Small business consultant Louis Mosca says you should approach the new year as if you are going to war and you should develop your 2018 strategic plan now (actually yesterday), with the help of key people. In an article for, he says to use their input to develop the tactical disciplines that will help execute at an elite level. Have them buy-in to the plan you create, and reward them for exceeding gross-margin targets.

Here's more from Mosca:

You’ve probably heard me preach the importance of a 5-year business plan, and the need to work things backward from a 5-year standpoint. So, for the last 4 years, of the 5-year plan, it should be broken down into quarters, but for the next 12 months, the first 12 months in the 5-year plan, it should be broken down by the month.

If you’d really like to get crazy with your new-year plan, break it down by week-to-week, and track yourself though milestones and flash reporting. Determine how well you’re doing versus your weekly plan, monthly plan, and your annual plan.

You need to start your new-year planning 4-5 months in advance of the year’s end and, here are some considerations I’d like you to think about, as you start playing catching up with yours:

  1. Start developing a list, by-month, on how you did this year. Revenue, profit, and free cash flow.
  2. Did you successfully attain whatever goals you had laid out for this year? If you did, were they too easy? If you didn’t, how come?
  3. If you had a plan, even if it’s a revenue plan, did you hit it, and how did you hit it?
  4. How many accounts did you lose this year that you should have gotten? How many existing accounts did you have that went somewhere else? Dissect it, and figure out why, and don’t be afraid to call these accounts and ask why you lost them.
  5. How much business did you bid on, and didn’t get? Was it a people thing, a pricing thing, a geography thing, a competition thing; what was it?

Answer these questions and find out why you succeeded or failed this year. Otherwise, you’d better get comfortable accomplishing nothing new, if you plan to do the same things next year that you did this year.