One of my favorite end-of-year activities is to map out my business plan for the upcoming year. While many experts tell you to be very specific in numbers and dates, I have a different mindset that allows me to reach and/or exceed the goals I set.
Numbers and dates tend to stress me out and change me from a calm, purpose-driven business professional into a person who comes across as desperate or frantic. While I understand their importance and I do include the income goal for the year in my outline, I don't focus on it.
This is my method of creating a roadmap that moves me consistently toward my goals:
- Analayze where the majority of your business came from in the previous year. Which activities did you enjoy? Which activities were out of your comfort and/or talent zone?
- Take your top 4 goals and write each one down on the top a piece of paper. Set a timer for 15 minutes. Under the title of each goal, write as many activities that you can think of that would help you reach that specific goal. Don't think - just write. If your mind stops coming up with ideas, continue to sit there with your pen in hand and think to yourself, "what else could I do?" Repeat with each of the 4 goals.
- Now that you've written out the activities, determine which 3-5 activities, if done daily, will move you toward your goals faster than the others. They need to be reasonable for a daily schedule. For instance, if networking is one of the ways you have increased your business, is it realistic to think that you are going to find & be able to attend a networking event each day of the week? Probably not. But, you can include follow-up messages (phone calls, etc) to people you've met at networking events as part of your daily disciplines.
- Identify what you can outsource. If connecting to your ideal prospects through social media is part of your plan and you have trouble getting this done without wasting a lot of time, hire someone to do it for you. If you have a local college in your area, check to see if they have students looking for internships. Some of my friends have had great success with these students. Warning: The person who is doing your social media should understand how to use it appropriately for business!
- Create a master list of the activities you will complete each day. Have the list visible so you see it each morning when you sit at your desk and when you return after lunch and other appointments.
- EOD review: Before leaving work at the end of the day, schedule a few minutes to review your daily list. What did you accomplish? What got put on the back burner? What can you do tomorrow to limit interruptions and distractions so you get your work done?
Focusing on activities that generate the results you want will move you toward your goals in a systematic and predictable way.
Stategic. Intentional. Deliberate. This is how small, seemingly insignificant actions, done consistently and with thought, will help you build the business you dream of.