January, plan-uary. OK, so most ‘new years resolutions’ don’t make it past the third week in January. In my first book, Raise Your Game (Amazon, rrp £14.99) I describe the importance of setting SMALL goals. For example if “keep fit” were on you list of resolutions, a small goal might be to “get ready for a daily walk”. Strangely, if you are all clobbered up (dressed in appropriate shoes and clothing) – then, heck – why not just walk round the block. And if you don’t, that’s fine too – because likelihood is that tomorrow you will. Achievement starts a virtuous circle – and the hardest thing can be hopping on this moving feast, and setting achievable goals is one way to achieve this.
So, back to Plan-uary. January is often when we look back and review the year just gone, take from the year ‘lessons’ – things that worked so well that we want to repeat, and the lessons that we want to ensure that we remember so that we don’t inadvertently repeat them to our cost. It’s also a time for looking forward – thinking about where we want to be personally this time next year as well as thinking about the successes we want to achieve in our business.
6 Steps for Planning
Follow this 6 step process to get your business off to a good start this year.
1. Take 10 minutes to list DISAPPOINTMENTS in your business over the last 12 months.
2. Take another 10 minutes to list SUCCESSES in your business over the last 12 months.
3. Take 10 minutes to look at both lists and look at the LESSONS. For me, in the past, I’ve noticed a 2 step level of commitment to an action. The difference between saying I’ll do something, and REALLY MEANING that I’ll do something. So the lesson for me is to really COMMIT (or withdraw) from actions. What are the lessons that you can take from looking at both your disappointments and successes?
4. List 4 – 6 areas of your business that you want to develop over the next 12 months.
5. Use post-it notes to brainstorm what you want to achieve in these areas over the next 12 months. Set a time limit, say 15 min – and if necessary give yourself no more than an additional 2 minutes to write any final thoughts.
6. Turn the post-its from a ‘cluster’ around the areas of your business, to a ‘calendar’ of when you’ll have the items completed. To really turn the items into a plan, you’ll have to get specific (perhaps even set SMART goals) with each one. Think about the sub tasks that will be needed. For example, if one of your goals is to hire someone, there are a number of tasks to do before they walk through your door on the first day of work. Think job descriptions, advertising, interviewing ….
This should give you enough information to turn your January into a focused Plan-uary and thus set your business up for a great 2015. If you’re REALLY serious about growing your business in 2015, you might be interested to know that there are still some co-investment funding available. Give Angus a call to find out how this funding can really help your business grow in 2015 … and beyond.
Because having some idea of what you want your business to look like / how you want it to function in the future is so important. We’ve written a number of other blogs that you might be interested in taking a look at the following blogs on Planning:
- Why plan?
- Introduction to planning
- Strategic planning
- Planning the right level of detail
- Setting SMART goals