The Next 90 Days Could Make or Break your Business
This week, we want to talk about the importance of creating a 90-day plan, especially during a time like now where businesses aren’t sure what is going to happen next. While this is a short-term strategy, being prepared for the future will have long-term benefits. And, with the state of the world and COVID-19, even looking 90 days into the future could be considered long-term and will be important to lead your company out of this crisis. Although the next 90 days may not define your business, how you respond in the next 90 days could make or break your business.
So what is a 90-day plan exactly? The idea is pretty simple, create weekly tactical objectives and action items, leaving room for alterations, if needed. Creating a plan that everyone in the office or on your team can see, is a great way to make sure everyone is staying on course, especially now when many of us are working from home and are not communicating with each other as frequently.
COMPONENTS OF A PLAN
A 90-day plan should be thorough enough so that everyone in the office understands their role and the objectives they should try to accomplish that week. This means designating the person responsible for the task, the resources needed, the cost, and how measuring effectiveness will happen. Keep in mind, the objectives that are in your 90-day plan should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound). If you include goals that aren’t SMART, chances are team members won’t be able to understand or accomplish them.
Your plan should be split into three 30-day increments, allowing you to reassess the goals and objectives at the end of each. This is the time to make adjustments where they’re needed, making sure you’re staying on track with the plan. This also gives time for team members to express their concerns and have input on updates.
Even though your plan only addresses the next 90 days, make sure that it also ties into your longer-term goals and objectives. Being strategic and nimble at the same time can be challenging, but it’s necessary. So, this is a great time to look back to your mission and values and see if you’re still on the path you want to be on, or if it’s time to make changes.
Three of the key elements for your plan should include:
- Cash Flow Analysis: If you are running a company, department or project, it will be more important than ever to understand your available cash and budget. This way you can plan for alternative scenarios if needed and redefine your priorities. There are many free cash flow calculators and tools available. Here is a good article on calculating your cash flow as well as a cash flow calculator.
- Communications Plan: Ongoing updates to your team, customers, partners and other key audiences will be very important as well. Sharing weekly updates on the status of your business or projects will be crucial. We recommend creating an action plan to keep you on track and ensure you are communicating the right message to the right audience at the right time.
- Take Advantage of Programs and Counsel: We have seen many business leaders come together to share information and update each other during the current crisis. Reach out to friends and colleagues outside your business for advice and counsel. Take advantage of podcasts and articles to help you refocus and better understand the resources available to you such as applying for an SBA loan or how to best set-up your home office.
KEEP YOUR PLAN FLUID
With how quickly things can change, whether it be because of COVID-19 or not, it is important to keep your plan adaptable. A goal or objective you set two weeks ago may not be attainable anymore, and it’s crucial that your team understands any changes that have been made. Keeping your plan as up-to-date as possible allows everyone to have a better understanding of what they need to do, and it also helps minimize confusion.
Creating a strategic plan that is also flexible enough to deal with changes may be challenging, but it’s also a necessary measure to ensure the best outcome. Now is not the time to give up on strategy, even when you are unsure of the future.
While your plan will be fluid, changing constantly, accountability is still very important. Having a plan promotes autonomy, as everyone is able to see what needs to be done, those following the plan shouldn’t take advantage of it. Check-ins or team meetings can be used to make sure everyone is following the plan and doing their part.
Bill Kiefaber • April 7, 2020
Posted in these categories:Business Planning, COVID-19, Current Events
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