Ultimate Guide to Strategic Planning

03/05/2022 01:05 PM By Celene

Are you running your business, or is your business running you?

Or maybe it's just doing it's own thing and you have no clue where it's going.

Strategic planning is one of the most powerful business tools you have in your arsenal - here's how to get started making your quarterly plan.


​Why should you do regular business planning?

I can’t even tell you how many times I ask business owners this question, only to get answers like “We created a plan when we started our firm 7 years ago.” Or, “I have dozens of sticky notes on my wall with all my ideas."
I've had soooo many business owners tell me "I don't really do regular planning, I already have a strong vision for my company" and literally every time my face is like 🤯🤯🤯. 

So here's why you should do Quarterly Planning EVERY quarter, even if (especially if!) you already have a strong vision in your head:

1. Create your Business Roadmap

You know your destination, but how are you going to get there? 

A property plan will set out your milestones, and how you'll know whether you're on the right path to achieving your mission.

2. Set Targets

What are the shorter term steps you need to be hitting in order to reach your long term goals?

Break the milestones from your roadmap down further into monthly and quarterly goals so that you can plan out what steps you need to take to achieve them.

3. Get your Team On Board

When your vision is only in your head it makes it hard to communicate. Being able to bring your team onboard with your plan means everyone is working towards the same goals.

4. Track & Leverage Data

If you're not consistently setting, collecting, and reviewing KPIs against your set targets, you really have no way of knowing whether you're on track, slightly lagging, or completely off track for reaching your goals.

Having a process for reviewing this data against your goals lets you know whether what you're doing is working, or whether there's a need to tweak or change things to get you back on the right path.

5. Reflect & Celebrate

There is nothing more rewarding than looking back at your goals 3 months, 1 year, or 5 years ago and being amazed at what you were able to achieve!

So... Have you booked your quarterly planning in yet?!

If not: go straight to your calendar and block off time for it NOW.

And if you’ve been delaying because you’re not really sure what to do or how to start, keep reading…

​Elements of a Quarterly Plan

For strategic planning, I absolutely love the EOS model, although through years of business planning I've definitely changed things quite a bit to make it work for me.

But the most important thing is that you're doing some sort of planning at all!

Here are some key elements to include:

1. Long Term - 3/5/10 Year Plans

Can you even remotely predict what your business will look like in 10 years? Probably not! But this gives you an “end destination” that will inform the direction of your shorter term goals.

Don’t forget to include a basic org chart/company structure in terms of how big your team will be and what roles they’ll fill.

2. Short Term - Quarterly and One Year Goals

What do you hope to achieve in 1 year? What do your sales and marketing activities look like?

What do you need to start doing THIS QUARTER to make sure you meet these goals?

How will you know if you’re on track?

3. Company Vision: Values, Uniques, Target Audience

These are the things that make your company stand out and attract your best clients! 

It’s important to not only have this on paper so you can communicate it with others, but to regularly review and remind yourself of when making business decisions.

4. KPIs & Metrics

This is probably the one thing included in absolutely EVERY strategic business plan.

Those very specific measurable goals you want to achieve. Don’t forget to also include a plan and steps for actually achieving them though!

5. Non-KPI Goals

Do you want to hire a salesperson by Q4? 

Offer health benefits or an RRSP matching program to your team? 

If you set it as a goal, it’s way more likely to happen than if it’s just one of many things floating in the back of your mind.

6. Quarterly Topics

What are those bigger issues, ideas or questions that have come up, but that you don’t have the leeway to tackle in your day to day operations? 

Keep a running list of them and give yourself space to go through them at QP. These may be things like new business offerings, or setting up a CRM to manage and nurture all your leads.

How to Create your Quarterly Planning Process

So we’ve chatted about WHY you should do quarterly planning and some of the elements to include… But the big question is HOW do you go about doing it? 

I personally love splitting my quarterly planning into two sessions: A “reflect & dream” session, and a “get down to business” session. Why?

It gives me space to really just think about where my company is at and make goals at a high level, then take a break to crunch the numbers, and finally come back with those nitty gritty details and action items to make that big dream happen.

What that looks like:

1. Pre-Planning

Get your “actual” numbers from your previous quarter (and year) and line them up with your “goal” KPIs from last quarter/year.

Start thinking about this past quarter (or year) - what happened, where you're headed (or WANT to head), and what you want to achieve in the coming quarter and year.

2. Planning Session #1

💭Reflect: What went well, what didn't, why? How can you leverage this or change things going forward?

📈Review data: Did you meet your goals? Why or why not?

🔮 Dream: Review your vision - does it still align with your business?

🎯High level goals: What are you hoping to achieve this quarter/year? What do you need to do to get there? What do you want to focus on? 

3. Planning Session #2

📋Review quarterly and annual goals more specifically. 
  • What specific steps do you need to take to achieve those goals? 
  • Who is responsible for them? 

🧭Go through your topics list - prioritize, discuss and choose 1-2 projects or bigger goals to focus on for the quarter.

4. Post-Planning

Debrief your team at the next meeting. Plan & deploy new ideas & systems.

This can also be done in a single session. QP can be as streamlined or deep as necessary for your business!

5. Through the Quarter

Don't set and forget! Making your plan and the ignoring it is pretty much going to guarantee you don't hit your goals.

The most important part of having a plan is actually USING it. Review it regularly. Pivot if necessary.

It's also a good idea to specifically book in a mid-quarter check in time to set aside time to review whether you're on or off track for the quarter.

​Go Solo, or Hire an Expert Guide

This one depends on a couple factors - like how comfortable you feel taking this on, how well you really know your business KPIs, and your capacity to do all the "heavy lifting" yourself.

Hiring experts to guide you through quarterly planning lets you:

    • Gain outside perspective from business specialists.
    • Follow a proven process.
    • Identify and solve the biggest problems holding you back.
    • Feel confident your plan is taking you in the right direction.

Are you ready to stop "waiting and seeing" what your profit looks like each month and get ahead of your business? Book your free consultation to learn whether you'd be a good fit for our Strategic Planning Bootcamp.
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