The old adage says that if you fail to plan then you are planning to fail. This is more than just a clever play on words, in fact, statistically it has been proven that you are more likely to achieve your goals if they’re written down… not rocket science, is it?
Back in 1973 Harvard University did a study on all of the students for that year, only 3% of the attending students had written down their goals. 25 years later in 1998, that same 3% had acquired over 98% of the wealth!
This is not about putting together a detailed ‘business plan’. This is about having a plan you can execute, and monitor your progress on a regular basis. Depending on your business you may want to review and correct daily, weekly or monthly.
Generally, we have been trained in life to look back and then make an assessment, your accountant is a classic example, they are dealing with historical numbers, and at the end of the year will tell you how much profit you made… or… how much you lost! And by that time it is too late to do anything about it. This is why it is vital that you as a business owner understand the ‘mechanics’ of business so you can be the ‘pit crew’ during the race. As a ‘pit crew’ for your business you will know the result before you’re told at the end of the race.
I have personally worked with over 100 different businesses and can honestly say, the most successful have been those that have been disciplined and created their plan, and also had the consistency and focus to execute it too. After all, a plan will fail if it is executed poorly.
So why is it that so many people fail to plan?
Well, in some cases, it’s just plain laziness, but in a lot of circumstances people don’t know where to start. So what is the best way do go about getting a plan together?
- You need to know where you’re going. If you’re not clear on your vision then you’re never going to arrive, it doesn’t matter how good your plans are… imagine you’re driving to a restaurant, and you didn’t know the name of it, what street it was on, or even what suburb it is in… are you likely to get there?
- Break it down. Goals by nature are high achievements in life, and sometimes it can seem too hard to reach them, we lose motivation and give up! Break your goals into “milestones” so you can celebrate your wins along the way.
- Write it down and make it visual. By writing your goals down you will be much clearer on where you are heading. Look at it every day, stick it on your fridge, or your computer, it can be a picture, the words, whatever will motivate you to keep striving to achieve your goal.
- Tell someone about it. Telling someone about your goals will create accountability making sure you follow through. If you need someone to help you stay on track and keep focused you my well benefit by using a business coach.
- Check your progress and celebrate your wins. Review your goals on a regular basis and celebrate reaching your milestones. Tracking your progress will keep you motivated!
As for making this all happen, you will need to set aside some time to get clear on your goals and create a plan, once you have your goals worked out you need to ‘reverse engineer’ them starting with the end and working back to the start date.
Once you do this you will end up with a daily or weekly set of tasks you need to complete to achieve your goal by the set date.
Finally, make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T tested. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Results orientated and Time Framed.