If you love your planning process, it’s probably because the process and investment produce positive results. It keeps you and your team focused, and your plan is the basis for all significant decisions. Everyone knows not only the master plan but also their own piece of it. That’s good planning.

But if your past planning efforts have left you and your team frustrated, you are not alone. It happens far too frequently. The good news is that your annual planning process does not have to be overly complicated and time-consuming.

Here are some proven ways to make planning more simple and effective in your company:

  • Use your planning process to focus your team on what’s essential to improve revenue and bottom line profits dramatically. Any other use of an operational planning process is a waste of time and resources. Then, make the plans meaningful all year long by reviewing actual performance and progress against the plan as a part of your monthly management team meeting.
  • Make sure that each of your objectives can be graphed over time… like sales, the number of new customers, units produced, billable hours, manufacturing yields, and profit. This means that your objectives must be specific, measurable, and dated. If you can’t graph progress towards an objective, it is too vague it will likely not be achieved. Our Planning and Performance System provides a simple and easy way to do this without complicated spreadsheets.
  • The type of business plan you write to get your company funded is almost worthless for running your company. Don’t confuse your funding efforts with running your company. They are vastly different. Commit to a plan for managing your company by having every manager or team write a plan for their business unit, project, or program. The resulting prioritization, focus, clarity, and learning make the process worthwhile. If your team cannot accurately describe the business you believe you are building; they may be building a different business.

Profitability is not an accident, nor is it a guarantee. It always starts with an operations plan! And remember… keep it to One Page!