When preparing a business plan or an annual sales plan I always consider what is possible before determining the numbers. This method is called activity based planning. The conventional method of looking at the previous year and applying a percentage increase just doesn’t make sense to me. Preparing a plan based on last year’s results is basing your future on the past. It’s like driving a car while constantly looking in the rear view mirror.
I like to get the entire organization involved in building the plan. First I ask people to consider what is possible. What new customer’s do they want to capture and what new markets do they want to develop? Specifically how do they plan to accomplish these goals? What business volumes do they expect to result from these activities? How do they plan to develop existing customers and what volumes will these activities produce?
There are many other factors that must be considered do complete a plan however I’m sure you are getting the idea. Getting everyone involved in the planning process helps them accept responsibility for the deliverables. It becomes their plan!
Wouldn’t you really prefer to compare yourself to what’s possible rather than just what was?