Planning & Forcasting Like Football

A company I worked for have their planning and forecasting meeting for the following year near the end of the first month to the middle of the second month. One year it was in the third month. What's wrong with that picture?

Planning and forecasting like that is like a football team showing up for the playoffs and in the middle of the first quarter, calling a time out to strategize how to deal with this team. You know they had to have watched the films, made the play plans, practiced and planned and forecasted and readied their strategies long before this game. It is way too late even the day before, let alone the day of the game.

If your company is going to be planning and forecasting next year, it might have started in October, but worst case scenario is early December. You want to hit the ground running, right? By the time you get to December, it is pretty much done except for the results. So, it makes perfect sense to get the game plan going for at least the next quarter if not the whole year. Get it planned out. If it doesn't meet the plan, modify the plans as needed, but have a plan.

How will you market? What will you market? What sells best in the first quarter, second quarter, third and so on? What new products do you want to bring to market? Considering the current business climate, what will be changed to try to move the needle upward? What were the successes last year? What were the failures last year? How is my mix of product? What should I change about my mix? What about services? Can I increase my business in another area to help make up for the lower amounts in other areas? How do I market that? Where can I get some help?

Waiting until the next year is under way is completely ineffective. You might as well plan your day after lunch--that is, if you can stop it long enough to do so. Do your planning and forecasting like a great football team. Get your game on!

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