Everyone knows that creating a plan is going to help you become more efficient and more effective. If we know that having a plan is going to help us be more effective then why do most small business owners do not have a plan?
Most of us we have at least a to-do list to make sure that we're going to get the most urgent tasks that we have to get done on that particular day. But unfortunately, the most important urgent tasks aren't necessarily the most important task. We're spending most of our timejust really putting out fires rather than doing what's most important that's going to be moving us towards reaching our goals.
What decides whether a task is important or not is our goals. If your goal is just to get through another day doing the most urgent task on your to-do list, that will just get you by. If your goal is to create a successful business or a commercial profitable enterprise thatcan work without you, then you have to have clarity of how you want it to look like.
The number one reason people don't plan is they don't know where to begin.When creating a plan, Stephen Covey says, you have to start with the end in mind. If you don't know where you're going, it's pretty hard to figure out how you're going to get there.
One of the problems with long-term planning is that things constantly change. It's really difficult to get your arms around what's going to be happening in five to ten years down the road. But what I found is that most people can get some clarity around, what they need to do or what's going to happen in two to three years down the road, or even in 30 to 90 days. With this short-term goals, we can begin to get some clarity.
Creating a plan is just like creating the story of your future. Everyone likes a good story with a happy ending, don't they? So begin by writing your success story. Start with something that you want to accomplish over the next two to three years.
Here's a simple four-step process anyone can use to write yoursuccess story of where you want to be in the next couple of years down the road.
The first step is to start with the end in mind. Start by beginning to write a 100 to 300-word executive summary of where you see your business going over the next 2 to 3 years. The more detail you have here, the more you develop a better clarity of how you're going to get there. Don't just think about how much revenue and profits you want to go. Those are really important but think about other relevant things, like howmany team members do you want? What are going to be their roles? What does your office look like? How does your best customer find you? What’s your specific role and function in the business?
The next step is once you have an end in mind, start creating your chapter headings. Once you know how your story is going to end, break the story into journeys. Probably into a 2 or 3 journey. Then break it down further into 8 to 12 chapters or something like calendar quarters. This is where you're going to write a chapter headingthat will help you summarize your focus for each chapter or each quarter. This could be your theme of what's supposed to be happening for the current period.
The third step is to start writing an executive summary for those chapter headings. Now that you know the theme and the focus for each chapter, you're going to need to write a 100-word executive summary of what needs to be accomplished in your first 4 chapters or quarters. This will now serve as your annual plan.
The final step is the chapter detail. Fo the first chapter of each quarter, create a detailed plan of how you are going to accomplish these goals or this vision. At the end of the first month, you're now going to create a new detailed plan for the next chapter executive summary and create a new executive summary for the fourth chapter. At the end of every month, you're going to be creating a new detailed plan for the next month and the next executive summary for the next chapter. This way, you'll always have executive summaries for the next 3 chapters. At the end of the first year, create a new two-year ending of where you're going to be in the next 2 years and start revising your chapter headings to help you get there.
This process is going to help you create a clearer roadmap for your success, helping you to understand your destination and more importantly, planning ahead for what you need to do to get to each milestone.
Begin today by writing your success story. Don't worry if you have to rewrite your chapter headings and executive summaries down the road because once you begin your plan and you start getting more clarity, you're now in a better position to write better chapter headings and executive summaries.
If this resonates with you and you want to learn more about how you can write your story or your plan schedule a free strategy session with me.