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Start planning for 2022

 1 November 2021     Donald Cooper 

October just ended, so now is the time to be doing the planning, making the decisions and taking the action that will make 2022 your best year ever. Now’s the time to work ON the business, not just IN it. Here are some insights and tools to help you make 2022 your best year ever.

First thought: Your focus should be in two separate areas: fixing what needs fixing; and, embracing new opportunities for growth and profitability.

Second thought: When you and your team are planning for next year, don’t talk about ‘goals, targets, aims and objectives’. These are weak and wishy-washy words that leave way too much wiggle room to not perform. Talk about commitments. Change the language in your business.  When we change our language, we change our culture and our results.

The clearer and more specific you get about your commitments, the better your results will be. Here are three examples of what clear and specific commitments look like:

  1. We will increase sales by $800,000 in the next 12 months, while not increasing sales and marketing expenses by more than 4%.
  2. We will reduce operating expense by $50,000, in the next six months, without diminishing our customer service or employment experience.
  3. We will improve delivery on ‘rush orders’ by four hours, within three months, without increasing our shipping expense by more than $12,000 a year.

For each commitment you make, determine what specific activities, actions, changes or initiatives you’ll implement and what resources you’ll need to get it done, on time. Then, determine specifically who will do what, by when, at what cost, with what result, measured how and rewarded how, to make that happen. This may sound like a lot of work but it’s what management is all about. Stop retreating to the familiar, doing the ‘easy day-to-day stuff’ and hoping for better results. Remember, we get what we work for not what we hope for.

Third thought: The best way to start this important process is to get real about which areas of your business or department need work. You can’t get to where you need to be if you’re unclear about where you are now.

An effective and quick way to determine where you are now is to download and use my one-page Business Key Challenge Audit Sheet that takes just four minutes to complete. It comes with complete instructions. To download it, just click here. There is no charge.

Action to take: Sit down for a few hours with a few of the best minds and hearts in your business, or department and answer the following 10 questions:

  1. What extraordinary bottom-line profit do we commit to deliver in 2022? Our profit is something we commit to and plan for not something that we just hope for.
  2. What’s our sales commitment for next year that’s required to deliver our profit commitment. What are the three or four (or more) most important things we need to do to achieve that 2022 sales commitment?
  3. What are three things we do that confuse or tick off our customers and what will we commit to do to fix them so wonderfully that they actually become part of our competitive advantage?
  4. What are the three most important new systems, processes or technologies that we need to bring into the business in 2022?
  5. What are three or four important value, marketing or operational things that any competitor does better than we do and how will we improve and be the competitive leader in 2022?
  6. What are the five biggest expense items on which we can save some money or improve operational efficiency in 2022 and, specifically, how will we do that?
  7. What are four things we can do to become ‘greener’ in 2022 and beyond?
  8. What are three or four things we can do to improve internal communication and improve clarity about our commitments to customers, to each other and to our bottom line?
  9. What improvements in marketing, promotion and advertising will we commit to in 2022 to tell our story more effectively? There’s no point being the best if we’re also the best kept secret. How will we create more customer intimacy, be more responsive to and interactive with customers and prospects? How can we use social media more effectively to achieve this?
  10. We can’t grow the business without growing our people. What new talent, skills or experience must be added to our team to compete successfully in 2022 and beyond? What training, development or mentoring does each person on our team need to help them grow? How do I commit to grow as a leader and manager to be more effective in 2022?

Note:  Add a few of your own key questions to the ten listed above in order to get on the right track to make 2022 your best year ever. Ask each employee to come up with at least one idea to grow or improve the business next year. Give them a week to come up with their ideas and then schedule an Idea Fest. You’ll be amazed at what they come up with.

Bonus Tip:  During the Idea Fest, no evaluation or criticism of ideas presented is allowed.  That kills participation.

For even more help in proactively planning for 2022 and beyond, our transformational 34-page Vision Critical Guide provides the insights, tools and templates to create clarity about the future of your business. This transformational guide is available as a PDF download for just $24. Click here.

That’s it for this week. Stay safe and live brilliantly!


Phoenix AMD
Stearns & Foster
This HGO article was written by:
Donald Cooper
Donald Cooper

Donald Cooper has been both a world-class manufacturer and an award-winning retailer. Now, as a business speaker and coach he helps business owners and managers throughout the world to rethink, refocus and re-energize their business to create compelling customer value, clarity of purpose and long-term profitability.


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