So, January of another new year is here! How are you feeling about the year ahead? Do you feel focused & motivated for doing business in 2012? Or do you wish you had another week or 2 to get your ‘soldiers in line’ before the year really gets underway?
Whether you feel ready to take on the New Year yet or not, pressing pause for a moment to do some due diligence on your business planning for 2012 could be the most important thing you do this week. This is the time to ensure that your ship is setting sail in the right direction so to speak!
Think BIG (Business Insight & Gumption) and you will be on course to creating the results you want in business this year and beyond. Thinking BIG helps you to get to the heart of what your business is all about and reveals how you can align your business values with your planning to create some great results and propel your business forward.
Business Insight + Gumption = Results
Your Business Courage &
Values & Direction Resourcefulness
Your Business Values
To get to the core of what is of the upmost importance for you to achieve with your business, ask yourself some thought provoking questions that get you thinking ‘outside of the square’ for a moment. This will reveal how you feel about the important stuff, and get some ideas flowing as to how you can go about creating the results you want in business.
When answering the Big Q’s below, try to forget for a moment about where things are with your business right now. Try not to become weighed down by how things have gone so far or the challenges you are currently facing. Instead free up your mind up so that you can draw out what is really important for you to create in business, essentially identifying your true business values. You can focus on the ‘how to’ part later.
The Big Q’s:
1. Ultimately, what do I want to achieve with my business?
2. How would I like people to describe the service I and/or my business provide?
3. How would I like clients/customers to feel during and after coming into contact with me and/or my business?
4. What are the things that are important for me to create in business?
Now, a few curve balls…
1. What don’t I want my business to be like?
2. How don’t I want my business to be perceived?
3. How don’t I want to do business?
The purpose of considering the ‘don’t wants’ for a moment is because these things can help guide our business decisions as much as the ‘wants’ can. When the craziness of the day to day running of a business takes over it is easy for the way we are ‘doing’ business to veer off course from our values. For example, being aware of the type of impression you really do not want to give clients will help you design and consistently deliver a client journey which honours your goals around client experience.
The R Factor – Are your goals Realistic?
It is very important to believe that we can achieve the goals we set ourselves and so it is good to check in with how realistic our goals are. Think of this as setting yourself up for growth & success rather than misdirection and disappointment.
So how realistic are your business goals for 2012? If there are any that leave you with a feeling of, “Hmm, I’m not sure how doable that is…?!” perhaps don’t write them off entirely as it’s possible that fear around how things will go could be giving you a slightly negative outlook. However, it is always wise to weigh up just how likely it is that we will be able to attain certain goals so that we can spend our valuable time on helpful, healthy and credible business ambitions.
Tackling, Bigger, Scarier Goals
If any of your business goals for 2012 feel slightly ‘big’ and you’re not sure as to how much you truly believe you can really achieve them, rather than throw yourself in at the deep end, perhaps begin with a bite sized version of the goal so that you can ‘dip your toe’ in the water whilst having the time to revaluate things. Is there a way you can get more of a feel for a goal that feels somewhat out of reach before fully committing your time, energy & resources?
Your Business Direction
Using the inspiration gained from defining your business values and being focused on what it is that you ultimately want to achieve in business, it is now time to create a plan. A good way to begin planning is to visualise yourself in the future at different points and then bring this back to the current day to help you plot the appropriate path and subsequent action steps to get your business to where you want it to be.
Using the plan below or something similar, begin by fast forwarding 2 years to January 2014 and describe in as much detail as possible how your business looks, the products or services you provide, who you are working with, how much money you are making etc. Forecasting 2 years into the future is far away enough that it will reveal whether your focus points for this year are aligned with your longer term goals, but it is also close enough that it’s possible to imagine how your business will be.
|Milestone||My business is…|
(Detail, lots of detail! I.e. – Products, services, financials, locations, target audience, etc.)
Taking BIG Steps
So now that you have the insight as to what you would like to do with your business and by when, it is time to map out the steps you need to take. As with any goal pinpointing appropriate action steps is a question of comparing where things are currently in relation to the goal that you are going after, and filling in the gaps.
Evaluate where things are in your business right now and ask yourself, “What do I need to do in order to achieve my first goal?” Your 2 year plan will help you to prioritise what goals or sub goals require your attention first as it highlights what you would like to have done by this time next week, then this time next month, so on and so forth.
Once you have some solid action steps for the coming weeks, keep checking in with how progress is going. If things get busy, and they will do, be flexible with your deadlines where necessary and be sure to recognise the smaller successes you achieve as much as the bigger ones.
Courage & Resourcefulness
Now that you have clarity over what it is you really want to achieve in business and a belief that your goals for 2012 are both realistic and fit within your business values, you can now throw yourself confidently into taking action.
Making waves of progress with your goals in 2012 will take courage and resourcefulness. Enter this exciting Olympic year with both of these things by:
a) Believing in Yourself
Don’t let niggling negative beliefs undermine you and your hopes for this year by keeping your confidence levels topped up. Feeling confident in yourself is all about feeling proud of who you are, so make sure you make time for the things that give you a feel good buzz and allow you to gain some well needed perspective away from your gaols.
Another good way to maintain belief in yourself is to write a list of 5 reasons (more if you can but aim for at least 5 strong ones..) as to why you have what it takes to achieve your goals for this year. These could include the qualities you recognise in yourself that you believe will help you to get through the challenging times. Refer to this list to remind you that everything will be ok because you will make it ok, when you need to be reminded most.
b) Seeking Support When You Need It
Knowing when to enlist the help of others is one of the key traits of successful entrepreneurs. Develop your business in ways you didn’t think possible by no longer pressurising yourself to be Superwoman and do everything by yourself. No business owner is an island and if there are areas of your business which make you feel isolated or insecure, who can you call upon to support you? If hiring somebody is not a feasible option (and it certainly isn’t an option for most SME’s) you and your business can still gain the input needed from others by tapping into the thoughts and expertise of friends and associates who’s contribution you value. Business is all about relationships so where are the opportunities amongst those people that you know where you could create a win/win situation?
c) Being Your Own Business Consultant
Take time out from being ‘too close’ to your business in order to be able to problem solve and bring fresh ideas to the table by putting on a ‘Business Consultant Hat’. Practice detaching yourself from your business by imagining it belongs to somebody else and that you have been hired to help them improve results. What would you recommend they could do to feel better and to do better in business? This different stance will give you an opportunity to look at things more objectively and to see your business in a totally different light.
Achieving your business goals this year doesn’t only come down to careful planning but, more importantly, it comes down to knowing the purpose behind your business activity. This year, think BIG, think achieving the results you want by using your Business Insight & Gumption as a guide.