Now is the time to evaluate the current year, plan for next year, and review internal issues and organizational structure.
Take a long look back over your 2017 Business Plan — you do have a business plan, don't you? If you don't, it's never too late to start the planning process no matter what size your business is.
If you do, what results do you actually review and measure? What Critical Success Factors have you established? Increased profitability? Higher revenues? More personal time?
My sense has been that effective planning is really creating two plans: first, a Business Plan for the business and then, a Personal Plan for yourself. If you can sync both plans together, chances are you will get both better business results and more personal fulfillment. But you have to know what you need and want.
Much information is available for guidance, but it all comes down to establishing those basic Critical Success Factors tailored to your own organization. Establishing metrics for benchmarking your business to peers, the industry and finally to yourself year over year is a basic, simple process to follow — provided you establish and set goals and objectives for each metric or category to measure. Here are some suggestions. You may think of others:
- Revenue results by line of business or department
- Revenue per employee, by department and for the entire organization
- Compensation per employee
- Spread between revenue and compensation per employee
- Producer Benchmarks, such as new business commissions, total commissions in producer's book, annual pay as a percentage of producer's book
- APLR results if profit-sharing and contingency income are meaningful revenue sources — you still have two months to load up volume where it's needed to hit objectives.
Compare these results, monthly and YTD, to peer groups by size, region and to your own business year over year. For example, you can determine where your business compares to others in the top 25% of profit and growth to see how you're doing. You can easily access comparative data from consulting firms, producer organizations like PIA and the Big I, and others.
While all or a major part of the Business Plan will be created by the coordinated efforts of the owner(s), management and other employee contributors (remember, it's good to let others have authorship and a stake in planning), the Personal Plan is all you! It's your life and only you can decide what's right for you, what you want and don't want to do — but you need to plan for it to happen.
Find your own best way to do your Personal Plan and do it alone. Do it away from work. Start with a clean sheet of paper. Turn off your phone. Find a quiet yet inspirational place, maybe your deck or terrace, a park, the beach, the library or anywhere there are no business distractions. Do not get up until you have at least written down enough thoughts to fill a page.
If you haven't tried something like this, try it. You are going to like yourself for doing it.
Barry Seigerman is an independent broker/producer. Contact him at email@example.com.