Business owner – Executive – Team member

No matter what you do or what role you play, if you seek to reach new heights in your work, pulling together your annual business plan is critical.

One Day – Solitary Place

If you have not already, set aside one day completely devoted to your planning before year-end. Mark it on your calendar. Decide where your planning will take place and book it, if need be. Often people take themselves on mini-retreats to accomplish this. One year, I booked a quiet room with a desk in the Hamptons. Glorious view of the ocean and a great rate as it was off-season. Make this planning day inspiring.

5 Step Business Plan Outline

When you are settled in and ready to create your Best Year Yet Plan, follow this simple outline.

Step 1:        2019 Review

For all aspects of your business or work, consider:

  • What worked well?
  • What could have been improved?

Step 2:        2020 Assessment

For the upcoming year, what do you anticipate to be your:

  • Opportunities
  • Challenges (both external and internal)

Step 3:        2020 Objectives by Business Category

There are so many aspects of business to consider and many ideas to flesh out and implement. Time to streamline! Chunk it down and consider the following aspects of your work that all businesses share: Services and/or Products, Operations, Marketing/Sales, Finances, and Management. Certain sections will require more attention than others. Focus the majority of your time on the sections critical to your work or business. As you do this, keep referring back to the items you considered in Steps 1 and 2. Here is where the magic lies.

For each section, create the one to three objectives that, when accomplished, will bring that particular category of your business to a Level 10.

Products and/or Services

Consider what you are selling or providing and evaluate its quality, packaging, pricing, delivery, and research/development aspects. There may be multiple components to consider depending upon the number of products and/or services you provide. What should be improved, revised, removed, replaced?


Do you have the resources and systems in place that are necessary to produce and provide the highest quality of services and/or products in the most efficient manner? Areas to consider include:

  • Technology resources
  • Human resources
  • Systems and procedures
  • Physical space

Marketing and Sales

What is your plan for reaching your potential clients/customers and making them loyal and long-lasting champions of your business? In this section, consider:

  • Market research
  • Branding
  • Promotional activities
  • Sales systems


How effective is the leadership in your business? If you are a one-person shop, think self-management! What one to three activities will improve the manner in which your business is run?


This section is often the most daunting for businesses but also the most critical. Review the data from 2019 and consider where you want to take your business in 2020 in terms of:

  • Higher revenues
  • Reduced costs
  • Improved cash flow
  • Forecasting and budgeting

Step 4: Your 12-Week Plan

Time to get to the nitty-gritty! What specific actions steps will you take in each business category over the next 12 weeks to jumpstart your year? Set your 12-week goals, determine your action steps, and be clear on who is responsible for each step and on what dates the goals will be accomplished.

A phenomenal resource for this part of the process is the book, The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington. It emphasizes this concentrated 12 week process by which many organizations and individuals accomplish more in this shorter concentrated period than others do in 12 months.

Step 5 – A Big Pat on the Back

With this one day, you have set the tone for the upcoming year and established immediate actions to get yourself on your way to your Best Year Yet.

Contact me for assistance in any part of your planning process and remember:
“Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”