As you think about the objectives you had for this year and what was it that did not get accomplished? What would it be like if you accomplished it in the new year? How important is it to you and your business?

Many businesses just move on to the next year without being clear about what they want to achieve. You could be like many people and only focus on getting things done. There is even a book called Getting Things Done. I started to read the book and decided that I didn’t have time to read it all. What an oxymoron!

Take some time to reflect on what has gone right in your business and then move on to what you will direct your attention to in the next year. It is time to determine how you will prepare for success in the new year? What will the business be like if you reach specific objectives? Does your plan look like the current or previous year, which may be no plan at all?

As you prepare for the new year, what are some questions you can ask yourself to be clear on what you need to do?

Here are five questions every business must be able to answer in order to gain clarity in your business:

• What are we building?
• Why does our business exist?
• What results will we measure?
• How will we build this business?
• What is the work we need to do?

As you think about these questions, be direct and concise on what you want to accomplish. For instance, are you building a business that exists to help senior citizens live out the rest of their days in a relaxing and beautiful environment? You have a specific ideal customer or client base that you enjoy working with or for. Why do you do what you do?

Be specific.

Here are some provocative questions you need to ask yourself:

1. How will you prepare your business for the new year?

2. How will you present your plan to your people?

3. Does each area of your business have a plan and does it fit the overall plan?

4. Why do you want to invest in a measurable objective?

5. What is your key focus for the new year?

6. How will the objectives be implemented & tracked?

7. How are you developing your next generation of leaders?

As you planned for the current year, your plan may have been to implement a certain initiative that did not come to fruition. The plan was not clear enough for everyone to understand the value of the initiative. Everyone wasn’t on board.

Why don’t they get it?

I never shared what I was thinking and expected the people that worked for me to know what I expected from them. Can you relate?

I have been to planning retreats where people from each area of the business get together for a day and come up with objectives for their business area. As I left the meetings, I had the sense that everyone did not understand how their objective related to the other areas of the business. People would come up with ideas but there wasn’t any collaboration as to how they would help each other reach the goals.

I think businesses need to be more strategic in their objectives. What strategies and actions will support your objectives?

Having these strategies help in the following ways:

• Like highway guardrails that keep you on the road (not in the ditch or off a cliff)

• Focus & direction (a roadmap for future planning)

• Help with business negotiations and people issues

• Facilitating discussions and dialogue

• You can gain value from the plans that you create.

Have your plans evaluated on a monthly or at least quarterly basis. Create 3 or 4 strategies to meet your objectives.

This plan does not have to be lengthy; it can as little as one page. The One Page Plan provides clarity, vision and mission for the entire business along with cascading it throughout an organization.

Your objectives are measured throughout the year based on actual versus budget, forecast and prior year. Your strategies relate directly to your business objectives and the actions you will take. Your action plans are project related and tracked for completion. This is all available in a One Page Plan.

You need clear and a concise plan as you start the new year!