The Top 7 Business Planning Questions To Ask Yourself On An Annual Basis

To-do list book.
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Business Plans:

We are getting close to the end of the year. Many owners, executives, managers and supervisors will begin their end of the year planning in the next few months. Here are the top 7 questions that I believe you should ask yourself if you are in that group.

  1. Am I still passionate about what I am currently doing? – This really is an important question. I good friend of mine always says “Chose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life”. This is because when you feel passion for what you are doing it is not work. You will constantly feel energy around what you are doing. Instead of looking for reasons to call it a day you will look for ways to extend your day. This means your mind will be working to find opportunities 24 hours a day.
  2. How much of an opportunity is there in my current business or profession if I knock the cover off the ball? What the maximum upside for this business or career? – Many times people tend to think in terms of just making it or getting by. They look at things from a scarcity mentality not an abundance mentality. They are concerned that there is not enough to go around. The total opposite should be your thinking. How big can this business truly become? What could we do if we were working at maximum capacity? This will help open your mind and the minds of those who work for you to what is truly possible.
  3. What are the things that need to be done on an annual, monthly and weekly basis for us to be number 1 in our business market? – Start with the end in mind. Think about what you would want things look like in a year.  Then think about what is actually standing in the way of allowing that to happen. Then determine what has to occur over the next year to eliminate those obstacles. Next take those items into monthly and weekly tasks lists. Determine whether these are things you are going to do, assign someone else to do or shelf for the time being.
  4. Am I too focused or spread too thin? – What was just right last year may not be just right now. There are times when we place too many things on our plate. This means you have to evaluate whether or not someone else could accomplish a given task more efficiently or at a lower cost. The tendency to do things ourselves instead of having someone else to them is strong. The problem is we may be able to pay someone less on an hourly basis then your cost. The other situation is there are more profitable activities that you could spend your time doing. The flip side is sometimes during a downturn or lull period your time could become underutilized. It is good to take a break if this is a temporary situation. It this becomes a long term trend you may need to cut back on staffing and take on some duties yourself or reassign some to other employees.
  5. How can I get the highest return on investment for my time? – Looking at your unique skill set, what should you be doing the get the most return for your value? There are things that only you may have the skills to accomplish. If those are high revenue generating activities then you should put them on the top of your to do list. If they are not high revenue producers then you need to hire someone from the outside or train someone from the inside to accomplish those things and move on the higher revenue generators.
  6. What employee, client or vendor can I touch today to have the greatest financial impact on my business in the next 12 months? – Look at everyone you touch on at least a monthly basis and evaluate the previous question. This helps you allocate your time to have the most impact. There should also be a second group that your feel will have a financial impact on your business over the next 5 years.
  7. Where are my hidden gems that I am not maximizing?-  Take the time to look at the things that are not obvious. What is there about your business that could be changed, tweaked or modified so that instead of being revenue losers or revenue neutral they could become revenue positive. Many times we overlook opportunities that lie right in front of us.

This is a list that will be very helpful as you prepare to plan for the coming year. You may think that it is a little early to do so but I would disagree. If you begin to think about these things now you will not simply be making up things when that actual time rolls around for yearend planning.

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