You may have heard that in business if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. – Benjamin Franklin

Well that may not be your experience in business so far – or in life, but creating a plan for your business success will certainly improve your chances of your business reaching its potential.   While business planning and goal setting might be far from your To Do list, get them pushed to the top, your business will thank you for it.

After 16 years in business, I can tell you that I have not been great at planning or goal setting for the first few years – and it showed.  In 2020 I saw exactly what can happen to you when you aren’t ready for anything. 

While you might be sitting there wondering how Covid, lockdown and restrictions might have helped you achieve any goals at all I want you to think of it like this, those that had set goals had a direction.  That direction was to get from A to B.  Most of us like to work out how to do that in a straight line, the shortest distance.  However, the end goal doesn’t necessary change, the path towards it might have to though.  This is when we started hearing that magic word “pivot”. 

By definition to pivot is to turn or twist

As a netballer for many years I can tell you that you need solid ground under you in which to do this effectively.  If you don’t you can slip and fall into a heap – and isn’t that what we saw so many businesses do? 

They didn’t have the solid ground under them, they didn’t have the planning and goal setting foundation on which to masterfully tack left or right.  They were stopped in their tracks, unsure of how to proceed.  I am excited about the plans I have worked on and the goals I have set.  I feel ready!

Your online presence was quite possibly the only visibility the world had of your goods and services.  The word “pivot” became a catchphrase.  What will 2021 hold for you and your business?

The feeling of unease and unpreparedness of 2020 may have left you wondering if it is even worth making a plan for 2021, I want to tell you that planning is more important than ever. 

A plan is not set in stone.  If you perceive having a plan as something that you must follow rigidly or fail then you are looking at the purpose of a plan as black and white – and you shouldn’t.

A plan should contain factors for perceived “what if’s” and strategies that allow you to change direction with minimal disruption.  Nobody could have predicted the world shutting down the way it did because of a virus, but it happened and what I saw was business owners that were so stuck in their mentality that they were not able to open themselves up to alternative possibilities.  I also saw some amazing ingenuity that created unlikely collaborations, new use of machinery and technology, and let’s face it, some unprecedented successes.

The ability to change and adapt starts with you.  Your mindset cannot be so fixed that you aren’t willing to imagine your business being something different.  So right now, I want you to give yourself permission to use your imagination. Open yourself up to possibility and brainstorm with employee’s, family, mentors, coaches – whoever it is you talk business with.  Do this as a starting point for your 2021 planning.

Giving you a benchmark in which to measure your success;

Keeping you on track for achieving longer term goals; and

Making sure you are using your time productively.

The value of planning lies in the act ofthinking about your business from different perspectives. It resides in the processes you map, the contingencies you anticipate and the direction you focus on.

Working on your Business Plan is about thinking outside the box to balance risk and reward.

Planning for success means asking yourself three very important questions

  1. What are your strategic objectiveswhat do you want to happen in your business.
  2. What will it take to achieve themwhat resources will you need, what are your sales targets and marketing strategies.
  3. What alternatives are thereif resources aren’t available, sales targets aren’t met or marketing strategies aren’t successful – what will you do.

A good plan always starts with your vision and mission statements.  What does the big picture look like for your business?  If you don’t have a vision then what are you working towards?  If it is just to get by each week then that is probably all you will achieve.  Extend your thinking to beyond what you are achieving now, or what you need next week.  These things become arbitrary if your focus moves to something bigger and more important.  Short term thinking gives you short term results.

What you want and what you need aren’t always the same.  Be willing to delay short-term gratification for long term greatness. – Mandy Hale

In putting together your plan for 2021 it has to start with your vision.  So write that down.

Everything you do should be about getting you closer to your vision.  When you set goals they should all be goals that support your progression to your vision.

It is never too late to find out what it is that you want. – Rita Wilson

Write down your goals using my FREE Goal Planner.

Yes it includes your 5 year goals – but come on – a vision is big picture thinking so we need big picture goals reverse engineered.  Once we have reverse engineered your goals so that you have expectations of what you want to achieve in given time frames I want you to then throw in some curve balls and other needs based on time.

This is where you have to critically assess the amount of time you have to work on your business each week, how long you need to take care of family, housework, fur babies.  Because the entrepreneurial grind is going to blow out to 12-16 hour days if you aren’t prepared to set your expectations according to the amount of time you are willing to spend performing the tasks that are needed for you to achieve your goals.

If you don’t have enough hours available to meet the requirements of your goals then you have to decide on a course of action. 

Get Help or Amend your Goals So You Can Succeed.

When creating goals around what you want your marketing to do for your business think about the amount of time you have to manage the results.  Can you cope with 10 more clients a month?  If not then adjust your marketing plan.

Successful financial goals rely on a number of factors.  You need to have a sales process, a marketing plan and you need to manage your business finances in order to assess the chance of achieving financial goals.  A financial forecast needs to be an organic document that is constantly updated and reviewed. Comparing your forecasted numbers to your actual numbers on a regular basis means you can make decisions about what action you should take.  

A business plan needs to be updated, reviewed and compared to what is actually happening.

How do YOU fit into your plan?

If you don’t have a plan for your own health and wellbeing what will happen?  In assessing the time you have to work on your business each and every day, you also need to consider the time needed for reflection, for thought, for you. 

Ideas and creation peak at times when the human brain is relaxed.  The most productive time of day will vary for each person, but generally speaking people cannot maintain high productivity for longer than90 minutes at a time. 

This needs to be a factor in how you plan your day. Consider breaking up your day with activity that allows you to re-energise. Trying to go full speed ahead for hours on end is one of the contributing factors to burn out.

Your daily plan might look something like this – 

9.00am – Tasks for Goal 1

10.00am – Go for a walk/meditate

10.30am – Manage email inbox

11.00am – Tasks for Goal 2

12.00pm – Lunch break

12.30pm – Meet people/take meetings/return phone calls

2.00pm – Perform a physical task

2.30pm – Tasks for Goal 3

4.00pm – Check and confirm the following days deliveries, appointments, tasks, prepare and organise.

You may even want to break your time down into smaller chunks of time using thePomodoro Technique.  My point is that you want your time to be focused and meaningful. 

Giving your full attention and energy to a task will produce better results than exhausting yourself multitasking with no breaks and no balance.

So start thinking about 2021 now.  Start preparing now.  Next year can only be what you want it to be if you know what that looks like and what action you need to take to make it happen.  The actions you take on a daily basis will create consistency.  Consistency leads to success.