Most successful leaders understand the importance of planning and the effect it can have on business. In fact, research has proven that planning is well worth the effort, especially for small businesses. According to Dun & Bradstreet, 33% of new businesses fail within the first six months, 50% within the first two years, and 75% within the first three.


Why do so many small businesses fail? Well, according to Success Harbor, lack of short-term and long-term planning comes in at the top of the list. The question that remains is how do you effectively plan so that your business stays afloat and on the road to success? Luckily, we have the perfect planning recipe.


Set Goals

The first plan includes specific goals that follow the five golden rules of goal-setting.


  1. Set Motivational Goals!

Only worry about goals that motivate you to act on them. These should be specific goals that are important to you. If you have little interest in these goals, then the chances of you accomplishing them are slim. Motivation is key in goal-setting so find goals that relate to your highest priorities.


  1. Think SMART!

All of the goals you set should follow the SMART outline. These includes:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

By following this outline you’ll set goals that are powerful and have a better chance of working out.


  1. Write it Down!

No matter what goals you set, make sure they are written down. The physical act of writing something down helps you remember it.  Also, use “I am” statements rather than “I want” ones. This keeps you accountable to yourself and adds an extra oomph of positive energy.


  1. Take Action!

Don’t write down your goals and forget to take action towards accomplishing them. Part of your goal-setting plan should include a list of action items for you to act on immediately.


  1. Stick to It!

Don’t give up on your goals. No matter how bleak things might seem over time, the goals you set seemed attainable to you once and they can again. Stick to your goals throughout the year and you’ll find the success you planned for.


Quarterly Check-Ins

Part of sticking to your goals is planning quarterly check-ins. Throughout the year you should have small quarterly meetings to assess how things are going. Plan quarterly check-ins with your staff to discuss where your company stands, how they’re doing individually, and how your goals are going. If you own a larger business have each department report to their department heads and then set meetings with each department head to talk about their team.


Mid-Year Assessment

Your mid-year assessment should really take into account how far along you are on reaching the goals you set at the beginning of the year. Meeting with your team, you can talk about each goal, how things have gone so far, and what adjustments need to be made. If things are going well then congratulate and encourage them to keep things going. If things aren’t going well, assess what needs to change and set new goals that’ll help get your team get on the right path.


End of the Year Banquet & Corporate Awards

At the end of every year, your business should hold a banquet to show the employees your appreciation. In fact, throwing a corporate event is a great way to improve employee satisfaction and spark company loyalty. Planning a yearly event can also help motivate your employees and give them something to look forward to. However, planning an out-of-the-world event can seem incredibly out of reach. Here are a few of the key pieces every end of the year banquet should include:


  • Look back at the year’s successes and milestones

Talk about everything that happened for your company during the year. From the little successes to the big milestones, express your appreciation for how far things have come.

  • Discuss what’s coming in the next year

Get together with your team before the event and have a list of what’s coming up in mind to bring up with your entire team during the event.

  • Show employee appreciation

One of the most important things you can do for your business is showing your employees’ appreciation. A way you can do this is by holding corporate awards during the event. The corporate award manufacturer, McGee’s Stamp and Trophy, can create customized awards that’ll help you recognize your employees in a fun and unique way.

  • Have fun!