Looking Ahead – Business Planning

Is it already November, or is it finally November?  Either this year is flying by, or you can’t wait for 2022 to arrive.  Either way, January is coming at us like a freight train.  For most of us leaders, the next couple of months are a whirlwind of personal and professional responsibilities.  Calendars rarely look consistent in November and December.  And before you know it, we’ll be in the new year!

In a coaching session the other day, I asked the question “What do you want to look back on in January and say ‘In Q4, I did that’?”  The question sparked a conversation about growth, planning, and what the next couple of months need to look like to set ourselves up for a successful transition into the new year.

NOW is the time to look ahead to next year.

What systems need to be in place?  What discussions need to happen with your team?  What products or parts or resources need to be ordered to be set up for first quarter plans? How many employees need to be hired?

It’s easy for us as leaders and owners to focus on right here and right now – especially in the season we’re all facing between the labor crisis and the supply chain challenges, not to mention the upcoming holidays.  It’s not easy to get above the day-to-day operations to see the whole business.

However, the first step to seeing the next few months clearly is to get in the right mindset.


1. Shift to a future-oriented perspective

  • Eliminate distractions.

In the rush of moving from task to task, we can easily forget to slow down and think.  Personally, I must schedule that time.  Giving your brain a break from noise allows you to center and focus, gives your creativity a chance to show up, and offers a time to reflect on the past and dream about the future.

  • Journal

Adding a task to your already-full to-do list might seem impossible, but I cannot stress this enough: reflecting on what’s working and what’s not working can be the key to overcoming obstacles and breaking through to the next level.  Make time for the game-changing habits that can level up your leadership and your organization.

  • Seek external counsel.

As a coach, I get to be this resource for so many high-level leaders.  Talking to someone outside of your organization can help reframe your brain to focus on what really is important and can offer you the accountability you need to follow through with your commitments.

When you’ve carved out time to work on the business instead of in the business, now it’s time to decide what priorities to focus on in the coming months.


2. Determine the upcoming needs of the business

  • Where are we now?

Conduct a current-state analysis of the business.  What are we struggling with?  Where are our metrics?

  • Where do we want to be in 90 days?

These are your goals and priorities for the next few months.  Keeping your goals limited to just the next 90 days will keep you forward-focused without overcommitting.

  • What will it take to get from where we are to where we want to be?

The answer to question three becomes your simple business plan.  Write down the gaps you need to fill.


3. Create a plan that works

  • Make a to-do list.

Write down your commitments that will allow you to get from where you are to where you’re going.  Is there a meeting that needs to happen?  Should you schedule time to train your team on a new system or process?  Do you need to write a report or order new materials?

  • Schedule your priorities.

If it’s not on your calendar, it’s not important.  Set deadlines for yourself and make sure it’s on a calendar that you are reviewing daily.

  • Communicate the plan to your team.

Make sure that your team is aware of the goals you’re setting for the coming months.  If they aren’t aware, they can’t help you get there!  Overcommunicating is a myth.  Tell them and tell them again.

If you follow these steps, you will have a business plan that is simple enough to accomplish and focused in the direction you want to take the business.  Before you know it, January will be here, and your business will be ready to bring in the new year with finesse.

– Coach Becca

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