Have you planned for 2018?

By  Stephanie Oakley
Category: Business

Plenty of small businesses don’t ever stop and properly plan for the new year ahead.

Now I know what some of you are  thinking ‘Of course I have a plan for 2018! I’ve been thinking about it all the time. It’s all in my  head’.

To those people let’s think about  this:

  • Have you put your strategic plan on  paper so you can refer to it at all times when you have too much on your mind to remember?
  • Have you discussed your plan with your business partner? Are they in agreement? (this is especially important if your business partner is your spouse!)
  • Have you discussed your plan with your key management staff so they are aware of the direction the business is taking?



Strategic planning is an absolute essential for any business no matter how big or small, because if you don’t know the destination, your journey might lead you to nowhere!

Strategic planning is the process of defining the goals for the next year and then deciding the steps and resources required to achieve these goals. Spending time to put your plan onto paper is saying ‘I am ready to take this business to the next stage of success’.

Strategic planning does not need to be a daunting task and for most small to medium businesses this process should take a ½ to 1 day to formulate. If you are unsure how to get started, here are some tips and tricks to use when preparing strategic plans.



Before you start any planning you should have a clear understanding of your vision for the business. For anyone who doesn’t know what their vision is, ask yourself the question ‘What is the purpose of my business?’. Your vision is one sentence that defines where you want to take the business over the long haul.

Examples include:

  • Google’s vision – To organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
  • Facebook’s vision – People use  Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.



The first thing your plan will need are the objectives (or goals) you want to achieve over the next 12 months in order to be on track to achieve your vision. As these objectives are big targets for the whole year, you should keep your objectives to no more than three. This will mean you will need to focus and prioritise which objectives need to be completed first.

Always ensure that your objectives are SMART objectives, which means they are Specific, Measurable, Action oriented, Realistic and Timely.



Once your objectives are defined you will need to devise your strategy (how you achieve the objectives) and your tactics (what you do to achieve the objective). At this stage of the process its best to bring in your staff or key management to for their input, since they will be executing the strategy and tactics.

Once you have worked out your strategy and tactics you need to delegate who will manage each one and also when they will be completed over the year (if you try to do everything at once nothing will get done!!)



If your plan goes for more than 1 ½ pages you are over doing it. You plan should be something that is simple and easy for everyone to pick up and refer to whenever they need a reference point.



Finally, if you are unsure about what to do, seek some independent advice. Sometimes when you are deep in the thick of your business it’s worthwhile to seek a fresh perspective on where the business is going and what opportunities lie ahead.

So by following these five keys steps you will be ready to take your business to the next stage of success!

If you would like any help with strategic planning for you business, please Contact our business advisers.

Article from the DFK ANZ newsletter - Spring 2017


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