Planning for Success in 2024: An Outside idea
Planning is a vital ingredient for success in 2024. It gives you clarity and focus and makes you a lot more organised as you go after the dreams that you set out to achieve. For this reason, every small business owner needs to take a few hours out of their day this January to plan for 2024.
It isn’t just about jotting down dates; it’s about gaining laser-sharp focus and turning your chaos into a well-behaved order. With proper planning, you can easily track your progress, adjust accordingly, and end up succeeding.
I read the other day that 49 out of 50 businesses are started without a business plan.
I was shocked…
Having done a business degree, all my early businesses had detailed business plans that ran to pages and pages of text with charts and numbers and projections and plans. It didn’t matter how much effort was put into them, they always ended up in a draw and were largely forgotten about.
Mike Tyson said everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. Dwight D Eisenhower said planning is futile, but the act of planning is indispensable.
What they meant is that the moment you start to act on your plan, the battlefield changes, and your competitors and customers don’t read your plan.
So Why Plan?
Here’s the thing about planning…
For every minute you spend doing it, you’ll save at least 10 minutes in implementation. Whilst planning won’t guarantee a result, it will give you clarity and focus, arguably the 2 single most important determinants between success and failure.
Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, 2 of the most successful people on the planet were once asked what they thought the #1 attribute was for success. Both agreed that the ability to focus on the task at hand, without distraction, was the key.
Spending time on planning and strategy helps you spend more time in what Steven Covey calls Quadrant 2 – The important but non-urgent stuff, that is the hangout of the highly successful person.
I no longer condone mammoth business plans (unless you’re chasing funding or a sale). I find that a relatively simple document is enough to help people get some clarity and focus is usually more than enough.
What Should I Plan?
As someone who passionately believes in business and life balance, I endorse people setting goals for an epic lifestyle. I passionately believe that we should all have bucket lists and dream boards and that we should actively work to tick things off.
But with that being said, I want to introduce you to the Circle of Life. It’s a simple life coaching tool that I use with my clients that ensures that they are working towards a balanced life. Essentially it’s a spider graph with 8 quadrants, each quadrant has a title for instance business, relationships, health, spirituality, fun etc. each axis has the numbers 1 -10 up the side and for each, you score your life in each area out of ten and then join up the dots. If we are living a perfectly balanced life you’ll have a perfect large circle. You can download our circle of life template here.
Whether you do the circle of life or not, when I’m working week to week with my clients, I encourage them to work on 5 goals – Health – Relationships – Personal Development and then 2 business-related goals.
How Do I Plan?
I encourage my 121 clients to do 5 sets of planning each year.
First, we concentrate on longer-term dreams, goals and aspirations that they have for their life and business. We take time to look at 5-year goals and 1-year goals in isolation. After we’ve completed the longer-term plans, we spend time every quarter planning the next 90 days’ activity.
When creating any plan it’s important to focus on three specific areas. We always start with goals. After we get clear on our goals, we think about all of the various things that we need to do to hit those goals. Finally, we look at key performance indicators. I’ll break them all down in more detail below.
We start with goals, like I said earlier, I encourage my clients to work on 5 goals in each 90-day period. Health, relationships, personal development and 2 business goals. The key to good goal setting is complete clarity. To achieve, you must decide what you want, and then really specifically write it down. I’m sure you have used the SMARTER method for goal-setting builders. It’s an oldie but a goodie and it’s what I use. For each goal, I also encourage people to think about WHY they want it, what may get in their way and how they could overcome it.
Once you have crystal clear goals penned down, the next step is to take some time and think about literally everything that you need to do in order to achieve the goal. The more comprehensive the list, the more likely you’ll be to achieve the goal. Once you’ve thought about every action that needs to happen, you then need to sort them by priority and sequence. For instance, some things will naturally need to come before other things and some things will be way more important. In my opinion, the action part is probably the part that gets overlooked the most but it’s probably the most crucial (it’s the plan).
Ok, so you’ve got a dream, you’ve set some goals and you’ve created a plan, but If you want to achieve, it’s not enough to simply leave it there. You must set yourself some key performance indicators. Setting KPI’s in my experience is something that most small business owners struggle with, it’s a case of not knowing what to track, how to get started but the reality is it’s a process that with a little bit of discipline and consistency will supercharge your results.
There are two types of numbers that you should be reviewing in your business:
Lead indicators – These KPIs help you monitor the activity that you need to do to get the business, for instance number of calls, number of meetings, number of proposals.
Lag indicators – These KPIs help you measure the actual result, for instance number of new clients, money invoiced etc.
Measure and Refocus
We encourage you to monitor your progress, track your KPIs, refocus on your goals and plan for the week ahead – every single week. The more that you can gamify the process the better your success. Just remember, we are what we repeatedly do. Success, then is not an act, but a habit.
I hope that this little guide helps you create a killer plan for 2024.
As always, if you need any help, you know where I am.
Onwards and upwards my friend.