By: Molly Van Lannen, Bay Tek Entertainment

Summer is over and the end of Q3 is only a few short weeks away.  Before we know it IAAPA will be here.  Then we blink and 2019 will be over.  Are you ready for 2020?

The hardest part of planning the future is getting started.  Looking ahead to an entire year can be a pretty daunting task.  However taking a strategic approach can lessen the anxiety and generate a plan of attack that produces achievable results.

Here are some helpful techniques to get you started:

Collaboration:  Include all who play a hand in achieving the goals.  Rely on those who are experts in their functional areas to represent those areas.  They should be feeding information on what they see happening.  What resources they have.  What resources they need.  What capital expenditures they would like to invest in to create even more opportunity in the future.  Allow them to dream freely and think big.

Timeline:  Set a strategic timeline with deadlines for each part of the process.  Stress the importance of the deadlines so all parts come together logically.

Do your Homework:  Understand your history and what has worked in the past.  Research what is happening in your market or the economy.  Analyze how that may affect you.  Collect intel on what the competition is up to.  Recognize what opportunities are ahead.

Set Goals:  Know what your endgame is.  Are you targeting profit in the coming year?  Perhaps your passion is customer service and retention.  Or maybe you want to increase market share.  Regardless of which direction you set, set a clear one.  And reflect that target to help you make choices along the way.   Ask yourself, “Will this decision help me to achieve my goal?”  Sometimes just a simple question can help make a tough decision a little easier.

And finally, do not wait to get started.  It is never too early.  Remember this is a fluid process and should be reviewed constantly.  This should be a living plan.  Keep it close and review small victories or opportunities to understand what factors may have contributed to the success or letdown of each area.

So again, are you ready for 2020?