Future plan, or die

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In the words of Phil Collins, you can feel it coming in the air tonight. That most special time of year is finally upon us, which, in addition to spending far too many hours in crammed shopping centres and drinking over-priced German beers in the freezing cold, means it’s time to both reflect and look forward with an eye on your ability to future plan.
Not that all the hard work is done for 2014. In fact, far from it. December is a crucial time for any business as managers and owners take stock of all they have achieved in the preceding eleven months, acknowledge where things could have gone better, and begin to finalise plans for the coming calendar.
The ideal, of course, is to do this as a means of making sure everything is in place to reap even greater rewards in 2015. But it’s also vital for a far more serious reason. Put simply, if we aren’t already setting sights on where we want to be in another 56 weeks, then we risk being left behind completely when that time arrives, such is the pace of change in every industry on the planet.
Here at Smoking Gun PR we’ve had a stunning year that has seen exponential growth in terms of team numbers and our client roster, winning awards in the process. Thinking back to where we were as the company came into fruition and I can’t help but feel some sense of pride as to quite how far things have come. Yet this in itself can be a dangerous standpoint, as it risks being blinded by the current bright lights, rendering me incapable of seeing far enough into the future to ensure we all continue riding high on the waves the firm is currently on.
As a result, already proposals are being actioned, templates and blueprints created for ideas, practices and policies that will only come into play much further down the line. Seeds are being sown from which relationships can grow in the long-term. The war room isn’t concerned with what’s happening in January so much as potential developments next June. And it’s this degree of forward planning that is necessary in order to gauge workloads, required manpower, and assess our chances of further expansion- not just in terms of size, but also reach and overall offering.
By staying put you might as well drop the gear stick into reverse, and let’s face it, nothing could be more damaging to a brand, or indeed agency. So, whilst you prepare for the office party, begin ticking gifts off the list and finalise the all-important holiday days remember this. A business is only as strong as it will be further down the line; whether you’re looking for new investors or new business, without an understanding of where you want to be on the next Black Friday all other efforts are rendered meaningless.