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  • Mary Windham

Make Every Year Strategically Better Than the Last

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

From the Desk of Mary

Event Manager - Entrepreneur - Adventurer

If you follow this blog, you know planning is key to most things. Outlining the bigger picture than getting into most smaller details ensures you can execute any plan flawlessly. The same is true for overall strategic business planning. For Occasions, Inc., I start planning for the new year right after Thanksgiving.


I start by reviewing the past year’s goals and achievements to see which of our goals were met and which were not. It's important to know why some goals were not met and how the others were. Was the goal not feasible? Did we hit our benchmarks? Were there outside factors such as the economy?

By looking back at the past year’s successes and failures, as well as where you stand financially, you’ll start to form a picture of where you’re going. What does the financial forecast look like with current contracted work and cash flow projections? These reflections will create lessons for you and your team.

Lessons Learned

From these reflections, my staff and I determine our top five lessons learned from the past year. These could be obstacles that we now know to avoid or processes we can improve going forward. These lessons learned help us better shape and improve our goals for the upcoming year and prevent future obstacles.


My business development advisor, Dr. Sylvia Jones, introduced the OI team to the practice of developing a business theme each year. This really takes some thought, as the theme should reflect how you want the business to grow and incorporate what you hope to achieve over the next year. This theme should be the constant backdrop to everything your team does over the next 12 months; it will shape your projects and influence how your business moves forward.

For example, you may select the personality trait of "bold," because you want your team to get out of their comfort zone and challenge themselves. Many businesses thrive by taking more risks and thinking outside the box. This is a great theme to focus on if your team has identified stagnant growth or need more creative strategic options.

Action Plan

Establish realistic, feasible, and measurable goals with benchmarks. To reach these goals, a detailed action plan with steps and deadlines should be developed. Regularly check in on your team’s progress throughout the year and adjust goals as needed, keeping the overall goals in mind.

As you go through your strategic planning process, make sure to include your staff or team in the various steps. Their input can be vital to understanding lessons learned, formulating a theme, and effectively developing an action plan. By the end of the strategic planning process, your team will feel empowered to take on all that the next year has to offer.

Leave a comment below to let us know more about your strategic planning process!

And don’t forget to follow Occasions, Inc. on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.


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