609-664-7955 gcaruso@artofbv.com

Planning is a process that involves thinking ahead (hence playing chess) and organizing actions to achieve specific goals. Successfully done, it can allow management to see the future and act quickly on opportunities or threats growing the value of the business.

The first step in effective planning is defining clear and measurable goals. Having a precise understanding of what you want to accomplish provides a roadmap for the planning process. Goals should be SMART—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. 

Once goals are established, the next step is to assess the current situation or starting point. Namely you must start where you are. This involves conducting a thorough analysis of resources, constraints, and potential challenges.  Often a SWOT chart can be used to organize these.  Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.  Google “SWOT” if this is new to you.

By understanding the present circumstances, individuals or organizations can identify the steps required to bridge the gap between the current state and the desired future state. This analysis can encompass various aspects, such as financial resources, time constraints, personnel capabilities, and external factors that may impact the plan’s execution.  It is important to think through, even roll play, strategies and alternative plans for both extraordinary success and major difficulties in achieving goals.

The final phase of planning involves developing a detailed action plan. This includes breaking down the overarching goal into smaller, manageable tasks or steps. Each task should have a specified responsible person, deadline, and resources.

Regular monitoring and reassessment are critical during the execution phase to ensure that the plan remains aligned with changing circumstances. Set a non-negotiable schedule to meet either weekly, bi-weekly or at the longest monthly to review progress. Flexibility is key, allowing for adjustments and adaptations as needed.

Successful planning is an iterative process that involves continuous evaluation, learning, and refinement to increase the likelihood of achieving the desired outcomes such as higher profits and higher business value.