2016 was a challenging year. Between proposed legislation impacting family gifting (IRS 2704), the DOL legislation impacting overtime, and the political uncertainty of the election, it is surprising that all our heads have not spun off our bodies. One of the biggest pain points of 2016 that could leave a lasting burn into 2017 is all the speculation around proposed legislations. Many of you last year were likely either chewing on your fingers with panic or moving towards action to button up your estate plans and shoring up HR policies. Now, after all that work, we find ourselves with a new party in office. That could mean that much of the proposed legislation could be reversed, may not go into effect, or may not go into effect to the extent you had planned.
So now what?
If you have pro-actively engaged in planning, take a sigh of relief. You are likely in a strong position to adjust to whatever 2017 may (and will) throw at you. It is no secret that we are huge proponents of strategic planning, specifically the kind where you have integrated the plan into your culture, tied performance criteria to achieving the plan, and are actively reviewing your trajectory compared to available resources. We believe it keeps you agile and in the ready position to tackle whatever may be thrown at you – economic, political, regulatory, recruitment and retention, process/procedure - you name it.
For those of you who have yet to do any sort of planning, we could say you are in a bit of denial. You may think that you have saved a few brain cells and time by not engaging in the changes that will impact your business, however your first New Year’s resolution should be committing to strategic planning.
Getting started is easy. The simplest place to start is identifying your vision for the future. This includes understanding the motivating factor for you to get out of bed in the morning and take on the risk as a multi-unit franchisee owner. Asking yourself if it is:
Whatever your motivating factor, tie it to your vision and mission. Once you have done this, analyze where you would like your business to be in the next 3 to 5 years. Consider if you are looking to add more units, diversify your brand portfolio, or take on expanded leadership roles in the multi-unit franchisee industry?
The next step is to take what you have identified, document it, and share your goals with your leadership team. Working with them, you want to determine which are realistic, which are a stretch and which would require a substantial shift in culture or business practices to attain. Then, discuss the Strengths, Weaknesses (internal influences), Opportunities, and Threats (external influences) impacting your business today and your future vision.
For many multi-unit franchisee owners, it is almost impossible to get you out of the day-to-day and spend time working on your business. Believe me, as a succession planner, I get it, “doing” is much more fun than “planning.” But 2016 has shown us that if you are not focused on preparing your business for the potential, probable and possible, then you are in denial because change is inevitable. Also, proactively engaging in the strategic and succession planning process allows you to be at the forefront versus standing on the sidelines when things like industry changing proposed legislation could substantially impact your organization.
Proactive planning not only saves you time, but it prepares you for the ebbs, flows, and inevitable changes that impact your business, lifestyle, and the lifestyles of those you employ. Importantly, strategic planning should not be a one-time exercise. Rather, you and your leadership team should be reviewing on a revolving 3 to 5-year schedule to ensure continued success and growth of your business. This way, you aren’t blind-sided, but ready to take on what’s next.
Cheers to a great 2017!
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