3 Steps to a Business Plan You’ll Actually Use

Hey Everybody, Dan Holstein here helping your business take flight. Today we’re gonna be talking about the scary subject of business planning. So before you run away, I’m not talking about that seventy page document that’s collecting dust on the shelf. I’m talking about an actual plan of action. A lot of business owners I encounter, they talk about how they want to achieve certain things and the goals in their business, and they don’t end up achieving them because they haven’t got an effective plan of action they can use to execute to achieve what they want to achieve. Today I’m going to share with you three critical components of an action plan you can actually use to achieve your goals. So stick around Okay, so today we’re talking about goal achievement. Specifically three critical components to having a plan that’s going to help you achieve your goal. So I’m going to take you through them at high-level and then we’ll dig into each one. So the first one is actually having really clear concise specific goals or a goal. And making sure you know exactly what you’re driving towards. Sometimes our goals are a little bit too vague which means that we can get off from the weeds, and we’re not going to achieve it. The second is knowing exactly which strategies are going to help you achieve your goal. So if your goal is the *what*, the strategies are going to be the *how*. The third component is measurable action steps. We need to take our strategy and break it down into discrete steps, allocate resources and the way to measure that we’re on on track and making progress. Let’s get back up to to goals. Often I talk to business owners and when they haven’t achieved something, we dig into why they haven’t achieved a goal, and it’s been a little bit too vague. It hasn’t been really clear and concise. The number one thing we need to do to be able to achieve our goal, in the first place, is clearly Identify it. What exactly are we setting out to do? Is it you’re going to earn more money in your business? If that’s the case, How much? Is it revenue? Gross profit? Net profit? Is it a dollar amount? Is it a percent increase over last year? Last quarter? Last month? What exactly is it? If it’s getting time back from the business, does that mean that you’re going to be working just a little bit less? Does that mean you’re going to be working 42 hours a week and not the 80 that you might be working now? What exactly is it that you’re going to be accomplishing so we know when you’ve nailed it. We need to get really specific about our goal. The next thing is we want to make sure that the goal is meaningful to us. That it means something when we achieve it. So if your goal is is money bound. Why is that money important? Is it just to impress your accountant or is it to make sure that you’ve got resources you can use for philanthropic endeavours? Or does that mean that you can buy that new piece of capital equipment so you can increase your production? Does it mean that you’re going to be able to take a little bit more out of the business to pay off some debts or to be able to take a trip. Whatever the reasons are, we need to get really clear on those and make sure that we don’t forget why we’re doing what we’re doing. Because let’s face it, achieving something you’ve never achieved before, means that you going to have to change. And this is the part that gets people tripped up, is that we’re not necessarily willing to make the change. We have a nice goal, it’s specific, but if it doesn’t mean enough to us, we may not do the things that we need to do. Let’s face it, we haven’t achieved the goal yet, which is why we’re setting out to achieve it. So we haven’t become the person we need to become, that would do the things we need to do, to achieve the goal. So we’ve got to realize, to achieve something we’ve never achieved before we have to change just a little bit. That could be a little bit uncomfortable at times. So we need something to pull us through and that’s that *why*. That really important reason to achieve the goal. The next thing is, we want to make sure that it it passes the SMART test. You may be familiar with a SMART goal, which is specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, with a timeframe. So we’ve already covered Specific, now let’s make it Measurable. How do we know when we achieve it? If it’s financial, that’s easy enough. If it’s time-based that’s easy enough, We can measure how much time we’re putting into the business. What if it’s something a little bit more nebulous? Whatever your goal is, you’ve got to find a way to measure that you’ve achieved it and you can measure progress towards it. Otherwise, you can’t tell how you’re doing and we humans we like progress. We don’t need big home runs all the time. If we can feel we’re making a little bit of progress every day, and you can measure that, that’s going to help you stay the course and continue moving. So the next thing is Actionable. It’s got to be action-oriented and that means the goal isn’t just going to happen anyways, you’ve got to do something a little bit different. Remember we talked about change a minute ago? You got to be ready and willing to get out of your comfort zone a little bit to achieve what you want to achieve and take new and different actions in order to achieve your goal. The next thing is Realistic, and how do we define realistic? Well, it’s realistic to you. Not to me or anybody else Your goal needs to be realistic for who you are, where you’re at in your life and business, and what your own unique situation is. Which brings up the other comment around don’t compare your goal to somebody else’s. Doesn’t matter. You’re just gonna set yourself up for disappointment Realistic means you feel a little bit nervous about achieving your goal, but you’re pretty sure that you can. And you know you’re gonna have to push and try and maybe scuffle a little bit to get there but you’re pretty sure you can do it. That’s a good realistic goal. And the next thing is Time-bound. Give yourself a time frame. Humans, we like to procrastinate especially around maybe doing uncomfortable, out-of-our-comfort-zone things, unless that’s just me. I think it’s most people. So give yourself a time frame, so you can’t procrastinate. You’ve got this end game coming up, ok? That’s our SMART goal. Now that we’ve got a SMART goal, Our next thing is well, how are we going to go about achieving it? We might need to learn something. If you’ve never achieved a goal before, can you talk to someone who has achieved what you want to achieve? What can you learn from them? What can you study? Is there workshops, seminars, videos, podcasts…what education get yourself around and learn more about from the people who have achieved something like you’re setting out to achieve. Now we’re arming ourselves with the education so that we can have an effective plan. We need strategies. The next thing here is strategies. What are we going to do? What’s the *how* we’re going to go about achieving our goal? This is where folks end up going a little bit too wide and having too many strategies. What we often forget, is that within a single strategy, there’ll be many action steps. Many tasks. So it’s better to have just one or two strategies, that when executed on well, you’re going to achieve your goal. The strategy is the overall big picture *how*. We want to make sure that you’ve got a way to measure your strategies as well. You can measure your success strategies. You can see progress in the actions that you’re taking. Which brings us to Tasks. The tasks are all the millions of little things that we need to do to implement our strategy that we often think are just going to take a minute or two but often take a lot longer. We want to be really honest with ourself when we’re making our list of all the tasks that we need to roll up into a strategy being completed, are we the best person to do it, or shall we delegate it, or farm it out or contract it out? How much time is it going to take? Is there going to be a financial component? Do we need to set aside budget in order to get those actions accomplished? The next thing is allocating time every week to take some action on your plan. Often what I see for plans, is that everyone front loads their plan, they’re going to do tons in the first two weeks. It’s not really realistic and we find that we fall behind then we get a little discouraged and maybe we’re not going to take action like we could be for the rest of the plan timeframe. Be honest with yourself, you’re already busy. Probably. Most business owners I know are very busy. If you’re going to be taking new actions, when are you going to do them? You’ve already got a lot on the go, maybe you have to say no to something in order to say yes to the actions you need to take to be able to achieve your goals. You want to have one or two actions that you’re focusing on each week, and you’d be surprised how fast the change happens. We need to get started today. Take an action or two every week towards your goal, tick it off off your list and measure that progress. That’s where we need to be guys. First off, a really effective goal that means something to you. The second component is, clear strategies that when executed on, are going to help you achieve that goal, and the third is really clear measurable tasks, and time allocated for those tasks in your schedule, so you can take the action you need to take every day each week in order to achieve your goal. That’s it for this time. If you have any questions happy to help out even review your plan, do some sounding board kind of stuff, And I wish you happy planning, and more importantly happy application, execution, and goal achievement. See you next time

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