Top Three Tips for Successful Business Planning

We recently teamed up with our strategic partners ActionCOACH, a leading business coaching organisation, to offer our clients and stakeholders access to a free 90-day planning session to get them off to a fast start in 2022. Here are the three of the top tips for successful business planning from the session.

Focus on a 90-day business plan

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day running of your business and finding time to plan and to reflect on what’s working and what’s not, can be extremely difficult. You may have a 3, 5 or even 10-year plans for the business but to be truly successful you really need to focus on the next 90 days. Why?

Because 90 days or 3 months is the optimum time period for setting realistic goals and achieving them. Rather than a long to do list and futuristic goals, the short-term plan allows for a clear focus on what needs to be delivered and the motivation remains high because the goals are realistic and achievable. Any longer and many business owners become overwhelmed or procrastinate.

The key question to ask yourself when setting your 90-day goals is – where do I really want to be 12 weeks from now? And why is this goal important to me? This approach allows the business to be adaptable, reactive and driven in the short term while having the view on their long-term goals.

Setting Clear Goals and Objectives

Rather than trying to boil the ocean, start by focusing on one goal with three key business objectives and where possible also three key individual objectives. Depending on the situation at the time these objectives will change, it could be your cash flow situation, increasing leads or increasing the sales conversion, whatever is relevant to the business at that particular time goes into their plan. From there it is simple to identify clear actions and how to deliver the results required.

The next question to ask is if it is too simple. If you know exactly how to achieve that goal, then it might not quite be stretching you so you could tweak it up one or two gears just to make it a little bit more unreachable so that we have to work harder and ultimately achieve more.

The next key to success is to write the plan down and add in targets and numbers, this gives some clarity and allows for monitoring the achievements on a week-by-week basis.

You now know what you need to deliver as a business but what about your team? In order to deliver what you have set out in the plan it’s really important all those involved in the delivery are fully briefed and aware of what needs done.

Be Accountable

Every single time you do a business plan you get better at doing it, so if every 90 days you’re sitting down and looking at your plan it will be getting more and more robust each time.

Often the overarching goal for the year or the 18 months might not change too much but the how to get there, how many staff are we going to need, how quickly can we implement things etc. is going to change. It is also adaptable so if two out of the three actions are achieved in the first three weeks then you can go back to the plan to refresh and redesign. This is a live plan that is about getting results, which is all well and good, but who is going to hold you accountable to actually do the things that you’ve put in the plan?

It is crucial to be accountable as it is the difference between planning for the sake of planning or planning for results. This could be somebody in your organisation or somebody outside of your organisation like a mentor or coach, but you need to identify who is going to hold you accountable.


ActionCOACH offer coaching for business owners and senior managers from SMEs to large businesses. They offer a number of free business sessions like the 90-Day Business Planning, or you can join the GrowthCLUB which offers business growth strategy workshops.

Article based on the ActionCOACH 90-day Planning Session and LinkedIn Live interview with Phil Ball, Coach, ActionCOACH. For more information on ActionCOACH visit