man looking at whiteboard

How Annual Planning Can Dramatically Enhance Your Finishing Business

Growth is the central strategy for most finishing and coating businesses. The purpose of growth is to increase profit and shareholder wealth.

Jim CastigliaJim CastigliaOne of the strategies that can have the most impact on growth is your annual planning meeting.

Last month, I addressed the topic of vision (Where Are We Going?) and introduced the idea that dreams are a powerful cultural force for Americans. The idea of “the American dream” has been institutionalized.

One place you can review your company’s vision, or if you prefer dream, is during your annual planning meeting with your top people.

This article will make the case for taking the opportunity to step back from the day-to-day, scheduling, and implementing your planning session if you don’t currently host one each year, or if you do, bring a few ideas to the table for improving the experience for you and your team.

Topics to Cover

Once you have a date selected and the time allocated (at least four hours, if not eight or more) for this initiative, here is a list of topics to cover:

  1. Review your company’s vision, purpose, and mission, keeping in mind that an authentic vision inspires people and being “on a mission” attracts people. The purpose is your North Star. It guides and directs every one. It is never fully achieved but is the reason for your existence.
  2. Review your corporate values. Which ones need to be reinforced? Does everyone know the values and adhere to them? Are they current?
  3. Establish the goals and objectives for the company and each department. What needs to happen to move forward? Are the goals and objectives clear, specific, measurable, action-oriented, result-based, and have deadlines and timelines?
  4. Now consider the areas of focus and responsibility that need to be identified to achieve the goals, values, vision, mission, and purpose. Great companies focus on the vital few priorities and critical drivers that make a difference and don’t get distracted. Know what to focus on for 2024 and, as importantly, what to ignore. Where does the buck stop? Who’s responsible for what?
  5. Discuss the external factors that can affect the organization. What is your competition up to? What are the economic trends? What are the industry trends? What are the trends in technology? How will you proactively respond to what you observe?
  6. Now is the time to do a thorough SWOT analysis. What are your company’s strengths and weaknesses? What are the opportunities and threats?
  7. Assess your team. Do you have the right people on board in all departments and in all roles? Are they the right fit? Are they fully engaged? What support is needed from the top to enhance the quality of the team?
  8. Lastly, how are you going to finance all of the above? Create a realistic budget for every department that effectively forecasts your needs.

Feel Inspired About Future

After reading this list, you may be thinking you’ll need more than eight hours. Whatever you do, take the necessary time to complete a thorough strategy for 2024. Everyone should feel inspired about the future and committed to the work that’s been done during the session and will be done in 2024.

Since you’re a subscriber to this site, don’t hesitate to contact me for a no-charge, no-strings-attached session for the purpose of answering any questions you may have about your planning session. 

I support small businesses because I know how much successful ones impact our country and the people in it. I’ve been privileged to help companies get better and grow.

My direct email is and my cell/text is 949-338-7141.

Jim Castiglia is the founder of Business Street Fighter Consulting and supports entrepreneurial business owners in their desire to grow and maximize the value of their business. He can be reached by email at or by phone at 919.263.1256. Visit