Planning for the New Year

Were you satisfied with your business results over the past year? What are you going to do differently in the coming year? Have you established your business and personal goals for the new year?

You know the old adage "Failing to plan is planning to fail!". Think of the subject of business planning - does it sound like a difficult chore like cleaning out the garage or going in for major dental work? Necessary but painful tasks.

Do you know why most people resist planning or at least resist putting a plan in writing? Most people resist planning because they don't want to be held accountable (or hold themselves accountable) for the results. Well, don't put anything in your plan that you don't want or plan to achieve! A plan is for you, not to impress someone else! 

If you are a business owner, you are truly fortunate. Take advantage of this and plan to conquer your own destiny!

The key to good planning? Just do it. Here are four quick and easy steps for setting your business plans that you can use to get started and stay with it.

1. Your present vs. your target position. This is the opportunity to realistically assess where you are today and where you want to be. What are your unique strengths and weaknesses? How will they help you define your vision, mission, and purpose?

The key to success is to set goals and objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART) to reach your planned destination. 

You might have one, three, and five-year goalsbut focus on one 90-day plan at a time that leads you toward your goals incrementally. This will be easier to visualize and easier to start on.

2. Strategy. Strategy is your high-level assessment of resources needed to achieve your goals and objectives. What resources (time, team, and money) do you need to get your desired results? What will you need to change in your approach to achieve different results? 

3. Tactics. Tactics are the specific tasks that must be executed to support your strategy. What is the most cost-effective (and quickest) way to get your desired result? Who, what, when, and where? 
The tactics need to support your overall plan and priorities. Remember that you may need to be creative and flexible in re-aligning the resources in order to meet your goals. There are many ways to get the desired results. Don't get bogged down in the tactics.

4. Feedback. Feedback is a key element of the planning process. How are these strategies and tactics working for you? Is this a realistic approach? What is working and not working? 

Remember that you have SMART goals and objectives. You must measure the results you get and compare the results to the stated objectives. Then take that learning and factor it into the next planning cycle. This last step is key to having a plan that actually moves you closer to your goals.

"Only Action gets you closer to your dreams - do something today that your future self will thank you for."


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