Yearly Strategic Planning
Podcast by Clarence Fisher
yearly strategic planning

About This Episode

What would happen if a small business owner didn't have yearly strategic planning?

The answer is simple: they wouldn't know where to start!

If you want to work smarter rather than harder and grow with purpose, actionable plan is necessary.

It works as a roadmap that is used to identify your strategic goals and objectives, as well as what needs to be done to achieve them.

In this week's episode, we'll discuss why strategic planning is important for small business owners, how to get started with your plan, and some resources that may help make the process easier. Listen now.

author avatar
Clarence Fisher

Disclaimer: The transcription below is provided for your convenience. Please excuse any mistakes that the automated service made in translation.

Clarence Fisher: Hey, what's up. It's Clarence Fisher, welcome back to Local Market Monopoly, and I am absolutely positively sure that you have an annual planning process of your own. If you're a successful business, I am absolutely sure you do it somehow. If not just pulling out a napkin and writing down what you want, to watch you want to have at the end of the year. What I'm going to do today is walk you through the annual process that we do, and then show you a couple of things that we're adding to hopefully even boost our results further. So, number one, I'll give you the process that we use. Number two, uh, tell you the tweaks that we're making that are going to keep us even more motivated to hit our targets. And hopefully you can find some gyms that will help you and your team as well. Stay tuned. We'll be right back.

Clarence Fisher: Okay. I almost said, Hey, let's pay some bills and we'll be right back. That's kind of like TV or something. But like I said before, you've probably already have a planning process about this time of year. We all look to say, you know, take a look back and say, what did we do? And where do we want to go? It's an important thing to do. And if you're anything like me, your planning process has always been annually. And what we're going to try this year is we're going to try to, first, let me walk you through. We will start with a three to five year kind of goal. And typically it's me, selfishly. I will sit back and say, Hey, where do I want to be in five years? What does five years look like? And then I'll just write it down.

Clarence Fisher: Now we know tons of stuff can change and will change between now and five years, but overall what I want to have and be and become doesn't change too much, not at this stage in the game. And then I'll walk that back to three years. What does, what does three years look like and I'll write that down. What does it look like in family? Faith, fun, finances, fitness, fitness is always last. What is it look like? And then I'm going to break those down into what we would normally call our annual goals. Now I have this for personal and then business, of course, the personal is what am I going to do with my salary and what am I going to do with my family? Okay. So once I get all that down and you'll see that we kind of break these, I'm going to break these down in personal and business.

Clarence Fisher: But I've got my goals on the personal side, we'll get with my wife and say, Hey, this is what it's funny how are things go? I'm the planner for sure. I've got things planned for generations. And I'll say, Hey, this is what I'm thinking. What are you thinking? And we kinda just, she was like, okay. Yeah, I'm down with that. So let's go get it. So super easy around here. But on the business side, I'm looking at the year, of course, five year, three year, I'm looking at the year, like, where do we want to be? And a lot of times with me, it's revenue, where do we want the, how much growth do we want? How many new customers is that going to take? What products are we going to launch. And then, I mean we get to that later in the planning, but I will typically start with a revenue goal. And then I will say, Hey, we have these holidays. We'll put a promotional calendar together. But I think what we're going to start doing this year is something that I read about from a site called Scalable. And they've started to not do annual planning at all.

Clarence Fisher: Well, I'm not scrapping annual planning. I do see the benefit of breaking it down into quarters. In fact, years ago, I read a book called the 12 week year. If you haven't read it, I actually bought the course as well because the book was so good "The 12 week year'. And the premise of it is that instead of work, what is it called time? Athletes do it. It's time, something training, not time-restricted or something, but it's basically, instead of saying, Hey, I have 12 months. Imagine if you only had 12 weeks and in the 12 week year, they don't say it's a quarter. They say, no, your year is 12 weeks. Don't think four quarters, think 12 weeks, that's it. So whatever you would get done in a year, typically, how do you get it done in 12 weeks? Meaning you're getting a month's worth of traction in one week.

Clarence Fisher: I mean, it's incredible. So like, let's say if you want it to lose, if most people lose, say 20, say you got 20 pounds to lose instead of taking a year, what will it take to lose that 20 pounds in the next 12 weeks? And so I've been running, I've been doing this experiment for quite a while, and I've missed quite a few of my 12 weeks at the end of the 12 weeks. You take a week off and you kind of shake it out. You know, if it's diet, you kind of eat whatever you want, be sure not to gain back everything that you lost in those four weeks. And then you set another 12-week goal during that week and then you get back on it. You pick the one to three habits or one to three metrics that you will measure to make sure that you are going to hit your target.

Clarence Fisher: For instance, if you're losing weight, you say, Hey, what are the three metrics I need to measure? Maybe it's worked out three times a week, maybe yet, intermittent fasting, 16, 18 hours a day, and maybe it's no carbs or 20 grams of carbs a day. And so you track those metrics. And as long as you're 80% effective on track on that, then you typically hit your goals. So that's kind of a quick overview of the 12 week year. Totally recommend getting that book. If you have not had it now back to the annual plan that we, I picked up at scalable, and it's, they're calling it quarterly, but since I've already done the 12 week year, and I'm familiar with that, I think it fits quite nicely. And so they have a two-part, phase one is the planning and the w and then part two is review and approval.

Clarence Fisher: But if you have a team after you've planned everything with your leadership team, or with yourself, you want to take it and get buy-in from your team. So here are the steps here every quarter. Now, first, go ahead and do your five-year, three year, and your one year, just like you would normally do, but instead of getting, spending a bunch of time on that one year, just write down the outcome that you would really like, okay, what would you rather do have become in that year? And now we're gonna, we're, we're gonna switch to quarterly. And the first thing we want to do is clarify the time period. When does it start? When does it end? So I know mine usually ends around the 21st. So I'll be it's January 1st through March, say 21st. Cause I'm going to a week, that last week of the quarter, you can use that last week of the quarter.

Clarence Fisher: You know, you can go January, February, and March and just hardcore, and then take that first week of the next quarter to do your planning for the next quarter. I like to take the last week of the quarter to plan, celebrate and plan the next quarter, the following quarter, excuse me. So whatever it is, fill that out. And if you've got different companies, you're going to have a sheet for each company, a piece of paper for each company that you're going to do these planning on, but for the sake of this podcast, right now, we're going to this episode right now, we're going to do one company and then choose a theme for this year. Now, this is nothing new to them or, or us we've always chosen a theme. It was asking my buddy Mike Cooch, that put me up on that years and years ago, to choose a theme.

Clarence Fisher: What's the theme of this quarter? Okay. Are you launching something new? Are you systematizing everything? You're scaling everything. Is this the quarter you're going to finally get profitable? The quarter is the pandemic and you think it's going to only take three months to get back and you just need to survive. What's the theme of this quarter. And the theme is what you're all going to rally around to push you to hit your targets. Okay. And speaking of targets, I love the way Mike did it with his team. And he's like, whatever the theme was, they posted stuff all around the office. Like if it was Vegas, they had roulette machines. And they had all this stuff around the office to remind them of their theme because if they hit their target, they're going to Vegas, but whatever your theme is, I mean, that's kind of on the reward, but whatever your theme is, that's your rally cry for this quarter.

Clarence Fisher: Now, speaking of your targets, we got to select our north star metric. What is that metric? That if we hit it, it's going to pretty much guarantee we get the result we want. Now. I like what they talk about as far as, Hey, you know, it's hard to just narrow it down to one metric. So let's go with, uh, number one, pick your north star metric. What is number one? Is it new conversations? Is it new leads? What's the number one metric that you're going north star metric that you are going to measure? Well, then also don't feel shy about adding two to three more metrics. No more than that. No more than say four or five metrics that you are measuring. There's the number one, then got these sub metrics that you can measure. And these are going to be the things that you've got on your scorecard that you're going over with your team every day. You know, what's the scorecard look like for those metrics.

Clarence Fisher: And within that, we want to start now figuring out what are the key initiatives. They say, let's talk about strategic pillars. Like within your theme, there are three or so pillars that, or sub-themes that work within the major theme that you need to get done that people need to buy into. You know, for example, one of the examples that they gave is, if your theme is scale up, one of your sub-themes could be, grow the team. So you need to grow the team in order to scale up. Okay. So take your theme. And then what are the three, four things that you need to do, kind of sub-themes of your theme, and those become your key initiatives. Okay. So in that case, or to scale up, you got to grow the team. All right. So what, what do we need to do? That's one of your key initiatives. If it's a revenue goal, then you need to create another product or scale one of your other products. Then what initiatives do we need to do in order to hit that?

Clarence Fisher: So, once you have those initiatives, you have the metrics that you need to keep an eye on in order to hit those initiatives, look at last year and see where you are as far as those metrics go, how many appointments did you get? How many sales did you get? How many new leads did you get, whatever your metric is, what did it look like last year? Okay. What do you think it needs to be at the end of this quarter? I said last year, but let's break it down in the last quarter. What does it need to be at this quarter in order for you to realize your goal? Well, of course, you know, the difference between what you had and where you need to be, or where you are right now and where you need to be is the gap. And so now you're going to go to work to fill in that gap.

Clarence Fisher: So to clarify it, you have the time period clarified, you have chosen a theme for this quarter, you've decided on your north star metric. What's the number one metric that we're going to measure for sure that if we hit that we're going to hit our goal, then you can choose up to one to three more metrics. Okay. Uh, decide what your key initiatives are going to be your three to four key initiatives that are your sub-themes or sub pillars. I'm just going to say, these are your projects that you are wanting to get done. And now that you have it, let's go review it with your team and get it approved. And the reason we want to review with your team, like, I don't have different levels of leadership in my business.

Clarence Fisher: So I personally take it to my team and let's gather around and say and this is if I've done it myself, okay. I'm like, all right, this is what I feel like we need to do. Can you, how do you feel about this? And, you know, Florence may be like, Hey, you're forgetting that we have this. And I'm like, oh yeah, I did forget about that. I didn't, I forgot we had that. We're not done with that yet. But, yeah, I did. I did forget about that. Maybe Christine will jump in and say, Hey, as a matter of fact, this is also, I mean, this right here. I mean, I'm not saying that we can't do it, but, and so we have that feedback because they're the ones on the frontline, frontline, right?

Clarence Fisher: So I do this, I do a lot of consulting. I'm doing strategy and any more, I started a company and I was doing all the hands-on, hands on, hands on. But you know, as far as creating ads and stuff like that, I don't really, I don't do that anymore. I'm more on the strategy, the copy, and all that stuff. So I guess what I'm saying is they can have a better idea of the flow, the project flow that's coming in. And I need to take all of that into consideration. Now, of course, if you have a leadership team and your leadership team takes it to the boots on the ground, and then they feedback to your leadership team, and then you have one more meeting with your leadership team, you could do it that way. If you have a smaller team, kind of like I do, then it's me getting the feedback from them on what I feel like we can do.

Clarence Fisher: Okay. And then I edit it, bring it back. Hey, what do we think about this? Okay. And finally, we get something that we can all buy into. And at this point, I'm going to bring up something that is going to happen. If we hit these goals, you know, at the end of this 12 weeks, the end of this quarter, that's not something that they had brought up. But this is where I'm like, Hey, the bonus is looking like this, or it's going to be a weekend at a resort for everybody. If we can, if we can hit this goal, this is after we get the buy in. After I, after I yeah, we can do that. Now let's get excited about it. Okay. So what we're changing this year is that we're breaking it down to quarterly or what I want to call the 12 week year implementing that 12 week year. And this, I mean, this integrates very tightly with the 12 week year is periodic training. It's, that's what it's called and athletes do it and it's these 12 weeks let's go with that instead of the annual planning, because what happens, what happens every year is you think you have enough time to hit your goals. If you're, if you're behind in Q1, you're like, Hey, I got three more quarters. Right.

Clarence Fisher: And then, but you never catch up. Or if you do, hats off to you, but it's hard to catch up, it's hard to stay motivated. So this really, really helps. And I like to know, you know, what you do for your planning. If you have something different, if you like this, let me know. All right. So hopefully it helps. And hopefully, you can hit your goals this year. Cause I mean, I'm setting some pretty cause we have to make up, make up for the whole COVID business. So I was setting some pretty aggressive goals for 22 and I think we're going to hit them. So if this helped you, be sure to comment and subscribe, if you have not leave us a rating on iTunes or wherever you listen to it, and this is what, this is what, I'm gonna see you next week. Um, but this is what I want you to do. I want you to take what you learn, go out market the market, and own the block.


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