We’ve been working our way through a planning process, and you can get caught up here. You’ve taken your objectives and put them into a logical order based on your long-term goal. Now it’s time to create a more detailed plan for the next few years.
Consider what you can accomplish in the next three years. Layout a 36-month calendar and put in your initial start and completion dates for each objective. You may need to adjust these later, but just use your best judgment. If any of your objectives will take two or more years to complete, include starting points in the plans for your next three years.
Now we get more refined, adding in all of the tasks that need to be done to reach each objective. If you have a larger business or it all just seems overwhelming, break down your objectives into different parts of your organization; e.g. supplies, production, marketing, etc. Consider how you will approach each objective, your strategies, and tactics.
Using our example from last time about retaining our premium shampoo customers, and even expanding our base, the strategy is to offer a discount to existing customers that includes a free shampoo sent to a friend. You’ll need input from your finance people to decide on the discount, and your marketing folks to come with an advertising plan. You’ll also want to make sure that you have enough shampoo ready to ship when those ads get published. Expand your calendar to include each day of each of the next 12 months. Then, add each task to create a step-by-step action plan, with start and end dates.
Work through each objective that needs to start within the next year, considering your strategies and adding tasks to your action plan.
Your plan of action may take longer than you initially thought when you were working in months. That’s ok. Just adjust the end date when all of the steps can be completed. While you want to be ambitious, a plan that is not feasible isn’t helpful.
Complete your plan by adding in the names of who will do each task, as well as any resources needed. If the time or money needed isn’t available, you’ll need to weigh getting those resources against the outcome.
The result should be a reasonable plan that shows who is doing what on any given day to accomplish your shorter-term objectives.
Other Articles in this Series:
Planning Part 1 – Setting Goals and Objectives
Planning Part 2 – Environmental Scanning
Planning Part 3 – Consider Your Customers
Planning Part 4 – Timing Strategies and Tactics
Planning Part 5 – Scenarios