In business there are those companies and individuals that always seem to be one step ahead of everybody else. While some businesses are reacting to the latest shifts and changes in the marketplace, these folks have already taken new steps to seize new opportunities.
That doesn’t happen by accident. People and companies who are consistently ahead of the curve are deliberate about it. They plan ahead—and they do it regularly.
Planning doesn’t make them clairvoyant. It doesn’t mean that they see every trend and change in the business world before it happens. But it does mean that they are prepared to make necessary changes because they have clear goals, they know their strengths and weaknesses, and they are consistently monitoring their environment for both threats and opportunities.
So why is now a good time to plan for 2015? The current year is winding down. At this time of year, some companies are focused on making their numbers and hitting their measurable goals for 2014. And while it’s important to finish well, that “financial snapshot” you take at the end of the year may not be an accurate picture of how your company is really doing.
In reality, now is the time to be thinking about what the end of the first quarter of 2015 will look like. Now is the time to review how you did in 2014 and to reassess your goals, and your future opportunities. If you wait until January, you’ll always feel like you’re one step behind and trying to catch up, and that’s hard—like trying to change a tire on the bus as you’re rolling down the highway.
So finish strong, but don’t sacrifice 2015 on the altar of making the end of 2014 look better. Great businesses learn from the past—but focus on the future. Plan now so that you can hit the ground running when the New Year arrives. It’s certain to bring changes and challenges with it. Will you be ready?
And if you’re looking for help to make your planning more effective and impactful, shoot me a note—I’ve got suggestions and tools to help you plan in such a way that can help you be the one who is one step ahead!