Business Development Center and Economic Development Center, as well as your local business merchant associations like the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Elks Club, Kiwanis Club.
Go Back to School.
Sign up to take classes in a continuing education and professional studies program that will provide you with the skills you need to plan, launch and grow your business. Some good ideas include professional selling, public speaking, business communications, social media, internet marketing, blogging, financial planning, operations, etc.
Create a TO-DO List.
Using a task list is an excellent strategy to employ, in order to keep track of all the things that you need to accomplish. It will also enable you to monitor your progress in achieving results. A comprehensive action plan includes the following:
* List of tasks with descriptions for each;
* Start & End dates;
* Priority level (1 is a top priority, 2 is a VERY important task, and a 3 is a get it done when you can);
* Status (open, planned, in progress, completed);
* Owner (the person responsible for completing the task);
* Contributors (those people you will need help from, in order to complete the task); and
* Contingencies (anything that will prevent you from accomplishing the task (lack of resources, funding, expertise, time, etc.)
Get Started TODAY!.
Start your planning NOW! January first is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER. Are you an entrepreneur, start up working on a new business venture? Email me for my business planning template guide for step-by-step instructions on how to craft a compelling business plan.
Want to make 2013 a success? It all starts with PLANNING! Put your eggnog and those Christmas tree lights down right now. Start writing your 2013 strategic planning document. Do not watch “Miracle on 34th Street” or “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Instead, fill your life with miracles by planning.
Here is to a great, successful, achievement-filled 2013!
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach