Planning for a powerful 2011

by Kate on December 29, 2010

2011 Chart

Where's your business heading?

The time between Christmas and New Year is perfect for planning or reviewing and refreshing your plans for the year ahead. With a couple of days still to go before January 1, there’s time to give your business attention that will set things up for a powerful start to 2011.

The relaxed pace at this holiday time of year signposts a day of thinking and planning when you consider questions like:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to go?
  • How will we get there?
  • What’s the next step?

Even though “thinking” might not sound very directed, people are often surprised by the insights from asking questions like this. The big challenge can be finding the discipline to devote time to this practice and sit through the quiet at the start as your brain gets going, but give it time and the insights usually come.

Getting started

If your brain needs a nudge to get started, it can be useful to start with a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). Another way is to review previous plans and accomplishments in the past year and what didn’t go as planned (“What did we do? What happened? What did we learn?” are good questions here)

Have a planning day and keep it simple

I understand that the real world often demands detail and more than the ‘back of an envelope plan’. However, an article I read this morning by Brian Sharp (@gobigcompany) is nice reminder of how to have a planning day that doesn’t require a day of pre-planning.

What I especially liked was the suggestion that the day might involve creating a plan, or simply getting ideas out of your head. The point is to take the day and collect your thoughts.

Here are Brian’s 5 points (you can read the original here)

  1. Take a Day Away: A day’s worth of planning can create a breakthough that will overcome a year of frustration.
  2. Simplify Your Strategy: Resist the urge to complicate and focus identify the one thing that your business needs to do well in order to succeed in 2011.
  3. Measure Your Activity Not Money: Focus on doing enough of the right activity and the rest will take care of itself.
  4. Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable: Change is what produces different outcomes and it’s uncomfortable. Commit to getting outside your comfort zone every day.
  5. Believe In Your Business: None of the other steps matter if you don’t have a deep-seeded belief in yourself, your business, and your ability to make it happen. If it’s been a while, go find it.

Commit to next steps

Wrap up the planning day by deciding your next step – maybe to set specific goals, and actions, with a diarised follow up.

There are lots of great ways to create plans and a stack of formats, tools and advice on the interwebs, or you might have a format you’ve used in the past. Whichever approach you take, planning pays dividends if you get the basics in place – things like specific goals, setting clear actions and being accountable.

Keep your goals in front of you

When we see our goals, and even more so when we hear them or visualise them, our subconscious starts to pull us towards them. So, once you’ve got your goals set out, put them somewhere you can see them each day.

Enjoy the journey!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kate Groom December 30, 2010 at 12:18 am

Thanks for popping by. As you suggest, the Day Away reflection type of planning can produce the insight, ideas and inspiration we need to take things to the next level, yet I suspect many of us are uncomfortable with this, hence the resistance and hanging out in the tactical, practical place.

I wonder if this is because it’s challenging to sit through the silence and ask the tough questions and reflect on where we really want to go and to commit to doing what it takes (which usually involves a lot of uncomfortable-ness and persisting through failure). Maybe there’s also some delayed gratification thinking: “I’ll focus on where I really want to go when I get through the ‘must do’ stuff”.”

Anyway, it *is* a backbone and worth doing. Thanks for nudging me to reflect again on this post.

2 Nancy (aka moneycoach) December 29, 2010 at 5:59 pm

A Day Away – I haven’t done that in ages, and it’s past due! Thanks for the reminder. It’s funny. I love planning (and doing, but planning is usually inspiring) so bizarrely, I tend to view it as an indulgence rather than a backbone of doing business.

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