Doing a business plan meeting will help you stay on track throughout the next 12 months. Follow this strategy meeting agenda to review your business plan goals, make tweaks to your business plan direction and update timelines and accountability so that you are farther along one year from now.
Quick note: you can download a free sample business plan for several different industries from MoreBusiness.com. Then, edit the business plan to create a custom one for your company.
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Business Plan Meeting
While many companies hold their meetings in January, the time of year doesn’t matter. If you haven’t updated your business plan in over a year, set up a time on your calendar to do it as soon as possible.
You can have your strategy meeting offsite, like a strategic planning retreat, or in your office. Offsite strategy meetings often include team building activities as well as strategic business topics.
We hold our meetings at our office over 5 days, 2 hours per day in the mornings. After each business planning session, we take the team out for lunch (or have it catered in). This allows us to break up the day and keep the creative juices flowing. It also allows our team to keep up with their normal activities in the afternoon so client issues are addressed.
Our goal is to dive deep while having fun. Here’s how we do it. Read our strategy meeting agenda below or watch this 6-minute video:
Strategy Meeting Agenda
Every business plan meeting is broken up into specific topics that we cover. We prepare a strategy meeting agenda for everyone to follow and take notes on.
We also make it a point to connect regularly throughout the year. Doing so helps us make sure we are on track to meet each milestone and enables us adjust the plan as necessary.
1. Create a List of Accomplishments and Shortcomings
It’s important to evaluate where you have been before you can figure out where you are going. You must know what worked and what didn’t. Take an honest look at your business and create a list of what you did well (accomplishments) and what didn’t go so well (shortcomings).
We go through accomplishments first and write a large list on our white board. We take a picture so nobody has to transcribe the list while we are shouting out answers.
Inevitably, during our discussion of shortcomings, we remember other accomplishments so we have a blank space on the white board to write those down.
Encourage your staff to speak without feeling shy about the answers. How comfortable they are in sharing their thoughts is a reflection of your company culture.
2. Review Company Values
Everyone at our company has a framed list of company values in their office. The list is simple, about 4 lines. It provides a lens from which we can ensure that new goals are in line with what is important to us.
This part of the strategy meeting agenda is usually fairly quick, but it is an important reminder that sets the stage for the next series of topics.
3. Answer These Strategic Planning Questions
This is the longest portion of your strategy meeting. Talk about SWOT – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Look at your competitors to see what they are doing better than you and how you could change to compete.
Ask questions like these and take notes without judging any comments:
- What are our biggest sources of revenue?
- What are our smallest sources of revenue?
- How much time does each revenue source take to service?
- If we stopped providing low revenue products and services, how would that impact the company? Would it free up time to focus on high revenue opportunities?
- What is our competition doing that we aren’t? If we offered something similar, how would that affect our revenue and expenses? Would it change our focus?
- What new lines of products or services should we consider adding?
- Have our customers been requesting something that we aren’t providing?
- What changes are occurring in our industry that could affect us?
- Are there any new or pending laws that will impact sales or customers? Should we lobby our legislators to change these laws?
- What are our financial goals for the next 12 months? 24 months?
- How will we get there?
Your mission at this step in the strategic planning process is to come up with key goals that make sense – and that you can measure (more on that next).
Remember to look at each item with your company values in mind. If a new product idea doesn’t line up with your values, it will not be a good fit for your business.
Next, take the time to create a list of all of these ideas and tasks.
4. Rank Each Task by Difficulty, Value and Priority
Once you have a detailed list of ideas for the next 12 months, you need to prioritize them. Every company has limited resources. If you focus on irrelevant activities, you will limit your growth. Setting priorities is an essential part of your strategy meeting agenda.
Next to your newly created list of goals, add three columns: difficulty, value, and priority. You will assign a number from 1-10 for difficulty and value and 1-3 for priority.
Difficulty: start by ranking each goal or idea in terms of difficulty to accomplish, 10 being the hardest. The difficulty should be higher for tasks that require longer time commitments to complete.
Value: rank each task by the value it brings to the company as a whole, not to an individual employee. Use 10 as your marker for having the most value. For example, if adding a new product line would create a significant revenue stream, that task would have a high rank. Look at each task as “nice to have” vs. “must have” to sort out what will provide the most value.
Priority: once you have ranked each task’s difficulty and value, you can set a priority. Tasks that have low difficult and high value should get a high priority since they are the easiest to do and will provide you with quick benefits. Give those a priority of 1. Tasks with high difficulty and low value should be marked with a priority of “Not Yet” to indicate they are not the best bang for your buck at this time.
This process enables you to determine which tasks should bubble to the top of your action item list.
5. Set Milestones and Assign Accountability
Create a spreadsheet for each quarter that lists each task and who is responsible for working on it. Add deadlines and milestones so you can tell if you are on track.
Don’t invest all the time to hold a strategy meeting and then let your action items sit on a shelf collecting dust.
Schedule a monthly meeting to review your strategic planning goals. This means you will have just 3 meetings per quarter. Use these high level meetings to make course corrections and adjustments to your plan.
You should also meet weekly to go over specific tasks that dive into the details of each high level goal. These weekly meetings supplement that strategic topics covered in each monthly meeting.
Download MoreBusiness.com’s agenda for a one-on-one meeting (it’s free) to plan and track meetings with each team member.
Over time, you may find that some of the goals from your strategy meeting are no longer appropriate. Be flexible enough to recognize that you may need to make changes before your next business plan meeting.