First Half - Start Strong, Reach for Milestones
Hopefully you’ve spent the better half of November and December finalizing your strategic plan for 2018, and now you’re ready to implement. I consider the first two quarters of 2018 to be the equivalent of the first half of a football game.
The “first half” is when you really put your plan in action, and start tracking your progress. You’ll be monitoring the metrics you set up as part of the overall strategic planning process. By April, you should be hitting your milestones. If you’re not, then you need to really analyze the data. You may have to backtrack and pivot. Do you need a new direction for your sales team? More talent? More equipment?
As you near the end of the second quarter, you’ll be entering halftime. This is where you readjust those projections, if necessary, and plot the course for the rest of the year.
Second Half - Implement changes, Plan for New Year
If you’ve made those second half adjustments, now it’s really time to put the pedal to the metal. If the adjustments are paying off, let your team know you’re heading in the right direction. If not, gather more data to set up your planning for next year.
As you enter quarter four, it’s time to renew your focus on strategic planning. This isn’t always easy for organizations. You may not be accustomed to a disciplined strategic game plan. You may have trepidation about setting goals (and the potential consequences of not hitting them).
That’s backward thinking. Business is a game, and your strategic planning is all about calling the right plays in the huddle. If you get up to the line of scrimmage with no play called, it’s nothing but a mad scramble.
Who Should You Involve in the Planning Process?
Obviously, getting your top management involved in the planning process is critical. But instead of focusing on personnel and titles as you build your planning team, think of it as a balancing act between qualitative and quantitative talents.
You want a planning team that not only has the vision to look toward the future, but also a grasp of your company financials to tell you if that future is viable. Load up your roster with qualitative and quantitative play-callers, and then finish up the year by getting all these players in the same room. When 2019 rolls around, you’ll be ready to continue your winning ways.
Rock LaManna is the author of L&NW's popular column, The Bottom Line. Rock helps printing owners and CEOs use their company financials to prioritize and choose the proper strategic path. He is President and CEO of the LaManna Alliance, and provides guidance on how to grow a printing business, merge with a synergistic partner, make a strategic acquisition, or create a succession plan. Rock can be reached by email at Rock@RockLaManna.com.