2016 is coming quick. It will be here before you know it. First comes Christmas and then just a few days later we celebrate the new year.
We will be creating our new year’s resolutions soon, and then promptly breaking them a few months later. Diets, going to the gym, becoming a better person, and enjoying life to the fullest are some of the top new year’s resolutions.
I bet you have already started to think about what your new year’s resolution will be.
Why do people wait for the new year to start something? Is it because the new year is like a blank slate? Wouldn’t you accomplish more if you started now instead of waiting?
The same goes for your business. You need to have a plan. Your plan doesn’t need to be set in concrete or anything like that, but you need to have one.
Keep your plan as a living document.
Start planning your 2016 now. This way you will be ready to hit the ground running when 2016 does come around and not waste the first month planning things.
5-year plans don’t work.
Being in charge of your business and where it goes is a great responsibility. Having a 5-year plan will not get you very far. The problem with a 5 year plan is that you never know where your business will be in just a week never-mind 5 years.
Creating a 5-year plan you will waste a ton of time trying to predict what will happen. When you are running your own business you need to be agile, quick to change. (I refuse to use the buzzword “pivot”). I used to never plan more than a month in advance. This works, but I didn’t grow. I didn’t have a direction.
I then started to plan out my next couple of months. This worked as well, but, I was still not getting the results I wanted. My plans were short-sighted. When I made choices they were based on short-term goals.
So I decided to start planning for an entire year. I don’t keep it as law or a constitution. Instead, it is a guide. My business compass if you will. When deciding the direction I will take or planning out my day I make sure my time is being spent in the right place and bringing me closer to my goals.
I know that my plan is a living document. I re-evaluate my plan at the end of every month and make sure I am moving in the right direction and also make sure my goals are still feasible and are the right goals for where I am. I plan to plan.
The 7 P’s
The 2 years I did attend college I spent them at a regimental school. While the structure probably helped me become successful today it was just not for me. However, one thing stuck with me. The 7 P’s.
It was in our maritime safety class that I was introduced to it. We walked in and this big marine that meant business quietly wrote “7 P’s” on the board. He asked us what it meant.
No one could figure it out. Finally, he told us: “Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance”. He followed this up with “and no one wants piss poor performance when their life depends on it”. Needless to say, we quickly learned the importance of planning and how important this class was.
I have lived by this phrase since then and have been using it in my business as well. If you do plan properly, you will be successful. The trick is to learn how to plan and prepare.
A 57,984 FT view of your year
When planning out your year it is important to remember that it will change often. I like to start with my goals for the year. Make sure they are measurable. Some examples of good measurable goals are to gain 2,000 subscribers by the end of the year or $10,000 in monthly revenue.
I use a quick little worksheet I created to figure out my goals and to create my yearly plan. You can download the worksheet here.
I start by writing down everything I want to accomplish in the new year. I try to keep business and personal life separate, but when you work for yourself it is very difficult.
I then take and circle the most important goals. These become my main focus. These goals are what drives my entire year. I find that 3-4 circled goals are best.
When I did this exercise I had the following goals listed and circled:
- Double my monthly income
- Sell 5,000 copies of the products I create
- Create 6 products in 2016
- Gain 5,000 subscribers
These are the 4 I circled that were related to business. I then looked at them a little closer.
And what I noticed is that one of those goals would help me reach all the others.
Gaining 5,000 subscribers.
With 5,000 new subscribers, I could get more freelancing gigs, sell more products, and get more product ideas to create.
This is my number 1 goal in 2016 and everything I do will be working towards that.
So now that I had my goal in mind I worked backward to fill in my plan for the entire year. I knew that to get 5,000 subscribers I would need to gain 416/month. Not so bad when you look at it that way.
I could now figure out how many blog posts, tweets, and connections I would need to make. I could plan out my entire online business year.
I created a plan for each month that helped me reach my yearly goal.
My living document
I keep my planning materials on my desk at all times. This is not just to remind me what I should be working on, but also because I know it is going to change.
Let’s say that I hit my goal of 5,000 subscribers in June (go me!). Should I stop trying? Since I reached my goal should I just call 2016 a success and kick back and relax?
No. Instead, I would realize in April and May that this was going to happen. I could then increase the goal, or change the goal so that I could keep moving forward.
To make sure my goals are always relevant and my plan is moving my business forward I take a look at everything at the end of every month. If something needs to change, I change it.
Don’t wait till the start of 2016, start planning now. Come up with your goals and then work backward to find how you will reach them. Create a plan for each month that will bring you closer to your goals.
Have any other tips about planning? Leave them in the comments. Be sure to share this post on all the social places so your friends can have successful 2016 as well!