As each year comes to an end, it’s time to start planning for the new year. Unfortunately, creating an annual plan can seem like a scary, tedious and time consuming process. If you’re like many others having trouble creating a plan, don’t worry – we’ve got your solution right here! Here’s a quick guide to creating your plan in the next 15 minutes!

Break it down

First, look at the key areas within your organization and identify goals specific to each area. Many SMB organizations may start with something like this:

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Operations/Customer Service
  • Manufacturing

Keep it simple and specific

The key to having a successful plan is to limit your answer to 2-3 goals for each area, and to make them as specific as possible. Use the sample table and change the goal areas for your organization and your specific department. As you define each goal, capture where your organization stands today and where do you want to be a year from now. Your goal can have a broader time range (3 or 5 years, for e.g.) if you so choose.

 

Goal Area Goal 2014 – year end situation 2015 – Desired Goal
Sales Increase sales by 25% 2014 sales – 3.2M$ 2015 Sales – 4.0 M$
Sales Add 10 new direct clients 8 direct customers 18 direct customers
Marketing Increase lead generation in the Southeast region by 40% Purchased list – 300 leads per mo.

Conferences/Mtgs – 1/mo

Purchased list – 600 leads per mo.

Conferences/Mtgs – 4/mo

Trade shows – Attend 1 show per. Qtr

Ops/Service Resolve customer issues/inquiries faster Avg. # of interactions to resolve issues – 3

Knowledge usage – 12%

Avg. # of interactions to resolve issues – 2

Knowledge usage – 30%

Manufacturing Reduce time to complete order by 20% Avg. Order turnaround time – 10 business days Reduce order turnaround time to 8 business days

 

There – you’ve done it! 

Congratulations – you now have a plan for 2015! Go ahead, print it out, and share it with your team!

Once this is done, you will want to focus on the ‘how’ to accomplish each goal. Look at the strengths in your team and the opportunities (and challenges!) in front of you to see how you can leverage that talent and information appropriately.

Invest in technology (where needed)

In many cases, translating these goals into action requires an investment in technology. For e.g. moving from outdated systems (or a lack of systems) to a new solution, or adding additional features and functions to an existing system can be a critical component of achieving these goals. Without a system that generates clear, actionable reports on a timely basis, most organizations have very little feedback on what they need to do to stay on track.

We’re here to help

SPAR Solutions has many years of experience helping our customers do exactly that – we take the goals of our clients and work with them to create solutions that are very well aligned with those goals. Reporting and training are key areas of focus when implementing a new system – you want to ensure that users are able to use the new system effectively, and get the feedback that helps them reach those goals. [Contact us]

If you are able to blow past these goals before the year is out – congratulations! You are staying focused on your goals and you have a winning team. Repeat this process as often as you can and look to cash in on your success!!

Thanks and good luck in 2015!