Connecting your planning and people for business growth in a post-COVID world

The words "do something great" lit up

In a recent podcast, Firestarter Managing Director Chris O’Riordan was invited to discuss how businesses should use practical planning methods to move from survival mode into business growth and prosperity as we move out of the COVID-19 crisis into a new world.

Chris was joined by Sharon Shapiro, founder of Brolly Marketing, and together they addressed the key issue of planning with confidence to deliver your goals and achieve business growth. Unsurprisingly, when asked about the right time to start planning, the answer was a unanimous ‘now’ – it is important to be positive and proactive; be decisive and make things happen now, or there’s a danger you’ll be left behind.

This will be second nature to most business owners, as from our experience as business growth consultants we see the entrepreneurial spirit among the leaders we work with, with the energy and ability to adapt, improvise and overcome when faced with challenges. However, one thing that can often be forgotten is the need to collaborate with others and surround yourself with other people who will support your plans, hold you accountable and help to take your business forward.

To find out more, listen to the full podcast here:



During the podcast, Chris referenced the recent Firestarter Forums and how we addressed the topic of effective planning with our community of business leaders in one of our sessions. During this forum, five key areas were highlighted as important elements in your planning process:

Planning horizons

It’s important to confront your short term planning, but also stretch things out to different timescales to highlight what you would like to achieve by different times. For example, focus on things like this month, next quarter, by the end of the year, by the end of 2021 and beyond for your legacy. Most people are good at addressing immediate priorities and the longer term strategic thinking, but struggle with what we call the ‘messy middle’ so it’s important to connect all your planning horizons together into a journey.

Logical planning themes

Break your plan down into different sections – logical themes that are meaningful to you. If you look at our example here, you will see that we have used financial, product, team, digital and personal as our key themes in the simple planning template, but you should focus on what’s important in your business and make sure that you address the key actions that will take you forward in each area.

Connected actions

As you will see in our Firestarter Forum – Different Planning Horizons template, it’s as simple as identifying actions within each theme across the different planning horizons that will ensure you achieve your goals. But what is really important is understanding that each of the actions need to come in the right order and are all connected, so ask yourself ‘what’s the next thing that needs to be done?’ and ensure that you embed rhythm and rigour into your business to ‘live’ the actions in your plan.


As Sharon mentioned in the podcast, ‘To plan effectively, you need to have people to plan with’. Every plan needs energy to make it happen and it’s important to surround yourself with the right people who you can trust and share ideas with. These are the people who are going to give you that energy, with the support to execute your plan and take your business forward.

Making it happen

Finally, one of the most important things to remember is that you should never just write a plan and forget it – keep it with you at all times as you need to ‘live it’. You don’t need to spend lots of time on your plan, just stick to simple principles and take a practical approach. Then get yourself an ‘accountability buddy’, someone who will be able to challenge you on what you said you would do and ensure that you actually ‘do it’. Don’t over-think it, just get going and focus on the next thing you need to do in order to bring your plan to life.


At Firestarter, we consult daily with businesses like yours to ignite and sustain their sales growth. Our business growth consultancy is second to none, with over 25 years industry experience, and a diverse portfolio of clients that span throughout the UK. Get in touch with us today – we’d love to hear from you.

If you would like to take part in the next series of Firestarter forums, please do get in touch with us – we’d love you to join our ‘movement’.

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