We’ve all been there. The end of another day when we only completed a fraction of the items on our to-do list. The ideas we come up with in the shower but forget to write down. We’ve all resolved to be more productive, to find a way to capture those ideas, or to tick off things that have been sitting at the bottom of our to-do lists for far too long.
But there’s a big difference between intending or wanting to do something, and planning to do it.
Start with systematic business planning
Sadly, proper, systematic business planning is a dying art. In many cases, the process is so detached from reality that it’s become a time-wasting exercise. Planning never feels like action. Too often we fear that if we’re not in a constant state of motion we are achieving little. However, without a clear goal and milestones mapping out the journey to get there, being busy adds limited value.
We should all undertake some form of planning at least once a year; identifying goals and strategies to achieve them. Your business plan should be succinct yet effective.
Keep your plan alive
Your plan should be a work in progress that lives throughout the year. Avoid rigid, lengthy, and overcomplicated documents you’ll never read again.
Capture your vision
Take a moment to capture your vision for the year. Keep it to one page. Then list the actions that’ll make it happen, ranking them in order of priority. Keep this to three or four core focus areas with no more than a page on each. Any more activity and you’ll probably overwhelm your inbox.
Select an action that will deliver a quick win and build support from the wider business. Couple it with an action you’re more likely to actually do.
Break down complex actions into discrete, simple steps you can process daily or weekly. These can be as simple as making that phone call or drafting that summary email, for example.
Communicate with your team
Turning goals into reality usually means taking others on a journey. Communicate your vision and its milestones with your team, focusing on the specific actions they can support.
Seek feedback and ideas. Hold regular updates to ensure everyone is aware of how progress is tracking. Ask what they can do to help. The more they feel a part of the process, the more they’ll become invested in a successful outcome.
In our group we naturally encourage clients to evaluate their communications strategy and marketing collateral. Do they still align with your new plan? If not, consider refreshing your communications and public relations strategies.
It’s never too late to renew your focus on what you want to achieve. You just need to get that plan in place.