Everyone starts a new year with the best of intentions or better known as “resolutions.” The problem with resolutions, whether personal or business, they are often forgotten after New Years Day. More importantly, most resolutions fail because they lack several critical components to help you achieve your goals. But don’t worry, achieving your goals isn’t difficult. In fact, it can be as fun as planning a vacation.
What does planning a vacation have anything to do with achieving greatness? Besides rewarding yourself for a job well done, a great vacation requires planning. No, I am not talking about the short weekend trip to Vegas or to the beach. I am talking about an extended or far away vacation to the place you and your family have been thinking about. A great extended vacation requires planning and thought. What has always worked well for me and my family is to use a checklist so we can decide on and plan out a great vacation.
- Destination: Where are we going? Hawaii, Lake Tahoe, backpacking, Caribbean cruise, RV drive around the country?
- When: Vacation schedules, best time to visit a location, etc…
- Why: Why do we want to go to this place? Beaches, snow, sight seeing, history, etc…
- How to get there: Plane, driving, maps. tour group, etc…
- Activities once there: What are we going to do once we get there?
- Cost/budget: What is the price of the total vacation, including spending money. Can we afford it?
- Guide/Assistance: Who do we talk to if we have never been to this place. A travel agent, a friend or family who’s been there, etc…
- What do we need to pack/Resources: Types of clothing, food/snacks, passports, supplies, etc…
- The unexpected: No one wants to think about the unexpected, but planning for it is critical. Emergencies for medical, theft, or other possible scenarios should be planned and researched.
If you took the time and developed answers for this vacation checklist, then you will be well on your way to a great vacation. If you are like me, you had a place in mind when you read through the check list. What was yours? Now, let’s take that same vacation planning checklist and apply it to business goal planning for 2015. Here are 9 steps to help you achieve a successful 2016
- Destination: What is your goal? Revenue, profit, client count, or it more personal?
- When: What is the deadline of your goal? If you want to lose 20 lbs, when do you want to lose it by? Remember the old saying, ” A goal without a deadline is just a dream“
- How to get there/Action Plan: If I am driving from LA to Las Vegas, I know I have to take Hwy 15 North. I know if I hit the towns of Barstow and Baker along the way, I am well on my way to Sin City. Do you know how to achieve your goal? What is your action plan? Do you have markers/milestone to know you are on track?
- Activities once there/What now?: Once you achieve your goal, what are you going to do? What’s next? Many businesses don’t think about what’s next or what will take place once they have achieved the goal. If your goal is $1M in revenue by end of 2015 and you achieve it, what’s next? Hiring more staff, expanding your service portfolio?
- Cost/budget: What is the cost of my goal? Financial, time, sacrifices… Again, if my goal was $1M in revenue, what is the cost of achieving that goal? Increase in spending on marketing? Working an extra 10 hours a week? Not going on an extended vacation this year?
- Guide/Assistance: If you have never achieved this goal, the best way to accelerate your learning curve is to speak to someone who has. Do you have a mentor, a peer, or a professional that can give you an insight into how they achieved this goal?
- What do we need to pack/Resources: What do you need to help you achieve the goal? Extra staff? Do you know need other resources, such as additional education, training, or a coach/consultant?
- The unexpected: Do you have a contingency plan? What if a key employee or partner leaves or falls ill for an extended period of time? What if the economy has a down turn? Spend time on the “W” weaknesses and “T” threats on your SWOT analysis and develop plans to overcome them. If you are not sure what a SWOT plan is, there are many free resources online. Just Google “SWOT analysis”
- Why: I saved why for last because many business owners are great at planning for everything above, but fail to attach the “why” to the goal. Without knowing why you want to achieve a goal and attaching meaning to the goal, the odds of achieving the goal drops significantly. In addition, even if you hit the goal, it will not feel significant if you have no reason or attachment to the goal. For example, if your goal is to make $250,000 in 2015, you need to know why. For me, my financial goals are specifically tied to providing for my family’s needs and goals. What is yours?
If you take the time to answer each question for your goals in 2015, you should be well on your way to achieving them. You will not only be in the top 3% (according to the 1979 Harvard Study), but be in the top tier of that top 3% because you took the time to answer these 9 questions. Whatever your goals are, I wish the best in your endeavors in 2015. Remember, celebrate your successes along the way. Maybe you can actually go on the fancy vacation you planned out at the beginning of this blog once you have reached your goal.