With January 1 looming, many companies are budgeting for 2019. What does the future bring?
For some companies, it’s pretty simple, look at what was done this year, decide the small ways it will change, and then you’re set! If you are growing or you’re changing your strategy, this process is not so simple. You may know that the future will bring growth or that you’ve got a new target - but how do you get from there to a budget?
If you’ve done your strategy work for the coming year, you have a clear idea of the markets you are targeting and some ideas about how you will connect with them. But that’s not enough. You need to operationalize your strategy by creating a road map of how you will get from where you are today to where to aspire to go.
Some major things to consider:
What does success look like? If you execute well on your strategy, what will your operation look like?
How will each department be affected? Sometimes it’s just hiring additional staff, but it could mean you need to bring someone into your organization who has a specialized skill set
How much will it cost? (the budgeting part) How will you fund the needed improvements? Will the timing work for your cash flow or busy season?
Does the plan seem reasonable to all the key personnel? Everyone who is a “driver” (Making change happen) in your organization should understand where the company is going and what their role is in getting there.
Who will be accountable for what? You need to assign initiatives to specific people who own the execution of those initiatives.
What could go wrong? Better to think of this now and prepare some alternative actions. The future is not always as we planned - what are the major things that could de-rail your plan and how will you respond to them?
Once your plan is set, be sure it has clear goals set for each department. Each department should work those goals down to the individual level, so everyone in the organization understands how they will contribute to the coming year’s plan.
Goals should be:
”SMART” - Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time bound
Clearly define the specifics of any deliverable so everyone understand exactly what is meant by the words being used - example “Create a Web Site” is far too vague.
Assigned to specific individuals who are responsible for their completion. If needed, specify who will collaborate with that individual to work through to the goal’s completion
Create key performance indicators (KPIs) where ever possible to track your progress against goals.
Work your plan!
Your plan should be a living and changing document reflecting the new ideas that come in as well as the tasks that didn’t get executed quite as you planned.
Followup: Make sure tasks happen as you planned or reschedule as needed. If specifics need to change, be sure to document them.
Focus on the top priorities: Consider what is key for success and focus on those items. Things you thought were important may not really need to be first.
Keep the plan visible to everyone so everyone know what has been accomplished and what is left to go.
If you choose to stray from your plan, be certain is it still taking you to the place you want to go. It could be that you’ve found a better way to get to the end, or you may have re-evaluated your entire strategy, but in either case, revisit your entire plan to make sure you are really making a change that will be an improvement.
Celebrate success: As you complete goals or hit major milestones, celebrate! Nothing is more motivating that to know that the team is heading in the right direction and is making progress toward the larger longer term objective.