How do you feel about planning?
Did your heart just sink at the mention of it?
Well stick with me because I am going to share with you, my 3 top tips to make your business plan match your reality.
You are not the only one who plans out their sales forecasts, figures out all the things that need to be done, gets really excited about how you’re going to make a difference… and then it feels like nothing happens.
You put all that work in and it’s really deflating when everything that you spent your time on didn’t actually work.
I can understand your frustration but planning is a really important tool for your success.
It’s part of identifying the actions you need to take to bring your vision to life.
It makes all the difference, so I want you to hold your nerve.
If you want to know how to make your planning actually lead to results for you and your business, then this article is for you.
Here are 3 things you need to do to make your business plan match your reality:
1. Remember That It’s Okay To Learn
The first thing to know about making your business plan match your reality is that there is no failure here, only learning.
Everything is an iteration of what you did before.
If you plan with the intention that everything is learning and that everything is an improvement on what has gone before then success happens every single time.
So what if something didn’t deliver the results you wanted?
It has happened to me and more than once but I always know that these are learning points that I can get something from.
I always yield a greater insight that helps me do better next time.
More than that the learning gained invariably jumps me to the next stage which is ultimately a better result anyway.
Remember that it’s okay to learn. There’s no failure.
You watch the insights, you learn from them, and you apply them next time.
Don’t allow something “not going to plan” to slap you down or put you off course.
2. Focus On What Matters Most
Focus on things that can act as levers in your business.
What do I mean by levers?
Carefully chosen milestones can be levers if you think of them as something that makes a significant difference to your business.
They push you to the next stage and act as a lever to the next stage of your growth.
Choose One Lever Per Quarter
The way to plan using levers is to choose one lever that will push your growth to the next stage each quarter.
As you make your business plan for the next 12 months (and remember it doesn’t matter when you start this process as long as you start now) choose one lever.
This is the one thing that will make a difference in your business and push you to the next level.
Examples of Impactful Levers
Sometimes it’s hard to think of what could act as a lever so here are a few to inspire you.
- Breaking into a new geographic market.
- Building a Content Marketing Process that helps you create consistent content and gets your message out there.
- Creating a Brand that expresses who you are and pushes you to the next level.
- Launching your first ever online course.
- Hitting X,000 listens on your podcast.
- Securing a Deal with a New Customer Segment
- Writing Your First Book, or second or third book.
- Hiring your first sales team.
- And so on.
Consider if you hit one of these every quarter what your business would look like by the end of the next 12 months.
This is what taking it to the next level looks like.
Focus On Your Chosen Lever Every Month
So, you’ve got your quarterly focus.
Now in each month, make sure you are guided by that lever.
Often with entrepreneurs, there’s so much to be done. It’s very hard to prioritise.
This is what you are going to prioritise: one lever per quarter, and in each month, you do one, two or three things that help you get that lever realised.
This will help you push to the next stage.
This is what enables your business plan to match your reality.
You are focused on what is going to make a significant difference to your growth while having the space you need to do it.
This approach doesn’t overwhelm and it means you keep pushing forward with a clear plan of action in place.
P.S. Sometimes levers can be so pivotal they may take more than one quarter to realise. If that’s the case, break them down. We want you to feel the momentum of your own growth.
Check out our Quarterly Planning blog post which contains a free Planning Template that you can use to bring this to life in your business.
3. Decide Once
I recently read a book called The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi.
The description on the book says Embrace What Matters, Ditch What Doesn’t and Get Stuff Done.
It’s a great book and one I’m going to recommend to you now.
One of the key lessons in this book is to Decide Once about anything you need to make a decision on.
In all the clutter of decision making, procrastination can easily settle in.
It delays your growth and causes stress.
Remember you CAN make decisions.
You made a decision to read this article, didn’t you?
That means you can make other decisions too.
So apply this principle to everything you do and you’ll see that the speed of the growth of your business will also increase.
In everything you do allow this idea, this mindset, to “decide once” to come into your being.
- What are you going to do in each quarter?
- What’s your lever for growth? Decide once.
- You have a video to shoot but find yourself hesitating. Decide to do it. Set a date. Decide once.
- You’re hesitating about that call you need to make. Pick up the phone, decide to do it, decide once.
- And more…
Deciding once can make all the difference to making your business plan match your reality.
Make your planning deliver
When you implement these three approaches you will start to see your business plan match your reality because you are creating a space in which it is safe to learn, you won’t overwhelm yourself, and you will have a clear focus.
These three simple things will make your planning deliver.
You will forgive yourself when things don’t work and use it as a learning point.
It will allow you to focus on what matters and leverage your growth consciously because you’re making conscious decisions about what to do in each quarter.
You will only choose what makes a significant impact.
And you will make decisions more easily, and more freely because you’re deciding once.
Let me know if you’ve any questions or insights you’d like to share on this topic in the comments below.
And if you’d like to know more about how to build a marketing strategy that takes your business to the next level then check out Get Strategic Get Results™.
This is our 12-week signature program that shows you how to put all the ideas expressed in this article into action, one transformational step at a time.
I love to work with businesses, both large and small to help them create sustainable business dreams... Brand and Strategy are at the heart of everything I do and that gets rolled out digitally and across any channel where your customer lives.