Business planning: The secret sauce for business success

It’s all too easy to get lost working in your business and lose sight of the big picture. Businesses that thrive know where they’re going and how they’re going to get there.

  • Where you’re going – that’s your strategic plan.
  • How you’re going to get there – that’s your annual plan.

Assuming your strategic plan is sorted (if not, give us a shout – we can help with that), it’s time to focus on your annual plan. If you’d like a process to follow, here are the steps we take at Greenhawk.

1. Prioritise planning

We lock in a one to two day planning session at the start of every calendar year – straight after the summer break and before we even think about client work – to get ourselves focused, aligned and charged for the year ahead.

2. Review big picture & set targets

We start the session by reviewing our strategic plan, fine-tuning as needed.

  • As owner-operators, we first ensure the long-term goals of the business remain in alignment with our personal goals.
  • We then revisit our vision, mission, ideal client, SWOT and PESTLE.
  • Next, we take a look at how each area of our business is performing.
  • Finally, we set targets for the year ahead – financial goals around net profit and revenue, performance goals around efficiency and effectiveness, and holistic goals around wellbeing, community and the environment.

3. Build annual plan

Next, we work through the areas of focus required to achieve these targets. We ask questions like:

1. Do we have the structure we need to deliver our goals?

  • Does our financial model stack up?
  • Is our pricing set at the right level?
  • Do we have the required marketing and sales ability?
  • Should we hire more staff, or outsource?
  • Should we engage external experts?
  • Who will hold us accountable?
  • Are our systems and processes working for us?

2. Do we have the funding we need to deliver our goals?

  • What does our cashflow forecast look like?
  • Do we need to consider lending or external investment?

3. How can we make the most of trends and mitigate risks identified in our SWOT & PESTLE analysis?

Taking all of this fodder, we develop a set of key projects for the year. We rank them in order of importance, create a set of actions for each, and – importantly – assign deadlines and resources committed to complete them.

Tip: Break it down. We like to break our plan into quarters. 90-day blocks keep focus and motivation levels high. Quarterly blocks also work well for reviewing progress.

Tip: Keep it sweet. No one wants to read pages of detail, and neither will you three months from now. Keep your action plans short and sweet.

4. Review on the regular

It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day running of your business. If this continues on, your goals may slip away. Scheduling monthly or quarterly progress reviews with an accountability partner is a powerful way of staying energised, motivated and on track. We can help with this – check out our Quarterly Review service below.

And that’s it. Annual business planning can seem like a mammoth task, but it doesn’t have to be. It can also seem tedious – it’s not! We find it exciting and invigorating ☺

ACTION: Schedule one or two days of Annual Planning into your calendar right now.
(1) Let your clients know that you’re reopening a couple of days later than you actually are;
(2) Dedicate these days to planning and set your business up for success.

Stuck? We're here to help.

We love partnering with business owners – seeing our clients succeed is one of the most rewarding parts of this job!

If you’d like personalised support with any of the above, check out these Greenhawk services:

Quarterly Coaching

Designed for business owners who are passionate about performance. We’ll educate and support you to make better business decisions. Each quarter we’ll analyse your financial results, identify areas for growth, set 90-day goals and identify strategies to achieve them, holding you accountable along the way.

Business Plan Development

Designed for business owners who want strategic commercial guidance to set their direction. Leaning on extensive cross-industry experience, one of our senior partners will walk you through the development of your strategic or annual business plan. Start the new year energised & confident with a robust plan for success.

Give us a call to find out more...

Darrin Brown

Director, CA

Darrin Brown

Director, CA

027 836 1927

Auckland, Wānaka, Queenstown

Paul Struckman

Director, CA

Paul Struckman

Director, CA

09 972 1877

Auckland, Christchurch

Or drop us a note. We'd love to hear from you.