As featured in a recent webinar with Elisa Au, entrepreneur and business advisor with Cultivate Advisors
You’ve heard it before: If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else.
Elisa Au, a three-time world karate champion, relied on business planning when she opened up a martial arts studio 15 years ago. Today, it’s propelled her to five locations and 1,000 students. “I am doing something I love and have been able to scale it into a successful business,” she shares.
As a business advisor with Cultivate Advisors, Elisa recently shared business planning insights with a group of NAWBO leaders and members who attended November’s 2022 business planning webinar. You can access this webinar on demand below, or read on for the highlights:
There are a lot of different places you can be—stuck in the past thinking about what’s happened since COVID or thinking only about the future. Where is your mindset right now?
If you’re always stuck in the past, you might be in denial or resistant and need to accept what’s happened. If you are too pie in the sky, you might need a reality check. Find that middle ground. Don’t be over the top with aspirations with no data to back them up.
Keys to approaching mindset:
- Make space for your planning: Carve out time in your workspace to think about it. Give your team space for planning, too. Make it part of your regular workday.
- Plan out multiple scenarios: Create break-even, must-hit goals as well as stretch goals so you can be more agile as you go throughout the year and adjust accordingly.
- Be firm on the macro and open with the micro: Form macro goals and be firm on those because they’re tied to your vision. But be open to the micro—the different paths that will get you there.
- Simplify your key performance indicators (KPIs): Have a maximum of 5 that you’ll focus on and track throughout the year.
- Increase your cash threshold: Make sure you always have cushion in the bank—two-and-a-half-months-worth—for the worst-case scenario.
- Review your goals with an advisor or someone you trust: Be sure to talk over your business goals and get feedback.
Start with your vision and long-term goals: What’s important to you? Why did you start your business in the first place? Carve out time to think about and get clear on this. Know where you want to be personally and how your business will help you get there.
Figure out what high-level macro goals you can set for next year that will move you toward that vision and long-term goals. Examples include profit, number of employees, number of customers served, revenue, etc.
Whittle those down to KPIs. If you can break down your macro goal into steps, these are how you will get there. Don’t pick more than five for the year. Examples include sales conversation rate, number of customers retained, average order value, etc.
Think about each person’s role in your company, which KPIs each person will be tracking and the time it will take to do this. Ask yourself: Are the new tasks or initiatives realistic in the confines of their role?
Next, prioritize your initiatives. Brain-dump all the initiatives that need to happen in the next year to get you there, then prioritize them. Put the things that will make the most impact at the top of the list. Map out when these will happen and who will do them. Examples include a marketing plan, SEO, etc.
Lastly, focus on the implementation of these initiatives. What are the actual strategies, processes and new systems you’ll put into place? What can you do in Q1, Q2, etc.?
If you are surrounded by a team of leaders and employees, you’ll want to collaborate on your 2022 planning. Here are some tips:
- Let your team know you’re doing a planning deep dive and provide dates.
- Schedule time for each of the steps.
- Discuss format and expectations.
- Provide context first—where would you like to see your business headed in the next year.
- Your teams will set their macro plans based on the context you provide. Have them present those ideas for feedback.
- Integrate all the pieces (or ideas) to the puzzle together in a way that makes sense.
- Present your plan back to the team to get their buy-in.
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