Barb Girson’s 3 Annual Strategic Business Planning Questions + Business Proposal Evaluation Checklist

It’s that time of year again to reexamine your business strategy. Now is an ideal time to look at your business from new lenses – at 300 feet above.

What will you want to happen differently next year? What will stay the same? Which business proposal was a success? A flop?

If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always gotten. Smart people change their ways.

Annually, I work with my clients to review the strategic business planning objectives that worked, and what did not work. We also determine what their specific goals are for the upcoming year and what needs to change. Included in this article are some highlights from my annual strategic planning process. Use it to create your own review this year!

Business Strategy Planning 2014

Step 1: Success Inventory

Begin by reflecting on the previous year’s accomplishments and incorporate them into next year’s strategic business planning. Write your successes down making note of big wins and small victories. Identify any patterns that led to these successes. Where did you meet your best clients? How did you determine there was good fit between your services and their needs? What is your best source for finding new clients?

Step 2: Three annual Strategic Business Planning Questions

Strategic business planning focuses on three big themes:  a look back, a look ahead, and your next steps.

Assess your business by asking yourself three “big picture” questions. These include:

  1. What tactics and business strategies worked to increase revenue and overall business?

  2. What initiatives were not successful in producing a return on investment?

  3. What is my business vision for the coming year?

Launch your business in 2014

Step 3: Business Proposal Evaluation

Next look at the specific of your win/loss ratio in your business proposal process:

Study your winning business proposals:

  • What are the commonalities of the proposals you have won?

  • What are the main industries you are servicing successfully?

  • What are the sizes of companies where you are getting the most wins?

  • What are the demographics of your best clients?

  • What, if any differences, are there in your client base?

  • Who are your best clients? What is their profile?

  • Where can you find more of these clients?

  • Why did they select you?

Review your losing proposals:

  • Did you agree on the proposal parameters before putting the proposal in writing?

  • Did you have a meeting (phone or live) set up to discuss the proposal once submitted?

  • What were the main reasons that you have lost the proposal? (Price, budget, timing, competitor, business need changed or what, lack of authority?)

  • How was your timing on the proposal? Did you issue it too soon?

  • Did you issue it too late?

  • What opportunities may still exist with clients who said no?

  • When will you reconnect or check in with lost proposals?

  • Do you know why they selected someone else?

  • Why did they choose to do nothing?

Three Key Categories for Your Annual Strategic Business Planning Review

Fortune favors the Prepared.

This strategic business planning checklist is broken down into main business functions / categories, which you can use in conjunction with your rubric to assess the three big questions above. By taking the time to evaluate the business and yourself, you will provide a strong foundation for future growth.


  • Lead Generation

  • Products / Services

  • Follow Up


  • Advertising

  • Professional Organizations, Affiliations, & Strategic Alliances

  • Speaking

  • Website

  • Marketing Collateral

  • Accounting

  • Budget

  • Product Development

  • Set up Annual Calendar

Professional Growth

What will you do to grow professionally and personally in the upcoming year? As you make your way through this strategic business planning process, remember to reflect with honesty and kindness. Be honest with yourself about your growth and be kind to yourself about your shortcomings or disappointments.

They are simply opportunities for improvement, and a New Year is a PERFECT time to strive for the best business and the best you!

Special Quote Roller offer!

Sign up with Barb to get your very own FREE copy of her Sales e-book AND if you mention Quote Roller referred you, get her Marketing and Sales Skills Development Guide for only $9.99 (a $20 discount!)

For other business building resources to help you increase revenue and stay organized, check out the My Marketing & Sales Skills Planner.  Packed full with information, checklists and forms to help you streamline your strategic business planning.

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©2014 Barb Girson Original Work


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