Make this your best year yet: The perfect business planning day to run with your team

Our last two blogs provided ways to set up your 2023 for success. This blog will focus on setting a dedicated business planning day, which will help your team get on the same page by collectively setting goals and objectives that will drive your success. 

By setting aside a day for team members to plan, reflect, and strategise together, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and ready to tackle any challenges that come your way. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the structure of the perfect business planning day, the key things to include in a business plan for the year, and some questions and reflections to ask and discuss during the day.

Why you need a business planning day

Having a business planning day is a great way to make sure your company is on track for success. It helps you to focus your efforts, evaluate progress, and plan for the future. It can also be a great way to get your team on board with your vision for the year and to develop strong relationships among staff members.

But planning days can be daunting. Without a clear structure, it’s easy to fall into long, meandering conversations that don’t result in any real progress. That’s why it’s important to establish a framework and key objectives before you start.

We’ll walk you through how to run an effective business planning day with your staff and discuss key elements of the planning process and questions and reflections that should be addressed during the day. By the end, you’ll have all the tools you need to create a productive and successful business planning day that will help you achieve your goals for the year.

How to structure your business planning day

First things first, we strongly recommend making your training day off site and out of the office (or at least part of the day). Not only will this help to create some novelty and excitement around the day, it will help your team to enter the day with a clear head, reinvigorated creativity and a different mindset to approach any challenges. 

A well-structured business planning day with your staff is an essential part of setting your business up for success. So what are some key activities to include in your planning day? Here are some key things to consider:

  1. Establish clear goals – Before you begin your planning day, it’s important to establish clear goals for the year. Make sure everyone understands the objectives and have a shared vision of success.
  2. Brainstorm ideas – Once you have established your goals, it’s time to brainstorm ideas on how to reach them. Ask your team for their ideas and suggestions on how to move forward.
  3. Create actionable plans – Next, it’s time to create actionable plans that will help your team achieve the objectives you set forth. Focus on creating plans that are achievable and realistic.
  4. Ask questions and reflect – During the day, it’s important to ask questions and reflect on how well the plan is going, or uncover things that may prevent something from being achieved. 

By following these steps, you can ensure that your business planning day is productive and effective. With everyone working together and a clear goal in sight, you can make this your best year yet!

Elements of a great planning day

When it comes to running a successful business planning day with your staff, there are some key elements that need to be considered. Here’s a breakdown of the essential features of a great planning day: 

  • Set clear expectations — Let everyone know what to expect from the day, how their input will contribute to the success of the company and let individual team members know well in advance if there’s anything they need to prepare for the day.
  • Develop a timeline — Map out the day’s activities and allocate time for each task so everyone can stay on track. 
  • Create an agenda — Use the agenda to ensure all tasks, goals and objectives are discussed and agreed upon. 
  • Make use of team building exercises — Use team-building activities such as icebreakers, brainstorming or problem solving to help build trust and open lines of communication. 
  • Break up into smaller groups — Smaller groups can help people focus on specific tasks or objectives more effectively. 
  • Ask questions and reflect — Allow time for staff members to ask questions, voice concerns and reflect on ideas so that everyone feels heard. 
  • Make sure everyone is comfortable — Make sure everyone has access to refreshments and enough space to move around comfortably. 
  • Encourage positive dialogue — Supportive conversations should be fostered throughout the day to encourage collaboration and constructive criticism. 
  • Wrap up with a review — Have a closing session at the end of the day to review what was accomplished and go over any next steps. 

A typical day’s agenda might look like…

Here’s a suggested agenda that could help you structure a successful day: 

9:00am – 9:30am: Welcome and session overview

Take this time to welcome everyone and communicate the agenda for the day providing a brief overview of the day’s goals and expectations. This may include an ice breaker exercise (if your team works remotely or don’t know each other too well), or a quick-fire round of wins or celebrations for the year. This is your opportunity to set the tone and energy for the day. 

9:30am – 10:15am: Setting the vision 

This is the time to discuss the overall vision and purpose of the business, as well as identify any core values or key principles you want to operate by. It’s also a chance to set goals and objectives for the year ahead. 

10:15am – 11:30am: Breakout sessions 

Break into smaller groups to brainstorm ideas and develop plans for specific areas of your business. This could include things like marketing, sales, product development, customer service, operations, finance, etc. 

11:30am – 12:30pm: Discussion and reflection 

Bring everyone back together and discuss what was discussed in the breakout sessions. Make sure to ask questions and provide feedback to ensure everyone has a voice. 

12:30pm – 1:00pm: Meal break and refreshments

Take a break to refuel and refresh. 

1:00pm – 2:00pm: Setting milestones and action steps

Now it’s time to put the ideas into action. Brainstorm milestones and action steps that need to be taken in order to achieve the goals and objectives set earlier in the day. Make sure to assign roles and responsibilities for each task. 

2:00pm – 2:30pm: Wrap-up formal part of the day

Review what was discussed throughout the day and make sure everyone is clear on their tasks. Celebrate any wins and set a date for a follow-up meeting or check-in.

2:30pm — 5:00pm Late lunch / team bonding exercise. 

This could be anything from laser skirmish, to lawn bowls to a degustation lunch. This is an opportunity to share wins, bond as a team and give team members the opportunity to discuss concerns, challenges or inspiration in an informal setting. Some of the best, candid and open conversations that help you as a business owner to understand the people challenges of a business can happen during these opportunities. 

Reflection questions to ask on the day

  1. What do you think our business is doing well?
  2. What are our biggest challenges for the year ahead?
  3. What opportunities do we have to capitalise on?
  4. What should be our primary focus for the next year?
  5. How can we create better communication and collaboration within the team?
  6. What kind of resources do we need to achieve our goals?
  7. What do our customers want from us?
  8. What kind of feedback have we received so far?
  9. How can we ensure our business is running at peak efficiency?
  10. Are there any risks that we need to plan for?
  11. What will happen if something goes wrong?
  12. What steps do we need to take today in order to make all of these things happen tomorrow?

BespokeHR offers planning days and workshops tailored to your business. Want to outsource the heavy lifting and have an external facilitator come in to conduct a 2023 planning day, so you can sit back or participate instead of worrying about the day? Contact with the subject line ‘Planning Day’ to book one of our highly experienced consultants today.