What's Your Annual Plan?

What’s your annual plan?

As we begin another year, it’s important for associations and their business partners to have a clear understanding of what the coming year will look like. What are our goals? What strategies will we use to reach those goals? Did we meet the goals we had for the past year? Without a mechanism in place like an annual plan, it’s almost impossible for an association or business to know where they’ve been and where they’re going. The inclusion of an annual plan can help take the guesswork out of the process.

The first step to achieving goals is to come up with an annual plan. A strategic annual plan makes it easier for managers, team leaders, and company owners to execute their vision for improvement. A solid annual plan is also a great way to make ideas actionable. Because without action, your plan is simply words on a piece of paper!

What is an annual plan?

An annual plan is simply a roadmap that outlines the goals an entity expects to achieve in the coming year. It will also include milestones throughout the year that carry the plan forward through a series of smaller goals that lead to a broader vision of where the entity aims to be by the end of the year.

For a community association, an annual plan could include some or all of the goals and milestones below:

  • Board meeting dates
  • Annual meeting date and election information
  • Contract terms and renewals
  • Budget timeline and milestones
  • Notice requirements
  • Community projects like roof replacement or grounds improvement
  • Seasonal preparation tasks such as pool opening and closing and winter preparations
  • Community events

Why is an annual business plan so important?

Annual planning helps define what's important to achieving goals and driving performance. It also helps keep the association headed in the same, cohesive direction. A well-written annual plan can help you set the direction for your company while providing the team with a sense of direction.

  • Annual planning generates efficiency because it circles around performance.
  • It helps to define what is critical to achieve over the year.
  • It delivers clear leadership to team members, and it helps to keep the workforce united.
  • Employees gain a clear sense of direction in their departments and roles.
  • An annual plan can rally an entire organization around goals. It can also provide a stronger connection to the company’s strategic plan.

What does an annual plan look like?

While there are many options out there that will help map out annual plans through software, a simple excel or word file will also suffice. Start with a list of the months and add the routine tasks that you know will occur on a regular basis. For example, an association will typically have a set schedule for reserve transfers, meetings, and property inspections. These can quickly and easily be added to your spreadsheet or document and will start setting the framework for the annual plan.

Once the routine tasks are in place, move on to the larger goals for the team. Are there large projects projected to be completed in the coming year? Make a list of these top goals and then list out all the tasks that need to be completed to achieve the end goal.

For example, an association has the goal to repave parking lots in the community by the end of September. Great! But how do we make this happen? We use milestones or an outline of steps in the process to help communities reach their goals.

The milestones needed to reach this goal of paving in September could be the creation of an RFP (request for proposal), solicitation of the RFP, Board review of the proposals received selection of vendor, and then finally scheduling. If the Board intends to have this task completed in September, the use of an annual plan will help map out the timing of the necessary milestones to reach the end goal on time. When we look at the steps necessary to reach the goal in relation to a calendar year, we can see that we will need to start this process several months in advance to ensure that the goal is met. Add the steps or milestones to the annual plan in the appropriate month and repeat for each project or goal the team has for the year.

In a nutshell: An annual plan is a strategy used to plan and execute the organization's goals and objectives. A solid annual plan can remove confusion, offer clarity, and encourage cohesion as team members work toward accomplishing the same goal. Anything is possible when everyone is working together towards a common purpose.

Does your association or business have an annual plan? If not, perhaps now is the time to start using one. Make the suggestion at your next staff meeting and review. Consider preparing a sample or template of what you think the association or company’s goals and milestones should be for the next year using the simple format that we discussed above.

Armed with the right tools, plans, and processes, you can create a well-conceived and executed annual plan that ensures the year ahead lives up to everyone’s expectations.

 Jessica Simpkiss, CMCA, AMS, PCAM is a portfolio manager with MyStreet Community Management. She is active in multiple chapters of CAI, and serves on the Communication committee at the local SEVA chapter.

Share this post:

Comments on "What's Your Annual Plan?"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment