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Business Strategy and Planning Rhythms For Your Business



BasePoint Accounting and Finance Strategy Planning

As we enter into a new year, it is a great time to consider new and healthy habits. No, this is not yet another nudge to get you to the gym or to start Keto. Here we are talking about healthy habits with your business. As a business owner, do you find yourself wanting to have focused growth in your business, but don’t know where to start, or what you should be prioritizing your efforts towards? You are not alone, and this is quite common. And while there is no magic pill of transformation, from what we’ve experienced at BasePoint CPA, if you set some good rhythms or business habits in place you will be well on your way to having an epic year, feeling like you are in the driver’s seat, rather than another year of chasing after the tyranny of the urgent, only to find that another year of the same has passed you by.

So, rhythms. Which ones? That’s a good question. There are endless options out there, but here are some rhythms that we have found to be very effective in helping companies scale and realize more focused growth over the course of the year.


  • Strategy and planning rhythms

  • Meeting rhythms

  • Financial rhythms

  • HR rhythms

  • Customer relationship rhythms

Covering each of these in depth will definitely exceed the word count for a readable blog post, so in this post we will focus specifically on strategy and planning rhythms.

Strategy and planning rhythms are a great place to start, because they are pervasive and impact most other rhythms in your business. Each year, you should set aside some time in your business to look at how the prior year has gone, and map out how the next year should go. Given the importance of looking back at the prior year, you’ll want to aim to do this a month or two before your fiscal year end (and use projections for the remaining months), or a month or two after your fiscal year end. This meeting should be done with your management or leadership team, and could take more than a day or two. If you can, pick an off-premises location to avoid distractions, because if you are in the office, there will always be a “justifiable” reason for someone to knock on the boardroom door and interrupt you. If you are off premises, you can turn off your phones, and maybe designate one person at the office as a quarterback to field any potential emergencies that you may need to be informed about during that time, so that you can really have good solid lengths of time with no interruption.


Here are some things that you should accomplish during this meeting period:

  • Review prior year financial and operational information. From your financial information, understand what drove your revenue, your gross margin, and your overhead expenses. From your operational information, understand your cycle times, possible rework rate, customer satisfaction, and human resources. Determine which of your product or services lines are the most profitable, which require the greatest input of resources (costs, human resources, etc.), and decide if you want to focus more or focus less on any of them.

  • Determine your sales forecast. Where possible, this should be based on realistic projections based on your current sales pipeline, and anticipated sales trends. This is used to create your revenue budget.

  • Create a sales delivery and operational plan based on your sales forecast. Here you are determining what resources you will need to perform the work, or to source or produce the products to meet your forecasted sales demand. This could include materials, suppliers, or vendors you will need to establish relationships with, new or enhanced technology you may need, assets you may need to invest in, a human resources plan in order to have the team necessary, and how everything will be financed. The objective of this plan is to be prepared, and not be caught off guard, for the capacity and resources needed to support your revenue. This step is used to create your operating budget.   

Once you have these targets in place, you can establish clear goals for each department in your business, which they can focus on over the upcoming year. A great way to set this up is using the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) method discussed in the book Measure What Matters, by John Doerr. As a very brief summary of the method, you establish objectives that you would like your business to achieve, and then a handful or so of key results that would indicate success of the target objective. For example, if you have a construction business, perhaps one of your OKR’s may be the following:


BasePoint Accounting and Finance OKRs High Level

Read here for a deeper dive into specific actions you can take to increase your revenue.


The key results that you come up with for your overarching objectives can then form overarching objectives for other supporting departments, which will then have their own key results. For example, your Business Development team could take the first Key Result and come up with the following OKR:


BasePoint Accounting and Finance OKR's Key Result Level

With specific objectives and corresponding measurable key results for each department, you then have very specific targets for your business that each department can focus on. This helps each team in your business know exactly what they should be focused on over the course of the year, and these efforts should feed up to support the overall target objectives of the business. If you then take each of the objectives that you establish as part of your strategy planning, you can create a weekly scoreboard that you can review with your leadership team, to see how on track your business is to achieving your objectives, and each department can do the same for their OKR’s. Using a simple scoring practice, like labeling each objective as green, yellow or red, indicating on-track, potentially needing some help, or needing immediate attention, respectively, you should be able to quickly have a focused discussion on where priorities should be set, perhaps diving into the key results of each objective that you are reviewing, to help get down to the underlying issues.


By proactively setting a strategy in place, which includes specific objectives and corresponding measurable key results, and by reviewing these on a weekly basis, with the goal of continuous improvement, your business will become more agile, allowing for strategic responses throughout the year rather than surprised reactions, and you will have a strong pulse on the performance of your business throughout the year, which sure beats waiting until you get your year end financials done to know exactly how you did. With these frameworks in place, you will be well positioned for intentional focused execution of your strategic business goals.


People often enter into business because they are good at what they do, but face challenges as their business grows. At BasePoint CPA, we serve as your experienced financial guides, so you can have confidence with regular financial insights and the ability to make informed strategic decisions.

 

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The information above is intended to be of a general nature, and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity, and is not able to capture changes that may be enacted that would impact the information above following the date of publication. As such, there is no guarantee that the information above is accurate as of any given date following publication, and so no one should act on or make specific decisions based on the information above without first receiving professional advice that can take into consideration specific circumstances for each person. Should you wish to discuss your specific situation, you can contact us here.

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