Annual Business Plan: 7 Key Processes

Your annual business growth plan is critical to the consistent, healthy growth of your business. I hope you will overcome the barriers and go into the new year with a solid growth plan.

I have already identified the 3 Parts of an Annual Business Growth Plan. They are Your Marketing Plan (with a particular focus on your Marketing Calendar), Your Budget (or Financial Plan), and Your Organizational Improvement Plan. Here I want to look more closely at Your Organizational Improvement Plan.

There are 7 key business processes that should be evaluated every year. These 7 key processes are

  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Selling
  • Operations and Customer fulfillment
  • Customer Service
  • Admin/Back Office

Big Picture SWOT Analysis

I recommend that you create a high level S.W.O.T. chart to analyze where you are right now. Create a 4 quadrant grid, one for each of your S.W.O.T. topics. Here is what I mean by S.W.O.T.:

  • Strengths – These are your current or past year’s internal areas of strength.
  • Weaknesses – These are your current or past year’s internal areas of weakness that need to be improved.
  • Opportunities – These are external possibilities that you see for the coming year.
  • Threats – These are potential external threats to your growth and success in the coming year.

Once you create your grid, write each of the seven key processes in one or more boxes. This will give you a high-level analysis of your entire business. So my high-level S.W.O.T. chart looks something like this right now:

Bring it Down to the Key Processes

Once you complete this high-level S.W.O.T. analysis, take it down to each of the seven key processes. Create a S.W.O.T. chart for each of the seven areas starting with Leadership. You may want to include your staff for feedback and brainstorming. For Leadership, consider the following:

  • Leadership – vision clarity, communication of direction, overall business strategy, clearly defined goals, and good accountability structures.

So my Leadership S.W.O.T. chart looks something like this right now:

SWOT Leadership Analysis_Annual Business Plan 7 Key Processes

Now do the same with the other key processes. You can break them down this way, but feel free to add components to each of these:

  • Management – effective systems, documented systems, process improvement systems, comprehensive operations manual, efficient dashboards
  • Marketing – effective referral strategy, building a strong brand, direct response advertising/tactics, relationship management, PR strategies, leveraging the internet, leveraging social media
  • Selling – documented sales process, strong scripts and selling questions, plan for handling objections, making it easy for customers to buy, closing effectiveness, training.
  • Operations/Customer Fulfillment – documented processes, efficiency, quality control, safety, expense control
  • Customer Service – relationship management, quick response, building loyalty, reviews & testimonials, customer satisfaction
  • Admin/Back Office – accounting, reporting, finances, data management, inventory control, technology, infrastructure, technology

Set Some Goals

Once you analyze the seven key processes, set some goals for the coming year. You may want to set 2 or 3 goals for each area or 5-7 overall goals. However, you approach this, be sure to write specific, measurable goal statements and share them with your team. If possible, assign a “Champion” to each goal.

After you write your goals, determine the specific steps you will need to take to achieve each goal. Assign a deadline for each action step and assign a person responsible for each step. Once you finished, you have completed your Organizational Improvement Plan.

Be sure to review all 3 of the annual plan components, Your Marketing Plan, Your Budget, and Your Organizational Improvement Plan, to make sure they are all in alignment. Plan a time to review this once a week or once a month. Now, take action and watch your business grow!

Glenn Smith is a sought-after Executive Coach with over two decades of experience. Recognized for his strategic insights and leadership training, Glenn has been a guiding force for more than a hundred successful small to mid-sized businesses. Merging data-driven strategies with profound insights into human behavior, he aids business owners and executives in realizing their fullest potential. A respected thought leader, Glenn has contributed to numerous business publications and is a popular keynote speaker. Outside his professional realm, Glenn cherishes family time and outdoor activities. He is a pilot with over 30 years of flight experience. He is also a professionally trained gunsmith and a firearms instructor. His dedication to fostering leadership and driving transformative change marks him as a premier figure in executive coaching.


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