Planning for a win : An Outside idea
It seems like just the other day when we ushered in the New Year.
Remember… The new goals, new dreams, new intentions and new habits…
Did you have a goal to finally get your plan out of your head and down on paper?
Did you do it?
Did you stick with it?
If you did, you’re statistically in the minority. Good on you.
Imagine you’re playing a game of darts. You walk up confident and ready to ace it, but just as you’re about to throw the dart, something gets in your eye and your vision becomes blurry. Suddenly, you can’t see the target, but you choose to go for it anyway. The results? You miss and end up puncturing the new plaster.
The fuzziness is kind of what it’s like when you fail to make a business plan. Your vision gets blurry, you end up missing the goal, or you may not even create the goal in the first place.
When you haven’t got a plan, you end up doing a lot of hoping. The path to achieving your dreams becomes unclear…
The last quarter is done and dusted. There’s nothing you can do to affect the result now. However, with the start of a new quarter comes the chance to actually make that change.
You’ve heard it here before… “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” And truth be told, running a business without a solid plan makes it much harder to achieve the goals. It’s hard to achieve something when you’re not clear about it in the first place.
What’s the big deal about planning anyway?
Here’s the thing. For every minute that you spend on planning, you’ll save ten minute’s worth of work.
In the long run, you’re able to get clear what needs to be done, smash it, and get to the next thing.
Having a plan will help you get clear on your priorities, set clear goals, assess your progress, and realise the impact you’d like to make.
With all this said, , it’s important to remember that planning may not always give you the result you want. Someone once said, ‘Plans are nothing, planning is everything…But if nothing else, it helps to give you clarity and focus.
It’s one thing to have a plan that one day you’ll earn a certain amount of money. But it’s another thing to sit with yourself and plan exactly how you’ll make that happen. My advice, get down to the nitty gritty.
Planning also helps you with decision making. Because when faced with a dilemma, you’ll always go for the answer that leads you closer to your dreams. Your decisions will be more future-focussed and will guide your current decisions.
At Outside ideas, we’ve found that planning doesn’t need to be a boring complicated process. A relatively simple document is enough to help people get some clarity and focus. You can download that simple document here.
How do I plan?
As part of your new Quarter business plan, you’ll need to evaluate the last Quarter. Sit down and ask yourself some hard questions:
- What went right and what went wrong?
- What made things work, and what made things not work?
- What are you willing to move to the next quarter of the year with?
Because of my personal views on the importance of maintaining a balance between business and life, I always encourage my clients to plan 5 areas:
- Health – How do you wish to improve your health?
- Relationships – Who or which relationships need your concerted effort?
- Personal Development, What can you do to sharpen your saw?
- 2 Business goals – Which 2 parts of the business will help you move farthest and fastest?
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 (KPIs).
If you’re not clear on your goals, then you won’t be clear on how to achieve them. Make SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
Your short term goals should be able to help you achieve longer term goals. This is where the ‘WHY’ comes in. What’s the primary motive behind wanting to achieve that goal, and how will it help you in the long run?
You’ll also need to look at the things that may get in the way of you achieving those goals and how to overcome them. In short, prepare for a rainy day.
Now you know what you want to achieve, the next question to ask yourself is HOW.
What are some of the things that you’ll do to make your next Quarter more productive and successful? The list should be as comprehensive as possible if you’re to achieve your goals.
Once you’ve thought about every action that needs to happen, you then need to put them down in order of priority and sequence. Some things will naturally need to come before other things and some things will be way more important than others.
The action part of it gets overlooked more than other parts, and yet it’s probably one of the most important steps.
KPIs will help you to monitor your progress for the next quarter. So, you have a plan and you know what you need to do to achieve it, but how do you know you’re on the track?
The simple answer to that question is through KPIs…
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 are KPIs that help you measure the actual result, for instance number of new clients, money invoiced etc.
Every week, we encourage you to sit down, monitor your progress, track your KPIs, refocus on your goals and plan for the week ahead. That way, you’ll be able to see if you’re on course with those goals. Planning plays such a massive part of our everyday lives and should be perceived as a natural process. It’s easy as deciding what to do at the weekend or what to have for dinner!
So now you know why it’s important and how to do it. Will you do it, or will we see you again in three months’ time?
Remember, it all starts with a habit.
“Sow a habit, and you reap a character. Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.”