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As a startup, it's important to be agile and adapt to changes in your competitive space. That's why we recommend working with short cycles and overcommunicating your plans to leadership.
Asking an agency to jump into “annual planning” makes me nervous. The scariest plans I’ve seen are those “5-Year Manifesto". So much can change over a quarter. If you’re a startup, you have to be agile. Especially if you’re in a competitive space or attempting to create and define a new category, you must keep adapting to the changes out of your control. Yes, you need a plan, and yes, you need to communicate it with leadership. But keep the cycles short.
Execution is far more important than long-term planning. Otherwise, you end up with the dreaded process of...
“When is THIS coming?” “In 6 months.”
“Have we deployed this yet?” “Next year.”
“When is this happening?” "[BLANK FACE]"
Yes, this is as much about internal marketing and getting buy-in as it is about organizing your team around a set of SMART objectives. I recommend working with short cycles and overcommunicating. You need a combination of...
The immediate objectives. Where is the focus TODAY? NOT in 6 months. What are the things you’re executing this month and this quarter? How will it be measured? How does it tie back to business objectives? The CEO needs this clarity to trust you. Otherwise, they'll be on your back (with Sales). If you need a template, we’ve got you.
A visual representation of how the 90-day plan comes together. Where is the overlap? What steps need to happen at the beginning? It stops many internal questions. Product Managers do this well with excellent product roadmaps. It's the same concept. See page 7 of the above template. Go deep on this with the executive team if necessary.
A sanity check on the progress that is (or is not) being made. The numbers. What is going down onto paper? How is it being communicated? When is it being shared?
There’s no perfect template. But here are the exact ones I use with Series A / Series B start-ups.
Seems overwhelming and you'd like a consultant to ride along with you, or want to outsource it all together?
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