Now that you have consumed all of the holiday calories any sane person should, rang in the new year with vigor, and are cleaning up the debris from 2014, you may ask yourself “what will 2015 bring”? Maybe you have been twisting your mustache and contriving your master plans, but if you are like most people establishing a big 2015 plan, or a laundry list of resolutions is met with just a smidge of overwhelm.
I absolutely love this time of year to set aside time to really clean the slates and lay out your vision for the new year. Set real and measurable goals, and feel like the world is your oyster, and you just need to go out and grab it. Ah yes…”go out and grab it”…that’s what gets us every time. The execution seems to be the unreachable holy grail. Setting aside the elation of my goal-setting-drunken-stupor, I have to admit that sometimes we can get carried away with plans way bigger and more elaborate than we could possibly expect to implement.
More and more I have come to learn that the best strategic planning entrepreneurs I know relish in the virtue of “simplicity”. Keep it simple slick! Go too big and too elaborate and the hairied fray of daily life is likely to take you off course and turn those business resolutions into historical myths in no time. Now “simple” does not mean insignificant. Several of my clients in the cleaning industry this last year added on over $200,000 in revenue last year, or went from never being able to cash their checks, to taking out a steady sizable salaries, or started taking cell-phone free vacations with their family. They did this through setting simple, meaningful, measurable goals, and executing with laser focus.
Do you want to do this yourself this year? Great! I mean, why not? None of us are getting any younger and this year is as good of a time as any to get what you want out of your business and your life. In the spirit of ski film legend Warren Miller “If you don’t achieve your goals this year, then you’ll just be one year older when you do”. So get to quiet place, turn off your phone, clear your mind and ask yourself the following four key questions for you to generate your mini plan:
Get’s you thinking, right? Let me run through each question and what we hope to achieve from each.
What worked well in 2014, and how can I maximize those things moving forward? Think about your biggest successes, the times you felt the best, when your team was most proud, when your business made it’s best record gains, when you felt the most in control, or other things that worked well. Don’t make your list too long. Even if you have had a great year to think about your top 3-5 pivot moments this last year will be most helpful. Write this list on your one page mini plan. Then write for each one how you might build on these accomplishments in this next year.
What didn’t work in 2014, and how can I make sure not to repeat the same results moving forward? Ponder your year’s biggest sorrow’s, wheel spinning, frustrations, backwards movements, missed opportunities, etc. And again, try to really be selective about what were the “Top 3-5” blunders, and write them down on your mini plan. Then for each of your items write what you could do to avoid repeating those mistakes this next year. Be sure the things you add are things in your control. So don’t write “the local factory won’t shut down”, for example because you have no control over that, but instead “I will monitor the marketplace and my business’ sales monthly so I can identify problems early, and make business changes smartly and swiftly.”
What do I really want? You won’t find this question on many business planning tip lists, but it is actually the most important question you will answer here. In my experience most people never get what they want out of their business because they don’t know what they really want, and yet make plans that are not really tied to anything worth fighting for. Contemplate this for yourself …”what do you really want?”
What are the 2-3 measurable goals will I accomplish in the coming months? Now that you have answered 1-3, pull it all together to DECIDE and COMMIT to only 2-3 measurable goals that you will accomplish in the coming months. You may find it helpful to use a smaller intervals of time than one year, such as 3 months. We can endure just about anything if it only lasts 3 months, right? By shortening your length of time to implement you will be more likely to set achievable goals that you really do in this short deadline. Then when the 12 weeks is over, just like quarters in school, you will take a week’s break, and then move onto a new phase and set 2-3 more goals. There is a good book on the market regarding this concept and it is called “The 12-Week Year” by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington.
Find it difficult to find the time read all of the business books that you want? Check into audio books. I subscribe to audible (owned by Amazon) and for a few bucks a month I get to download one credit towards any audio book, and they have a generous accumulation, etc. Anyway, that way I can listen while I am traveling, driving, and doing other things.
So, now that your visual mindset is going, go get your groove on, and execute like your life depends on it. Or should I say “execute like your lifestyle depends on it”, because it does. Happy New Year!
Let me know how your plans are going!