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Biz Plan Crowdsourcing

We’re approaching that time of year when we reassess our business plan and update our goals for 2013.

Seems fairly straightforward… and it can be.

But if you want to step away from drinking your own KoolAid and the academic elements of what business planning should be – I feel strongly the process should include a bit of crowdsourcing in the mix.

Your brand and your business lives and dies not only with the satisfaction and success of your customers, but with those who embody it every day – your employees.

If they are not a regular part of your planning, you are missing a huge opportunity.

We regularly do ‘Start | Stop’ exercises that have now expanded to be ‘Start | Stop | Continue’

At least once a year we ask the whole team to submit answers (anonymously) to the following

What should our company start doing?

What should our company stop doing?

What should our company continue doing?

We then aggregate the answers and share them, then run a dot exercise (having everyone put three dots on the  answers that resonate the most with them in each category.) Based on those that are most supported, we consider making changes to our company policies. It’s resulted in the creation of a Flex Day policy, changes to our business development process and tweaks to our culture.

This time we wanted to take the crowdsourcing a step further by asking our team up front for inspiration and ideas for the biz plan. Several years ago I had proudly shared with one of my mentors our company business plan for the next year. His response? Why are you so focused on your quantitative goals and revenue? Where is the qualitative and aspirational aspects about who you are and what you are hoping to become?

So, I’m constantly tweaking what our business plan includes. Incorporating our company values and client testimonials into the feedback, having qualitative goals about positioning and culture and linking revenue and business development goals back to who we are and who we aspire to be.

In that vein, we stepped further down the crowdsourding path and asked our team the following questions:

WHERE DO YOU SEE THE BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY FOR THE AGENCY?

WHAT IS A NATIONAL OR REGIONAL CLIENT THE AGENCY SHOULD PURSUE?

WHAT SERVICE LINE DO YOU THINK THE AGENCY SHOULD EMPHASIZE MORE?

HOW DO YOU THINK YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE AGENCY’S SUCCESS IN 2013?

WHAT IS A BIG, HAIRY GOAL FOR THE AGENCY IN 2013?

Questions that hopefully lead to some realistic input and some aspirational stretches; a balance that every plan needs.