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Some Resolutions on Planning



Some Resolutions on Planning

By KEVIN VANN

As the calendar turns to 2010, business owners and managers should be thinking about resolutions, especially those involving effective planning.

Here are several types of planning that decision makers should consider critical for the year ahead.

Strategic Planning: Take time to research how to go about doing strategic planning and with whom. Perhaps the company can do it on its own, or perhaps it should hire a facilitator. In any case, set aside one or two days for strategic planning. This is one of the most critical blueprints every business should have, and it should be done at least once a year. This process should include owners and key staff members and perhaps outside consultants and independent parties as well.

Technology Planning: Each business should minimally have an internal staff member or an outsourced consultant to guide every company through the rigors of changing and updating technology. Time should be set aside for owners and key staff to be educated on a continuous basis. Technology will drive efficiencies, productivity, and revenue for most companies.

Employee / Staff / HR Planning: Each business today minimally needs either a staff person or an outsourced consultant to keep them up-to-date with the constantly changing compliance issues involved with having employees. Additionally, this planning model should include internal company issues, benefit packages, recruiting, retaining, and staying competitive. Any company that has employees should have a handbook minimally. The handbook should be reviewed annually.

Succession and Long-term Planning: Depending on the size of the company and the owner’s philosophy about life and business, succession and long-term planning for a company, the owners, and key staff should be a priority. If the owner of a company has done a good job addressing his or her own retirement and succession issues, then the company will continue to thrive. Fear of the unknown is the greatest fear, so the more effort the company puts into proper planning for the owners and key personnel, the better chance it has to continue. Even if an owner indicates an unwillingness to do succession planning, then certainly having a plan that indicates when and how to sell or liquidate the company is important.

Tax Planning: This has been pretty much accepted as an annual task by most business owners and key personnel; however, it’s still surprising just how many businesses make decisions, take on risk, and do business without properly understanding the tax consequences of their decisions.

Budgeting and Financial Planning: I just can’t imagine a business — or an individual, for that matter — not making budgeting and financial planning a priority on an annual basis. Unfortunately, many, many businesses fail to do annual budgeting and financial planning. The budgeting process should include solid projections relative to revenue, expense planning, and profit expectations. This planning should also include cash-flow projections that take into account what capital expenditures need to be made, how much debt will be paid down, or how much debt or equity will be required to run or capitalize the business. The budget or financial plan should include the company’s ‘wish list’ for the coming year, and typically that list includes the items or initiatives from the strategic plan and all of the other planning during the year. The budget should be the by-product of all of the annual planning that has been done.

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