We’re knee-deep into the 4th Quarter and with that comes business planning for 2019! What are your goals, needs and objectives for 2019? Do you approach your business plan with excitement or dread? Do you use your business plan as a tool to review and update goals during the year? Or do you complete your business plan and put it on the shelf, only to be reviewed when you put together your next plan? Based on my experience working with advisors over the years, it comes down to your perception of a business plan’s value. Do you see value in building yours? If you are on the fence, read on to learn how to better utilize your business plan. If you are already an advocate of business planning, I hope I can give you some new ideas for your process.
- Start With Your Vision.
Where do you want to be 10, 15, and 20 years from now? What do you envision for your life and career? Where do you need to be in five years to achieve that vision? What do you need to do in 2019 to set you on the path to hit that vision? Create your career vision.
- Focus On The Future.
Now focus on 2019. What do you need to do in 2019 to get closer to the goals for your five- and 10-year plans? Brainstorm your sales goals, activities, and overall strategies. When thinking about your sales goals consider what those achievements would mean to you, your family, and your business. Tony Cole, sales coach extraordinaire, refers to what he calls the extraordinary conversation. What is your goal for next year? What number, if hit, would make you say, “Wow, that was a great year”? Now, what number, if hit, would make you say, “Now that was an extraordinary year!” Set your goal and activities at a level to achieve the extraordinary. The only downside is you hit your goal!
- Reflect On Your Progress.
Once your goals are set, it’s time to document where your business will come from and what activities you need to put in place. Be as specific as possible. Make your notes as measureable as possible. One of the benefits of reviewing your plan regularly is that you can refer back to what works, constantly evaluate your business, understand where your business is coming from, and determine what activities drive your success. Work smarter and harder. It’s important to not only identify the activities needed but to then make sure you build your daily and weekly habits around those activities. Have you ever found yourself mid-year looking at a number of activities in your business plan that haven’t been implemented yet? Time block key activities into your calendar. If one of your keys to success is calling your existing clients, make sure you book time in your calendar to make those daily calls. You have to have a system in place to easily access the information needed to make those calls. Time blocking is key to taking control of your calendar and focusing on what is important.
- Create a Vision Letter.
Once your business plan is set, create your vision letter! This is an idea I learned from Danny Bader. What is a vision letter? It is a letter you write to yourself a whole year in advance, envisioning what you wish to accomplish in the coming year. In that letter, you write in past tense, how good a year it was and all of the things you did in 2019. Account for all of your goals and your activities. Then, read your vision letter every Friday! Put it on your calendar. You will be amazed at how powerful this can be. We’ve all heard it before, “We often overestimate what we can do in a day and underestimate what we can do in a year.” You will move mountains.
- Review Your Plan.
Review this plan every month! Evaluate where you are in the plan. Evaluate the activities and tactics you are using to achieve your plan. What needs to be adjusted? In what areas do you need to learn and grow?
Your business plan is your roadmap to success. It is a model that will help you reshape your business and take you to new heights. If you start with your vision, focus on the future, reflect on your progress, create a vision letter, and review your plan, you will greatly improve the planning process for your business. Good luck planning!