Are you ready for annual business planning?

Annual Business Planning

Annual business planning (aka ABP) can often be the most creative and collaborative time for businesses.

It is the 1-2 month process that results in a road map for a company and its employees. It contains milestones that carry the plan forward through a series of smaller goals that lead to a broader vision of where the business aims to be by the end of the year.

At YF it is the talk of the town as we are not only doing it for our own business but also supporting a number of brands to carry out their process too.

For those without an ABP process, or with a less structured plan, we thought it might be helpful to share how we approach it:

Step 1: The ‘High 5’ and Key Results

Based on our three year strategy, the leadership team will set out three to five objectives for the business in 2022. We call these the ‘High 5’. These are high level, directional and the guiding light that sits beneath our mission as a business. An example; Be truly proud of the YF stamp.

From there, under each of the High 5 objectives, we define three to five ‘Key Results’ which we use to ascertain whether the objectives have been met or not. These Key Results are SMART. For example: Achieve team engagement results of [X]%.

High 5

Step 2: Team Level Briefings

Once the High 5 and Key Results are announced to the business, each department is provided an overview of their expected contribution to the Key Results (note: not every department impacts every Key Result). They are also given an overview of the key strategic priorities for their area of the business. For example: What does the management want to see from them and their team next year?

Each team will carry out a series of pre-defined workshops:

  • Stop, start, continue: Look back at 2023 and reflect on what we should stop doing, start doing, and continue doing next year

  • What went well, what did not go so well against our 2023 ABP?

  • Market reflections: Where are the needs and the opportunities?

  • What do we want to achieve as a department next year? What do we want to be known for?

  • Business planning: What should our critical initiatives be against each of the KRs?

  • How does this look month by month?

  • What does this mean for budget and team organisation?

Step 3: Management Presentations

On the back of their own departmental workshops, each team leader then produces an annual plan and presents it back to the management team at YF. This comprises of an overview of objectives, initiatives and requirements from management to achieve their contribution. ‘Requirements’ include resource, tech, marketing, financial investment and leadership contribution.

Management provide feedback and then the departmental plan is approved in principle.

ABP Planning

Step 4: Total Business Planning

With all departmental plans approved in principle, our marketing team, tech team, and leadership team look at all proposals in tandem – as a whole business.

The annual marketing, tech, financial and people plans are then built.

Management provide feedback and then the departmental plan is approved in principle.

Step 5: Management Off-site

The leadership team spend a day off-site reviewing everything in front of them – at this point, we make final tweaks to plans before signing off the total business ABP including the financials.


Step 6: Team Letters

After confirming the plans back to the team leaders, we use a fun and creative ‘letter writing’ method.

This is where I write a total business letter to the team and each department writes their own letter. Our letters look something like this:

‘Dear YF Team

It’s December 2024 and what a year we’ve had! Here’s what happened…”

It is much easier, and more interesting, than a PPT and all letters are presented at a team offsite and celebration.

Step 7: R&R Setting and Development Planning

Once the plan is signed off and letters are written, we begin cascading and setting individual roles and responsibilities for the year. We also begin development planning to ensure everyone is setup for success.

Step 8: Always aim for the top

Finally, we make sure that we stay motivated and driven to achieve our goals and have a fantastic 2024. 

How do you do it?

Any tips that you can share with other brands? We would love to hear them.

We can help you with your planning too. If you would like to discuss your 2024 strategy or have more specific departmental questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch for a quick chat. 

Want to see more insightful content like this? 

Would you like to be kept informed of any industry news, insights or updates about the YF Services? You can quickly subscribe to our newsletter here. 

Get in touch

Want to stay up
to date with YF?

Subscribe to our mailing list to stay in touch with the latest news, insights and updates from YF.

Subscribe to
YF mailing list

Subscribe today to keep informed of any important industry news and exclusive insights on how you can scale and strengthen your business.

Preferred Suppliers

Our Preferred Suppliers are a selection of businesses that we have vetted and trust to recommend to our brands. We have negotiated discounts or deals with many of them.

Access to the list and discounts is a benefit to Community members only.

If you are not a Community member, find out more about joining here.
If you are interested in being a Preferred Supplier, find out more here.

Member Login

Not a member yet? Find out more here