3 Easy Steps To Plan Your Year The Smart Way

One of the main challenges small business owners face with achieving their goals is related to a lack of planning. How do you feel about planning? Are you clear about where you want to be with your business at the end of 2018? Do you have an effective planning process in place? Have you written a business vision statement?

If you answered “no” so far, then it’s a great time to start implementing some tools and strategies that will help you quickly and easily achieve your goals. Most business owners overestimate what they can achieve in 12 months and underestimate what they can achieve in five years. Would you fly in an airplane where the pilot doesn’t know the destination, or whether the fuel tanks are full or not?

#1 Write Your Vision Statement

A vision statement describes what business you are building and what you want to achieve within the next 12 months. It gives your business a clear direction for your big-picture strategies, priorities, and how your business performs against your defined goals.

Where there is no vision, there is no hope. G. W. Carver Click to Tweet

Here are some tips for your goal-setting:

  • Define goals that motivate and inspire you
  • Be specific with your goals
  • Make sure your goals are measurable and relevant

#2 Write Your Mission Statement

A mission statement answers the question: Why are you building your business? It expresses the motivation and inspiration for what you create. Your mission statement is a unique company message to your employees, contractors, and suppliers.

#3 Create your 90-Day Operational Plan

90-Day Operational Plan

After you define the “what” and “why” of your business and your overall metrics for the next 12-month period, you need to set actionable and measurable goals throughout the year. This provides recurrent clarity and focus, allowing you to reach your 12-month metrics faster.

Another huge advantage is it keeps you accountable and more objective by helping you identify real opportunities and projects that support your business growth.

The best way to plan your 12-month metrics is to subdivide the year into four quarters, with each quarter consisting of 90 days. Abbreviate these four quarters as Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4. For each quarter, you need to develop no more than five master projects you want to accomplish within 90 days.

Here’s an example of a 90-day operational plan with five master projects:

  1. Three monthly newsletters written and sent out by 31 March 2018
  2. Five product videos created and published on YouTube by 31 April 2018
  3. Two reports created and promoted on Facebook by 31 April 2018
  4. Six intro events held, and at least 30 individuals enrolled in our coaching program by 31 May 2018
  5. New social media manager hired by 31 May 2018

Generally, you need to break each master project into three to five sub-projects.

For example, for the first master project “Three monthly newsletters written and sent out by 31 March 2018,” the sub-projects could look like this:

  • Newsletter content planned and scheduled by 15 January 2018
  • January newsletter written, proofread, and published by 20 January
  • February newsletter written, proofread, and published by 20 February
  • March newsletter written, proofread, and published by 30 March

Nobody has unlimited time, so every project has a set timeline, budget, and amount of resources. For this reason, you need to ensure all projects are constantly driven towards completion. You’ll achieve this with regular updates, meetings, and follow-ups.

Now it’s your turn: Create your vision and mission statement and an operational plan for the next 90 days. I promise—the writing of your vision and mission statement will swiftly bring you interesting and valuable insights about your business.

Read also our related article “6 Steps to increase your productivity in 2018”

Bojan Zimmermann

About Bojan Zimmermann

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