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Strategic Planning: 2022 Begins NOW!

Are you ready for 2022? And even more urgently, are you ready for the fourth quarter of 2021, which is already here?

While Christmas and New Year’s may seem like a distant whisper right now, 2022 will be here before we know it. If we wait until the clock strikes midnight this coming January to start attempting strategic shifts in our business, it will be too late. If you’ve been putting off working on your business (not just in it) as we push through to the end of the year, here’s some advice: The time to plan for next year is now. Step back and strategize Strategy can often sound like a broad and expansive concept. The fact of the matter is, strategy is not just about your grand, abstract plans and long-term hopes. In order to be truly strategic, your ideas must be paired with a comprehensive plan of action. Planning doesn’t mean simply anticipating; it means adapting and evolving. Some key indicators of strategy in action include: ● Tracking progress through KPIs ● Identifying what works(and doesn’t) ● Making shifts and pivots accordingly The need to adapt and evolve is a truth we’ve all been met with post-Covid, and with the pandemic’s presence still looming, there is a lot to consider as you map out your game plan for 2022. In addition to all of the many intricacies of your team, company, market, and/or niche, there are more universal factors to consider.

As you make strategic decisions for the new year, you must consider the external landscape, including any external barriers such as your competition or even regulations that currently exist, or might impact your company in the future. And, keep in mind, if these external changes impact your clients, how will you communicate them to your customers?

Product delays, increased pricing due to rising shipping costs, or lack of raw materials to complete orders for example?

While the rules of the “new normal” game are constantly changing, having set protocols in place, and planning ahead for all possibilities, is critical to your business’s survival. Don’t wait, delegate What kind of team do you want to lead in 2022? Whether or not this question brings up thoughts of adding a new hire to the mix, or simply changing the process in which your existing employees operate, auditing your internal team is key to your year-end strategic planning. If you’ve identified overarching changes that need to be made in the new year, involve your employees in the development and execution process by assigning teams to work on devising solutions for each existing issue at hand. Not only will this build a culture of strategic thinkers but will also ensure that you don’t let any major business challenges go unaddressed. By delegating to your team in this way, you will have more time and space to truly lead, not just manage. Gravitate towards a vision of growth As a leader, it’s important to ensure that you don’t get caught in the trenches of day-to-day operations. If you alone feel responsible for addressing existing issues, how will you ever tap into your mental capacity to hone your vision and grow towards it? Once you’ve handed any operational strategy tweaks over to your team (as detailed above), you can start to think bigger about what you want this next year to look like. Paint a picture for the future that you and your leadership team can reference as needed. It can often be helpful to set a three-year target (whatever that looks like to you), and work backward from there. Identify exactly how do you define growth, and how you measure performance success. Once you know where you’re headed, you can more effectively determine what gaps need to fill in, and what strategic action can be made to get you there. Retreat, reflect, recharge

Stepping away from day-to-day business operations can feel virtually impossible as a business leader. Ironically, when stressed leaders feel like they can’t set aside time for strategy and reflection, those are usually the moments in which they need that

bird’s-eye perspective the most.

While the upcoming holiday season may be your time for a personal retreat, don’t forget to take a professional retreat before year’s-end, too.

Whether this looks like a weekend away conversing and planning with your strategic partners, or simply an allotted time by yourself to think about your business’s future without letting your phone or inbox interrupt you, take the time to plan for your best year ever.

Don’t wait until January 1st to make your 2022 brand resolutions. The time is now.

For more insight on the importance of year-end planning, check out my most recent podcast episode on the Business Growth Cafe!

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