Plans for 2013

At our Mayfield Business Forum meeting held on Tuesday 7th January 2013, we discussed “Plans for 2013” and how we could make them realistic and monitor our progress towards achieving them.

Some very good points were raised

  • Write down your goals.  Setting them down on paper (or in electronic format) makes them more concrete in your mind.  It has been shown that those who write down goals are more likely to achieve them
  • Put your goals somewhere where you see them on a regular basis e.g. pin them above your desk, store them on the home screen of your mobile phone or your computer.  You are more likely to be achieve your goals if you are constantly reminded of them and brought back to focus on why you want to achieve them and what are the important tasks you need to do to reach them
  • Break objectives down into manageable chunks.  It may be difficult to see how you can reach ambitious targets so work it out step by step. e.g. break a major task into beginning, middle and end and work out what has to be done at each stage – then break down the beginning again and keep breaking down until you have a first step you know how to achieve
  • Share your goals with others.  We are all more likely to focus on achieving a goal if we have admitted the goal to one, or preferrably more, other people.  These can be a mixture of friends and family who will encourage us and business contacts we respect who may be critical of our plans but can provide guidance to improve them and make them more robust

Chris Lilly took us through the Orbit planning process using the example you can see by downloading Example Orbit and One Page business plans.  On the first page you need to choose the eight axes of the chart.  The axes represent the eight most important areas where the business wants to improve.  The first few will almost certainly be financial (e;g. in the example increase revenue, net profit and reduced cost) but the others will be activities to support the financial goals e.g. developing people, expanding product lines, spending more on development, improving the supply chain, enhancing the brand or any other area of business.

For each axis, you then set the goals for each of the next three years e.g. in the example, focus on management training in 2013, staff training in 2014 and build the company culture in 2015.

The second slide in the presentation shows how you can track 3 major goals (the “What”s) to success..  Up to 8 “drivers”, key tasks that will determine whether you reach the goals, are listed as “How”s and someone assigned to be responsible for each, together with a measure of how to check whether each task is on course.  At the bottom there is a simple “traffic light” system with green showing that a task is on course and yellow that it is nearly there but needs some work, while red indicates a shortfall that needs remedial action.  Regular review of this chart will help to keep you on track.

You can download blank copies of these two slides, so that you can use them in your own business, by clicking on these two links:

In summary of the discussions, if you want your business to succeed, you need to plan.  Your objectives need to be clearly communicated, to yourself and to others, with realistic step by step plans to achieve them,  This will require hard work, but the good news is that there are tools and techniques to help you succeed, as well as people around you to help you with advice and encouragement (especially at the MBF).

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