A 5-year plan is like using Google Maps for your business.
The official end of summer is upon us and with it, the final last few road trips of the season. It’s second nature to many of us now, whether heading to the elusive campsite out of town or a long-awaited visit to grandma’s house, to turn on our in-vehicle navigation or turn to Google Maps for the best/fastest way there. (I personally treat the suggested trip time as a challenge, but that is a different blog topic!)
All of this is to say that we begin these trips with our destination in mind. When it comes to business, we get hung up on formal terms like “5-year plan” or “long-term” goals. Your 5-year plan is really just Google Maps for your business. You are picking your destination: what your business looks like in 5 years. Think about things like revenue, number of employees, number of clients/customers, are you doing business beyond your local market, what types of clients/customers do you have, how many hours are you working, where are you working from.
Okay – that sounds simple, but where to start?
1. Schedule the time (it can take a day for a small business, a week for a large corporation – depending on how many people are involved in the planning process). Get away from the day-to-day of the business (no phone calls, no email, eliminate – or at least minimize distractions).
2. Follow through with said scheduled time and get started.
3. Choose your destination. Think of all the measurable ways you can describe your business starting with some of the suggestions above. It is important that you try and get specific here. To go back to our Google Maps analogy, you want to pick a city, even better if you give it an address. It doesn’t work as well if all you do is tell it that you want to go 500km. You may not be very happy with where you end up even though you would have achieved your goal of 500km.
3. Don’t sacrifice the good in pursuit of the perfect. We sometimes refer to this pitfall as the “paralysis of analysis”. This is a 5-year plan; you are putting it on paper or into a document. You are not chiseling it into stone tablets. This is intended to be your guide for the coming years. There may be detours on the route, but you can get back on track if you have a clear idea of where you are going.
4. Once you have a clear idea of your destination, you can now add waypoints along your route. These represent your targets for your 3-year plan. You will be on track to get to your 5-year goals if at the end of year 3 the following conditions occur and describe your business in the same “destination” terms as above (usually around halfway).
5. Your 1-year plan (the first leg of your trip) comes from these waypoints. “We know we are on track to make our mid-term goals if, at the end of next year, we have accomplished” … and describe success in the same type of terms as before: annual sales, number of customers, etc.
6. Identify what challenges could impact your ability to achieve your 12-month goals, and then what you need to do to solve these challenges. The “what you need to do” once prioritized and sequenced, becomes your quarterly plan.
7. Pick 2-3 items to be done in the next 3 months. As you accomplish those, pick another 2-3 things in each of the next 3 quarters.
8. Evaluate progress each quarter and at the end of year one. You may surprise yourself with how well you’ve done.
Unsure how to start and then build a successful map to your business success, reach out to the Karve Solutions team for an initial free consultation.
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October 14th, 2021