Next Year’s Planning Season – Are You Ready?

One of the most important roles of the CEO is to champion the annual planning process with his/her CFO or outside facilitator. This usually starts in September or early October and finishes up by mid-December. Therefore, it is time to get it going. Are you ready? Here are some ideas to help you plan better and make next year the best year ever for your firm.


  1.   Planning is a process where the management team works together to identify and document the most important goals for the new year. There are many different paths a company can take; selecting the right goals and action plans and getting the entire team on the same page can mean the difference between a mediocre and a break-out year.
  2. Plan before you budget. You won’t know what to budget for until you know what your major goals are. Do you need more sales staff or marketing dollars to reach the aggressive new sales plan? Do you need new equipment or other investment to improve profitability?
  3. Consider using an outside facilitator, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience and a proven in-house planning process. Good facilitators are able to get the creative juices flowing and help bring out more game changing ideas than the management team can alone.
  4. Identify 4-5 major corporate goals to increase growth and profitability and improve the infrastructure of the firm.  Put aside some of the lesser tasks and priorities that seem important but that won’t have a major impact on making a much stronger company.
  5. Develop detailed action plans with team assignments and due dates for each of the major goals. Ensure there is a champion or leader for each of the goals.
  6. Put together an aggressive but achievable stretch budget. It is well known that individuals and companies that dream big and set high goals achieve more. Ensure all aspects of the budget are thought through and documented, from revenue to expenses.
  7. Set monthly review meetings to monitor progress and keep everyone on task. This is critical; people will prioritize what is important and fun for themselves and the critical goals won’t be achieved without on-going follow-up.

If you need help or don’t have the time or a proven planning process, contact me or one of the Wisconsin B2B CFO® partners. We have many years of experience helping companies to plan, grow, and increase profitability. Make next year a break-out year by identifying and executing on those 4-5 ideas that will leave the competition in the dust!

photo credit: Europeana Strategy meeting via photopin (license)

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