In my last post I described the thinking process that I use during the early fall to begin to get ready for a productive, growing period in the coming year.  The results of the current year are beginning to take shape and the business environment is more clearly understood.  After the thinking process comes planning.

Relax!  This doesn’t have to be, nor should it be, complicated or time consuming for a growing agency.

What I do is take the things I’ve uncovered in my thinking process and first use them to create a simple budget.  I increase current year results by what I think the “steady as she goes” growth and expected rate, profit sharing, PMSF and other revenue changes should produce and put that in a month by month spreadsheet.

Then I take the overhead thinking I’ve done and put that into the expense ledger.  Now I’ve got a simple budget.  Is the result of that budget what I want it to be based on my goal setting?  Or not?  If not I begin to tweak.

Once the budget is all tweaked up I turn to the thinking about the growth goals I want.  What does that do to income?  What expense increases are required?  Those go down on paper and I work on this until I’m satisfied.

This is still not planning!  This is budgeting.  Now comes the plan:

What will be required to get the results we are forecasting?  When and how will we market?  What changes to our website, social media, phone program, referral program, etc. do we need to make?

Do we need more employees, insurance companies, cell phones or other tools?  When and where do we plan to acquire them?

What else do we need to schedule to do to make the budget work out?

This is planning!  See, it’s not hard.  It’s really easy when you think about it first!

Let me encourage you to make a plan that can be put on one sheet of paper.  Two at the most.  If you can’t describe your plans for a year in that space you probably can’t do it all either.

Now that you’ve done the thinking and planning next year will be easy.  And if you execute on the simple plan you’ve built, tweaking as you go, you’ll get wherever it is you want to go!

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