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Business strategy - How to prepare it at the end of the year

Updated: Jun 24


business strategy

The last quarter of the year is approaching and with it, its procession of planning exercises.


Companies generally work during this period to finalize their budgets for the following year, their recruitment plans, their investments and more generally their projects.

While these end-of-year considerations are unavoidable, it is also important, during this period, to work on your business strategy .


Indeed, whether your fiscal year coincides with the end of the calendar year or not, the last quarter of the year is a good time to take stock of the current year and look forward to the year to come and take a little height compared to the day-to-day management of the company.


The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses does little calculation in advance. -Sun Tzu

Here is the approach we recommend.


Review of the current year's business strategy


A good practice is to go back to January of the current year.

  • What goals have you set for this year? Have you reached them? If so, what were the key factors in these successes? If not, what are the reasons?

  • What opportunities not identified at the start of the year were you able to seize in the months that followed? How has this impacted your other goals? Is the consolidated result of these opportunities and the projects that were arbitrated in their favor positive for the company?

  • What opportunities have you missed this year? Why weren't you able to identify them during your planning last year? Why couldn't you grab them when they presented themselves?

Armed with these elements, you will be better able to define ambitious but realistic objectives for the coming year but also and above all to correct the elements which have slowed you down or prevented you from achieving your objectives for this year.


This exercise will not only allow you to refine your objective setting process but also to identify possible shortcomings in your commercial and competitive intelligence process.


Preparation of business strategy for the coming year


After taking stock of the current year, you should think about what you want to accomplish in the coming year.


Ask yourself the following questions:


  • What increase in revenue are we targeting for the coming year? What adaptations are necessary to achieve this revenue objective in terms of work tools, commercial strategy or human resources?

  • What products/services should we maintain or even develop? What investments would potentially benefit these product/service lines?

  • What products/services should we abandon? What would be the risks and benefits of stopping the supply of these products/services to our customers? On our teams? On our means?

  • What are our biggest frustrations in running the business on a daily basis and how can we manage them? (for example, a computer system that is too slow, too many manual tasks, a telephone switchboard that is often broken, etc.)

  • Who are our best performing employees? Did we take the time to thank them? Are we doing what we need to do to make them want to stay with the company?

  • Who are our worst performing employees? What can we do about this?

  • Which suppliers are doing a great job for us and which are not? What can we do about this?


Many other questions will come to mind depending on the context of your business.


Take the time to carry out this exercise in writing and keep these elements from one year to the next because they will allow you not only to establish your strategy but to evaluate its performance over the years.


Finalization


Once your strategy has been developed, you will need to carry out four essential steps:


  • Discuss your strategy with relevant departments within your company and listen to their feedback. Are the identified objectives achievable? Do they involve adjustments to tools or human resources? Does the team identify other factors to consider?

  • Define objectives using the SMART method :

    • S for Specific (we are targeting 10 new prospects per month this year)

    • M is for Measurable (our goal is to increase our turnover by 20%)

    • A for Achievable (we know that our annual turnover increased by 10% following the implementation of a few poorly coordinated commercial actions, we are therefore confident that a clear and structured commercial strategy will allow us to achieve growth in 20% target)

    • R for Realistic (the more prospects we have in our sales funnel, the more sales we will be able to make – it is realistic to aim for 10 new prospects per month when we have 6 to date; it would be less realistic to aim for 1000 …)

    • T is for Timely Defined: all the objectives of our strategy must have a deadline. However, this will not necessarily be at 12 months! We even encourage you to assign them deadlines staggered throughout the year to generate strong team commitment.

  • Assign managers in charge of achieving the objectives agreed in the previous point. Set them success goals but also outperformance bonuses. Indeed, it is the synergy between the management team behind the business strategy and the teams responsible for implementing it that will determine the success of a business strategy.

  • Communicate. A business strategy is above all a business project. All employees are affected and therefore all employees must feel concerned. To obtain this commitment from employees, we recommend that you share the key points of your strategy with them and explain to them how their teamwork but also their individual actions will contribute to achieving these objectives.


Following a well-structured process for developing a business strategy is a key factor in its success.


A well-defined and properly disseminated strategy within the company will allow you to focus on the elements that bring you closer to your long-term objectives and generate commitment and motivation within your teams.

However, keep in mind that conditions in your industry, market or business could change and be prepared to adjust your strategy accordingly.


"Designing a winning strategy is the art of asking questions, experimenting, then constantly renewing the thought process by questioning the answers. Regardless of the quality of today's strategy, you always have to reinvent it.” - Constantinos Markides

Would you like support in defining your business strategy?



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