Fall is in the air, and although the trees are slowly changing color in Florida, I still love the beautiful, relaxing shade they provide. Spending time surrounded by nature gives me the much-needed space to think through issues that I don’t normally give myself time for. I am reminded of the Warren Buffet quote, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
As a guiding principle for long term business planning, this quote encourages me to take the time to sit down and plan out the next ten years of my business. October is not only the time for autumn to really appear, but it is also historically the wildest for market volatility. Between Brexit, Chinese trade wars, and potential U.S. President political impeachments, current world events are creating a tumultuous time for American business.
This is the last quarter of this decade, and you and your business must be planting trees now. Your best way to stay ahead of it is to have a long-term plan.
Where were you a decade ago?
When I was 25, I thought I knew everything. At 35, I thought the 25-year-old me still had a lot of growing up to do. Now that I am in my early 50s, I laugh at how young I was and the mistakes I made that only wisdom brought through experience would bring. We are not the same people personally, or professionally that we were even 10 years ago. Growth is one of the most important traits of happiness, no matter what you have accomplished. You also get to define what growth means to you-this could be emotional, physical, mental and even financial and business-savvy.
If you were in business a decade ago, you have a wealth of insider information at your fingertips- USE IT!! People often talk about the fact that we are living and working in unprecedented times, however people are always still people and business is always going to be business. Of course, you must adapt to social, technological and economic changes, but at the root of it- you have experience in understanding yourself, your team and how your business fits in to the big scheme of things.
To make a great plan, you must be able to look at patterns and understand historical reporting. Your historical reporting will have trends that stick out to you. Certain months may be more lucrative than others, and the other months may give you more time to plan out your busier seasons. Study your trends.
If you have an accounting and business development unit, now is the time to pull them together, and get accurate metrics on where you and your business were a decade ago. Planning for future market volatility depends on accurate reporting from your experience. Consider your company’s growth and market shares but, a well-researched history will yield some surprising trends you may not have considered before.
If your company does not have the in-house capabilities to generate accurate historical fiscal trends and future financial forecasting and planning, then consider outsourcing to us-, or if you are able, hiring the personnel to work on it. A strategic business planning unit may prove to be very beneficial to your business!
Where are you, now?
Keep your sessions focused on aligning with your planning strategies, with the purpose of the meeting being a regular check-up to review your KPIs and the expectation of sharing metrics with different departments.
Shorter initiatives keep your company agile while staying laser-focused on your ten-year plan. Knowing your vision is the first step for many employees in loyalty and a commitment to your companies’ success.
Your employees will develop buy-in from the understanding that your success also equals their success. Everyone wants to work in a company that has stability and growth. When I worked for Bridgestone (a Japanese company) I watched them create 10-year Strategic Plans, and guess what? While I was there, come hell or high water, they hit them!
They would stay the course even if they hit a bad year. But they did constantly realign their shorter-term strategies to ensure they would hit their long-term goals. (read my blog here for other ways to increase your success* )
Their team constantly reviewed their resources and investments and adjusted them if they had a bad year or two or three along the way. As a matter of fact, during these low, slow years they doubled down on their investments because they were so committed to achieving their strategic plans.
Where will you be in a decade?
Taking your company into the year 2030 profitably takes planning. Based on the trends you have had the past decade, now you can hold planning sessions with stakeholders in your company, to really nail down where you want to be. If not all, then certainly most Fortune 100 companies have a 10-year plan.
Creating a strategic 10-year plan can take months, however, those months are well worth it. Long term planning that allows for adjustment as conditions presents themselves is ideal.
Set actionable goals, with the ability to make course corrections periodically. Generally speaking, holding quarterly meetings to do health checks on your goals and maintain your vision is a good practice. This will give you the time to adjust any goals needed or ramp up different divisions in time to be able to hit specific goals you have set in the past.
The Forbes Business Development Council has a great article on aligning your current business practices with long term goals. One of their pieces of advice is to “always start with key specific measures that show the impact on the goals.” Also, by setting long term, larger goals, you can make smaller tasks that are measurable, and will add up to your goal over time.
Bringing it all together:
Your ability to survive market volatility depends on specific, actionable planning, which depends on accurate past metrics. Just like knowing where to plant the right tree for the right climate, and the ability to enjoy the trees of today, someone specifically planned for them yesterday. At HH Staffing, we have been in the staffing business for over 32 years. We know good employees and great ones. Give us a call today so we can help you recruit the right team members to help you plan your future growth.
Until Next Time,
Your Staffing Partner, Darrin Rohr- President, CEO and Chief Servant
Current owner of HH Staffing and Former Chief HR Officer for several successful Multinational Fortune 500 Companies. Brings fresh perspective from decades of experiences creating Great Workplace Cultures by building high performance teams while leading and managing people from all different backgrounds. HH Staffing is headquartered in Sarasota, Florida and is uniquely positioned to serve both local and national clients.