We’re trying something different at Work Media. It seems like every December we create a marketing plan for the coming year, only to have the plan sit around and collect dust as we get back to business as usual. For big corporations with many specialized employees, maybe the thick paper marketing plan works because there are people who actually have time to look at it and tell other people what to do to stick to the plan. But I’m not sure how well it works a lot of times for small companies like us.
So we’re trying something new. We’re whiteboarding it. I will probably still end up creating a paper plan to flesh out details (SEO, advertising, direct mail), but for the big picture, I’ve written what we want to accomplish in 2010 on a whiteboard so everyone in my office can see it. Now obviously, there is a limit to how much detail I can go into. But details are meaningless unless everyone in the office knows what the “big” goals are, what what we’re trying to get done.
So what is my on our whiteboard? At the top of the board is our revenue goal for the year. Now, your business may be different. There may be a different metric that is most important to you. But for us, being in a business with low capital requirements, I know that if we hit our revenue goal, everything else will fall into place.
Beneath our revenue goal, I’ve sketched out in very broad terms how we will hit the number: how much we have to generate in product sales, how many clients we need, etc. I’ve also created a picture of what our company structure should look like with arrows going this way and that. I like visual diagrams when trying to demonstrate something that can be complex in as simple a way as possible.
The whiteboard approach may not be effective for you. If you have a large office, with lots of employees disbursed in different places, then a whiteboard might not work because not everyone would even see it. But my point is, you should try to come up with something to keep your company’s goals for the year in front of your people’s eyes. Maybe some kind of weekly report would work for you.
Do you have your goals set for 2010? If not, that is obviously the first place to start. Set your goals, decide how you are going to accomplish them, and then make everyone in your company know what the plan is.
If you’re small enough, you might even want to whiteboard it.