Between shutdowns, re-openings, and pandemic pivots, you might be struggling to get out of reactive mode inside your business.  

But 2021 is approaching quickly. If you haven’t started thinking about how to approach the next 12 months, you’re about to be behind the curve.

Annual planning is crucial to help business owners refocus on their vision and re-calibrate their goals accordingly. In the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS®), two full days each year are devoted to creating an annual plan. That may seem like a lot of time to a busy entrepreneur, but remember: ”An hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing.”


“An hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing.”


Reflect and Celebrate. Start your session off right by first acknowledging your accomplishments over the last 12 months. Take note of what didn’t work well or go as planned, but be sure to celebrate those wins.

Review Your Vision. Take a Clarity Break before you revisit your vision with your team. Do you still want the same things you did one year ago? Do you still see yourself achieving those things in the same way? Have your company culture, customer base, or offerings evolved? 

Check-in on Team Health. Start an open and honest conversation with your team. Identify one thing they’re great at and one thing they need to start or stop doing. That discussion builds awareness and leads to a discussion of the deeper issues, both crucial for healthy leadership teams.  

Update the Numbers. Set new targets for revenue, profitability, and any other measurables you have for your business, such as # customers, average revenue per customer, etc. These metrics are usually broader than the drilled-down specifics that appear on your weekly company scorecard.

Set Goals. What steps can you take in the next 12 months to help you reach your updated vision? Make sure your goals help you move in the right direction rather than get you sidetracked. 

Create Your Next Actions. In the EOS vocabulary, these actions are Rocks, the goals your team sets for the next 90 days. Again, Rocks should flow directly from the 12-month plan you’ve created. You may also have shorter-term steps to be completed in the next 7-14 days.

Get Your Team’s Buy-In. Your leadership team should be involved in your company’s annual planning, and they need to be on the same page with the company’s vision and goals. If you don’t get that buy-in, you won’t see consistent success. A business isn’t usually a democracy, but it’s not a dictatorship either. Communicate openly and honestly with your team to establish a united front.

Use a Facilitator. Optional, but in many cases, this simple step can exponentially increase the effectiveness of your annual planning. Working with an outside facilitator can:

(1) allow the entire team, especially the business owner, to focus on building the vision of the company instead of running the meeting (two very different mindsets)

(2) open channels for better communication by acting as referee and encouraging all team members to share their opinions

(3) ask questions, challenge ideas, and highlight potential opportunities and obstacles the leadership team may have overlooked


If you don’t yet have a facilitator for your annual planning, I highly encourage you to consider using one. Our consultants are able to work with most small businesses, regardless of what system your business currently runs on—even if that’s no system at all. 

Annual planning season is our busiest time of year, and within a few weeks, we’ll be booked solid through January. Reach out to us today to learn how we can help your business with annual planning.

–Eric Crews
Founder & President
Crews Consulting Group 


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Skimmed it? Here’s the recap:
— Reflect on the last 12 months. Acknowledge accomplishments and take note of things that did not work well. Ask yourself: do you still want the same things as you did 1 year ago or has your company evolved?
— Have an open and honest conversation with your team. Give transparent feedback and make sure that your leadership team is involved in your annual planning and on the same page.
— Update your numbers and goals for the future. Identify your next steps and specific measurables that can help you achieve your new targets.
— Be open to inviting a facilitator to give an unbiased perspective and keep your team in focus
Reach out to us today to learn how we can help your business with annual planning.