“If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

This is just as true today as it was when Benjamin Franklin first said it. You need to have a plan if you want to succeed.

Being strategic in business means so much more than having goals that you’re working toward. It’s about having a strategic map, with your priorities listed in order, so you know where your time, money and energy must go every day.

How to Plan Your Year with a Strategic Map

It may only be October, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start strategizing for 2018. Getting ready for a new year is always an exciting time–it’s when you can set new goals and intentions in business and in life and come back to the values that you had when you first made the jump into business ownership.

Strategic planning is a customized endeavor, something that looks different for every business. But there are some key components that should always be a part of every strategic business planning session.

In no particular order, those strategic objectives are:

  • Product Development and Innovation

What are you innovating to better serve your audience and solve their problems?

  • Operations and Efficiencies

What can you do to operate more efficiently on a day-to-day basis and in the long term? What processes do you need to put in place to make that happen?

  • Business Growth and Financial

Where do you see your business growing in the coming months and years? Do you have the financial security to make that happen?

  • Personal Growth

Are you where you want to be personally? Do you possess all the love, understanding, belonging and potential that you want? What do you need to do to grow personally?

  • Scaling

Is your business model scalable? What changes can you make to achieve the scalability you want?

  • Visibility

Where do you need to grow your visibility to achieve your business goals in the coming year? Do you have a launch coming up that you’ll need a larger list for?

  • Customer/Client Experience

What’s the best way to serve your customers at the highest level? Where are the bottlenecks in your workflows and processes?

Where to Get Started

Of course, no business owner can focus on all seven of these strategic priorities at once. And the smaller your business or team, the fewer you’ll want to work on.

I recommend working with a strategic partner, accountability buddy or team member to identify the top three priorities you want to work on. Know that some will likely come before others. For example, you won’t want to work on scaling until your customer experience is on point. And working on product innovation and business growth might be challenging if you need to work on personal growth and mindset challenges.

Once you know where you need to focus, identify the tools and resources you need in order to make your goals happen. Outsourcing tasks you don’t like to do or don’t do well is a good option to help you work through your strategic plan. If you’re not detail-oriented (as is true for many CEOs), setting up workflows might be best accomplished by project manager you bring on just for that project.

This is the best time of year to get ready for 2018–before the hustle of the holidays is upon us, and just in time to get yourself set up to be ready to dig in come January 1.

What are you struggling with planning for in the new year? What support do you need to be ready to crush those goals next year?

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