Planning for an Extraordinary 2023

By Donald Cooper

Now is the time to start the planning, making the decisions and taking the action that will make 2023 your best year ever. Now’s the time to work ON the business, not just IN it. There’s lots of talk about a recession next year but you could, maybe even should, choose not to participate. Here are some insights and tools to help you.

First thought: Your focus should be in two separate areas, fixing what needs fixing; and, creating new opportunities for growth and profitability.

Second thought: When you and your team are planning for next year, don’t talk about goals, targets, aims and objectives. These are weak and wishy-washy words that leave way too much wiggle room. Talk about commitments – commitments to your customers, your team, your bottom line, your community and the planet. When we change our language, we change our culture and our results.

The more clear and specific you get about your commitments, the better your results will be. Here are three examples of what clear and specific commitments look like:

  • We commit to increase sales by $800,000 in the next 12 months while not increasing sales and marketing expenses by more than 4%.
  • We commit to reduce operating expenses by $50,000 in the next six months without diminishing our customer service or employment experience.
  • We commit to improve delivery on rush orders by four hours within three months without increasing our shipping expense by more than $12,000 a year.

For each commitment you make, determine what specific activities, actions, changes or initiatives will be done, by whom, by when, at what cost, with what result, measured how and rewarded how to make that happen. Then, determine what resources and empowerment will be needed to get it done – on time.

Third thought: The best way to start this important process is to get real about which areas of your business or department need work. You can’t get to where you need to be if you’re unclear about where you are now.

An effective and quick way to determine where you are now is to download and use my one-page Business Key Challenge Audit Sheet that takes just four minutes to complete. It comes with complete instructions. To download, just click here. There is no charge.

Getting started: Sit down for a few hours with a group of the best minds and hearts in your business, or department and answer the following ten questions:

  • What extraordinary bottom-line profit do we commit to deliver in 2023? Our profit is something we commit to and plan for – not something we just hope for.
  • What’s our sales commitment for next year that’s required to deliver our profit commitment. What are the three or four (or more) most important things we need to do to achieve our 2023 sales commitment?
  • What are the three things we do that confuse or tick off our customers? What will we commit to do to fix them so wonderfully they actually become part of our competitive advantage?
  • What are the three most important new systems, processes or technologies we need to bring into the business in 2023?
  • What are three or four important value, marketing or operational things any of our competitors do better than we do? How will we improve and be the competitive leader in 2023?
  • What are the five biggest expense items on which we can save some money or improve operational efficiency in 2023? Specifically, how will we do that?
  • What are four things we can do to become greener in 2023 and beyond?
  • What are three or four things we can do to improve internal communication and improve clarity about our commitments to customers, to each other and to our bottom line?
  • What improvements in marketing, promotion and advertising will we commit to in 2023 to tell our story more effectively? There’s no point being the best if we’re also the best kept secret. How will we create more customer intimacy, be more responsive to and interactive with customers and prospects? How can we use social media more effectively to achieve this?
  • We can’t grow the business without growing our people and your team. What new talent, skills or experience must be added to our team to compete successfully in 2022 and beyond? What training, development or mentoring does each person on our team need to help them grow? How do I commit to grow as a leader and manager to be more effective in 2023?

Note: Add a few of your own key questions to the ten listed above. Ask each team member to come up with at least one idea to grow or improve the business next year. Give them a week to come up with their ideas and then schedule an Idea Fest. You’ll be amazed at what they come up with.

Bonus Tip: During the ‘Idea Fest’, no evaluation or criticism of ideas presented is allowed. That kills participation.

Create your 2023 business plan, which will consist of:

  • Your profit commitment for 2023 (Click here to access my business tool, The Back-Assward Approach to Profitability).
  • Your Value & Experience Differentiation Plan (how will we be the extraordinary and clear wise choice for our target customers?) Note: If you are a manufacturer, this will include a Product Development Plan. If you’re a distributors or retailers, it will include a Product or Product Line Acquisition Plan.
  • Your Marketing / Branding / Communication Plan (how will we consistently and effectively tell our value and experience story in everything we do?)
  • Your Systems & Process Improvement and Cost Management Plan (specifically, what will we do to achieve world-class operating efficiency in every part of our business?)
  • Your 2023 organization chart.
  • Your Talent Development, Training & Acquisition Plan (Click Here to access my Evaluate Your Talent Pipeline business tool).
  • Your Business Culture Improvement Plan (How will create a culture the best people are attracted to and stay with. Click Here to access my How to Create an Effective Team Culture business tool).
  • Your Cash Flow Plan for 2023.
  • Your projected 2023 P&L Statement.
  • Your three to five-year vision. For even more help in proactively planning for 2023 and beyond, our transformational 40-page Vision Critical Guide provides the insights, tools and templates to create clarity about the future of your business. This transformational ‘Guide’ is available as a PDF download for just $24. Click here.

In conclusion: This may sound like a lot of work but it’s what management is all about. It’s why you get the big bucks! Stop retreating to the familiar, doing the easy day-to-day stuff and hoping for better results. Remember, we get what we work for not what we hope for.

If you’d like help with this important process of Planning your extraordinary future and your bottom line, I’m easy to find at

That’s it for this week. Stay safe! Live brilliantly!

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