Planning for 2024: Short-Term Priorities, Long-Term Vision

Profitability is affected by a variety of factors, not all of which are strictly financial. I often refer to my Five Ps of Profitability – People, Product, Process, Price, and Planning – the philosophy that is at the center of the business operating model I’ve developed. Planning – particularly relevant as we begin preparing for next year – deserves an in-depth look.

Vibrant, successful businesses do not exist without two vital elements – vision and execution. Solid, actionable planning bridges the gap between the two.

The process of making your vision a reality is referred to as “gaining traction” by Gino Wickman, author of Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business. I’ve referred to his book often because his thinking and recommendations align closely with an approach I’ve used in business for many years – specifically, how I perceive and act upon achieving my own objectives, and how I help other companies do the same.

Planning Considerations

A good strategic plan, which keeps the Five Ps of business success in mind, will help you prioritize and direct your focus to the principal elements and resources that are critical to your company’s success, move your company forward, and help you maintain positive cash flow.

To achieve “traction,” accountability and discipline must be built into your plan. Wickman observes that “the ability to create accountability and discipline, and then execute, is the area of greatest weakness in most organizations.” The idea of “accountability” often has a negative connotation, makes people uncomfortable, and can create fears of not measuring up.

This perceived obstacle can be dispelled by implementing a workable process that can actually improve communication, cultivate a greater sense of teamwork, and empower your people to elevate their performance, confidence, and success.

The key? Establishing what Wickman refers to as “Rocks” – specific, measurable priorities that can be achieved in 90 days. This concept and practice is especially useful when navigating what is still a changing economic landscape.

Establishing 90-Day Goals, or “Rocks”

Plans become highly achievable and are perceived as less daunting when they are structured in 90-day increments. When companies identify what they need to accomplish in the next 90 days, they must then define their true priorities. This practice breaks the cycle of trying to focus on too much at once, ends the associated stress and chaos, and clarifies not only what’s most important but what is immediately achievable.

Start by identifying the three to seven most important short-term priorities for your business – based on your long-term vision – that can be accomplished in 90 days. Once you’ve established your company’s “Rocks,” each member of your leadership team and each employee will need to understand their own Rocks and how they contribute to accomplishing those for the business. Rocks should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Clearly defined in terms of associated objectives
  • Assigned to a specific person
  • Due and able to be accomplished within, or by the end of, the 90-day period
  • Documented and reviewed weekly to track progress
  • In stone once agreed upon – no changes, deletions or additions

As the former owner of a multi-million-dollar company, I’m a CFO with a CEO perspective, which provides me with a unique understanding of the Five Ps and how each contributes to a company’s overall financial picture. I’d welcome the opportunity to help you assess the role of the Five Ps in your business and incorporate the critical planning that will help you gain and maintain real traction in 2024 and beyond. Contact me for a complimentary consultation.

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Rick Arthur is a CFO whose expertise is built on Financial Intelligence and 35 years in senior financial roles. Coupled with a CEO’s perspective and the experience of building his own $20 million company, he brings a unique depth of insight into business from the top down. Wired to get to know people, Rick works hand-in-hand with business owners of intentional, growth-oriented companies, solidifying relationships as a trusted advisor and confidant to his clients. He leverages his experience to help business owners gain traction and stay laser-focused on the company’s vision, cash flow, and profitability – all while creating big picture solutions for strategic planning, growth and sustainable success.