A company plan – you all know you should have one. But do you? Is it something that you intend to do, but just never quite get around to it? Or you get started and find there’s the question of what it should include so it never gets finished?

And then there’s the follow-through issue. Spending time on the plan and never using it again. You look at it at the end of the year and think, “Wow, that would have been really great if we had done that!”

We get it. It’s easy to fall into these traps around planning.

We’ve got tools to help you make this an easier and more fun process. Key ideas are outlined below, which follow the Q4i Agency Annual Plan that you can download as your guide.

A good company-level strategic plan should include a few key items

A review of where you are today

What’s working well and what needs improvement. Write it out.

A review of your book of business

How healthy is your book of business? Break it out by size of account and get an understanding of how many accounts make up the top and bottom percentages of revenue.

A description of your vision

Not a vision statement, but a description of what you want your organization to look like a few years out. Three years is a good timeframe – it’s got some distance to it, but still very tangible.

A description of your ideal clients

As an organization, who benefits most from the work you do? Is it size of client? Niche market? Attitude of the owners? There is no one answer. Assess your current clients – Who do you like best? Who would you like to fire? Use those commonalities to make up your description of what you want and don’t want in your new clients.

Now think about the numbers required to get to your vision

How much new business and of what size accounts do you need to bring in? What do the conversion and closing ratios look like? Retention? How about the company financials? Are you overstaffed? Understaffed? Take time to do an honest reflection of how you’re running the organization and if it’s profitable and sustainable. What changes need to be made? What habits need to continue?

Define key objectives

Think through each area of your business and define the area in need of improvement, why the improvement is necessary, and key action items to drive the improvement. Do this for each area:

    • Net growth goal
    • Marketing
    • Sales
    • Service
    • Leadership

Wrap it up with a theme

If you follow us at all, you know we want you to have a theme! What is the topic that your company needs to take on as a focus for the year? As you worked through your plan, what  ideas repeatedly came up? Is it that you need to focus and become more efficient in your work? Do you need to work better as a team? Do you need to create a systematic approach to the work you do? Do you need to make sales a focus? Keep it very simple with a single idea.

Okay, I have a plan. Now what?

  1. Write up your plan and share it with your team. This may be the leadership team or the whole agency, depending on the size of your organization. 
  2. Get their input on your key objectives. You may find you need to make some adjustments as everyone talks through how to get these accomplished.
  3. Decide who is going to take responsibility for leading each of the action items.
  4. Ensure those action items get included in each person’s own annual plan, and they work consistently on them throughout the year.
  5. Meet quarterly as a team to review progress on the key objectives.

A word of caution

Some of the biggest challenges with planning are A) not doing it; B) doing it and never revisiting it; and C) doing it and creating WAY too many objectives and action items so instead of being productive, you reach paralysis and abandon the plan.

Combat these challenges by working as a team to create the initial plan so you have some built-in accountability by having multiple people involved. Then schedule out your quarterly reviews with the team for the entire year. This will keep it on everyone’s calendar and in your sights.

Finally, boil down each of your key objectives to one single description. And please, don’t try to accomplish your entire three-year vision in one year! You may have several action items for each objective, but use the single description to keep you focused on what you’re really intending to accomplish. Revisit those descriptions often to ensure you’re on track and not getting distracted by irrelevant activities.

If you do this type of planning and review each year, you’ll find consistent success in each core area of your business and make your progress inevitable. And of course, to help you out with that, we’ve got an agency planning guide to download. 😀

Photo by MarekPhotoDesign.com

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