Are you sick of them yet?
It’s not even December and it seems that every second email or notification that comes my way is reminding me that there are only ‘x’ weeks left until Christmas and that the end of the year is coming really fast!
And why do they bother me so much?
Is it because I’m constantly reminded that I haven’t done all of the planning that really I should have done by now for next year?
Now let’s break that down… the ‘should’ have done already.
Why should I?
Tell me I should do something and I’m quite likely to do the completely opposite.
Do I want to have completed planning for next year.
Well actually yes. Why? Because then I would have clear direction, know where to focus, my unconscious brain can already start formulating plans on how to achieve everything etc. etc.
Do I have a week by week tactical plan drawn up taking me from Jan 1st right through to the end of the year again – hell no!
Do I have a clear vision, defined strategy and have the year somewhat mapped out to know what time, effort and resources are needed in what areas – very much so.
But where to even start? Well…here’s my quick start 3 part plan for….planning!
1. Start far beyond where you can imagine
There are SO many books, articles, programs out there teaching how to plan, how to organise, how to set goals. The best way I have found when starting the process is to keep it really simple.
It’s very easy to get straight down into the tactics, the ‘how’ to make something happen.
However, at the beginning, stay up there – right up there in the scary stuff – the dreams and the ultimate visions that you probably haven’t shared with many, if any people because you know they’ll laugh at you or at the very least won’t understand and try and give you ‘more realistic expectations’.
We’re talking about that burning desire within you. The REALLY big plan. The one that you have absolutely no idea how you would ever make happen.
Start with that.
Put it down on paper.
What would it look like? How would you feel if that happened? What would the change be because of it?
You have full permission at this point to not only stick your head in the clouds but get right through them.
2. Write the ’to don’t list
Once you’ve gone way up there – to that crazy dream that seems totally unrealistic and that you have absolutely no idea how you could ever possibly achieve, it’s time to flip the whole process on it’s head.
This is where you go back and examine the day to day.
What is it that you are dong that is moving you, even a millimetre closer to the scary dream. What is it that is taking you further away. Are you working with the right types of clients? Are the products / services that you sell congruent with that scary dream (yes, of course they are not likely to be the ultimate or ‘final’ product or service at this point – not if you’ve gone high enough up in those clouds – but are they aligned?).
What are all the things that you are going to stop doing next year because they are not serving any purpose whatsoever in moving you towards where you would truly like to be going.
3. Map the journey
At this point, you’ve got a crazy dream that you won’t share with anyone else and a list of things that you do right now that you really don’t want to keep doing and / or if you’re honest should not be doing (this is particularly true in the early days of a business where..and we’ve all done it – said yes to opportunities that really we should have said no to simply because we want to get runs on the board, we feel we can’t turn away clients and we’re looking solely at the bank balance – it’s those things that should all be on that ’to don’t’ list).
So the 3rd step in the quick start 3 part planning process is to map the journey. Or build the ladder, or climb the mountain – whatever metaphor works for you – the idea is to bridge the gap somewhat between where you are now and where you want to get.
If you have an annual revenue goal of $1 million and you’re at $50,000 right now – it’s not likely you’re going to achieve the $1 million in the next 12 months (not without some serious rejigging of model, process etc.) but…what are the steps, what are the milestones, what are the shifts that need to take place in order to make it happen over let’s say, the next 5 years?
What would that journey look like?
What would that equate to in terms of numbers of clients, or contracts? What would the average sale need to be to make that happen? What would the team need to look like?
Again, nothing needs to be perfect, and at this point I certainly still don’t get into the ‘how’ to make anything happen but simply nut out what each mini stage would look like.
And there you have it. The easy 3 part planning process to kick start your next chapter.
Yes of course there will need to be tactics that get added and the next stages broken further into quarters, months, weeks – but unless we know where we ultimately want to head and the stages that getting there would involve, and unless we can take a good look at what needs to change right now because it’s taking us further away from climbing that mountain – then all of the weekly goals and action points are meaningless.
So hands up, who’s going to give it a try!?
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"Confessions of a Small Business Owner"
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Chief Brand Strategist
Kerry Chick is a stressed out business owner who, in her head runs a super streamlined, beautifully efficient, well-oiled machine of a business. The reality is a little different….here are her confessions!