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With Christmas fast approaching and 2016 drawing to a close, it is time to reflect on the year and start planning for 2017. Our Informed Alliance team has prepared a simple questionnaire to help with your planning for next year.

Many businesses will still be pushing hard to finish the year on a high, but attention does need to turn to planning for 2017. Good business leaders are always looking for the next year to be better than the preceding years and there is of course the  old adage that ‘failure to plan is planning for failure’.

Within your planning process it is important to recognise the factors over which you can exert control and those which you cannot. While you should consider external issues such as Brexit and the potential impact of new leadership in the USA, be careful not to place too much emphasis on media speculation and hype.

Working on your business and not just in the business is a process that many of us unwittingly overlook during busy periods. Why not look at your 2017 diary now and book a series of appointments with yourself during the year to ensure you do not fall into this trap. Using this time to review and update your 2017 plan will ensure that you are well placed to adapt to the opportunities that will come along.

Informed Alliance is our new service, which offers a business planning tool designed to develop a holistic view of a business and from this create an action plan that can deliver on strategic objectives such as business growth or creation of a long term exit strategy. Our Informed Alliance team has identified a series of topics and questions designed to prompt planning for 2017.

In scoring your business on each topic, remember to be realistic and don’t be afraid to get input from across all sectors and people in your business.


A – Excellent – we are doing everything we can

B – We’re doing reasonably well, but need to tidy up some elements

C – Definitely an area that needs action in 2017

Using the scoring above, consider each of the topics below and allocate them A, B or C.
Strengths and weaknesses of the business

(These are always internal to the business)

1.      What are the company’s key strengths?

2.      Can all staff speak about these with clarity?

3.      What are the company’s weaknesses?

4.      Is there a plan in place for each weakness?

Opportunities and threats to the business

(These are always external to the business)

1.      What opportunities are there for 2017?

2.      Are additional resources (time, people, and money) needed?

3.      What threats face the business in 2017?

4.      Are additional resources (time, people, and money) needed to counteract these threats?

Political, economic, social and technological conditions

1.      Any political changes / impacts expected?

2.      Any economic changes / impacts?

3.      Any social changes / impacts?

4.      Any technological changes / impacts?

1.      Specific outcomes to be achieved in 2017?

2.      Things that must be protected next year?

3.      Things that must be avoided next year?

4.      Things we must eliminate next year?
Learning from the past

1.      Do we know how we got this far? Are we repeating and building on the good things?

2.      Are we removing or improving the things that didn’t work.
Key initiatives

1.      Are they key projects or initiatives planned for 2017?

2.      Are these timed, costed and allocated to specific team members, with Key Performance Indicators built in?

Once you have completed this short review, take a look at your results. How many topics have you scored as B or C? Are you confident on the actions needed to improve these scores? This can help to form the basis of your planning for 2017 and beyond.


If you would like to discuss business planning for 2017 please contact the Informed Alliance team at Stephens Scown on 01392 210700 (ext. 286) or