Alice came to a fork in the road. “Which road do I take?” she asked.
“Where do you want to go?” responded the Cheshire cat.
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
When you look ahead to 2011what do you see for your business and your life?
Have you thought about your vision, strategy and intentions for 2011?
Are you clear on how you are going to get there?
If you don’t know where you are heading to when you set out, you can very easily end up wandering along the wrong path and not achieving what you want or need to. While having an element of flexibility along the way is hugely important (you always want to be open to new ideas and opportunities that pop up) you do need to have structure and focus to guide your decisions and ensure that your valuable time and energy is really taking you to where you want to be.
Reflect on this:
On graduating from the 1979 Harvard MBA program, class members were asked “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” Only three percent of the graduates had written goals and plans; 13 percent had goals, but they were not in writing; and a whopping 84 percent had no specific goals at all.
Ten years after gradating the members of the class were interviewed to determine a link between having clear, written goals, and the amount of money they were earning. The 13 percent of the class who had goals (not written) were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all. And what about the three percent who had clear, written goals? They were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together.
What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School, Mark McCormack
Whether you are just starting a business, or already established, you will be fully aware of the importance of being clear on your vision and goals, writing them down, and having a plan to action them. The whole concept of a business plan or business strategy is based around forward planning and goal setting. If you do have a business plan, congratulations on getting that far â€“ but do you ever re-visit it to check in, refresh yourself, refine your targets and keep moving your business to new heights?
Ultimately, there is no denying that unless you set yourself a clear purpose, vision and goals for your business (and your personal life), and keep it alive and present, you are unlikely to get there.
The New Year is a natural time to focus in on this â€“ so set aside some time NOW to create or refine your 2011 targets. Ask yourself the following questions and be honest with yourself (don’t hide behind last year’s goals, or things you have simply thought about â€“ remember the Harvard Graduatesâ€“ really challenge yourself to be your best).
Are you clear on:
- Where you want to take your business this year?
- Who you want to engage with (clients, employees, stake holders)?
- How much revenue you will generate?
- What new products or services you will launch?
- How you will promote your business?
- How you will fit this work in around the other (important) aspects of your life?
And before you think you are done â€“ it is essential this business strategy is kept alive and that you set yourself up for success:
- How will ensure you focus on these goals regularly?
- Where can you write them and how often will you check in on them?
- How will you know when you achieve your targets?
- How will you celebrate once you get there?
- How will you cope with challenges that pop up along the way?
- Who will you connect with to keep yourself accountable and on task?
If you want to make 2011 your best year yet, you need to step up from the beginning and set yourself up for success. Having a clear written business strategy, and keeping it alive and present in your daily work, will contribute greatly to having a successful and conscious year in your business and in your life.
One big problem!
Writing a business plan is boring, letâ€™s be honest! When we first started out we used a template we were given by a business support agency which was great, but it was SUCH a drag to write!!! It doesnâ€™t have to be this way
There are creative, insightful and fun ways to step out of your business and plan for the year ahead.
To find out more about how you can do this, check out our ‘Profit with Purpose’ DIY Business Retreat and Online Consultancy Package – it will take all the stress out of your business planning for you!