Business-Planning-for-Business-Success-300x225There‘s no use mincing words:  2011 will be remembered as one of the most economically challenging years in history.

While it is impossible to ignore the economic factors affecting so many businesses, it is fundamentally important for us, as small business owners, to also examine what went right this year.  At the end of the day, it is still our individual choices and actions that largely determine the level of success we experience in business and life.

As the current year nears its end, I want to share a simple formula I use which can assist you in stepping into the picture you want to create in the New Year.

Looking Back ~ some key questions to ask yourself:

  • As you look back on 2011, how would you rate your overall success?
  • From where did the majority of your business originate? Who were your best performers (products or people), and what are the characteristics that make them “best”?
  • Where did you have the most success in your business? Why?
  • What did people “buy”? What motivated them?
  • What were the most objections raised by your customers or clients? Have you, or how will you, overcome them?
  • What goals did you set which were not achieved? Why not?
  • Which opportunities did you embrace? Which did you allow to slip away?
  • What will you repeat in 2012? What will you let go of?

Looking Ahead ~ setting the course for the New Year:

What if simply identifying exactly what you want from your business in 2012 would assure your success?  Would you take a few hours to map out your plan?

While it is not a perfect science, the success you realize does in fact start with making plans and setting intentions. So, make it a priority to set aside a few hours – alone or with your business coach – to do the planning that will set you up for success.

Here are this business coach’s suggestions for your plan focus:

  1. Create a vision for your 2012 success: What do you want? Be very clear with your intentions. Outline specific measurable goals outlining the volume of business – and the type of business activity – you intend to create. Be specific about the level of income you intend to generate, the number of clients you intend to acquire, the products and services you will offer, the people you will surround yourself with, the markets you plan to penetrate, and any organizational changes you intend to make.   Include every detail, in writing.  Create a document detailing all of these things, which you will carry with you throughout the year review on (at least) a monthly basis.
  2. Decide how you will measure your success: Make a list of your targets and measurements. These can be any indication that can be used to determine if you have met your goals. Many of my clients include revenue, numbers of clients, percentages of active accounts, ratios of expense to income, staff size, rankings, and your volume of products or services. Use whatever best describes your goals in a measurable way.
  3. Identify your key strategies: What are the 5-7 things that will close the gap between where you are today and where you want to be?  What do you need to do more or less of? Who do you need to involve in your business? Where do you need to make changes?
  4. Get specific: What actions will you take in each of your key strategies to execute your plan? When will you take them?  Who will be responsible?
  5. Outline your action plan: Once you have determined what you will do to execute your plan, schedule your actions. Put them on your calendar or in a project plan that you can use as a road map for your success.
  6. Be prepared for self-sabotage.Even the best laid plans can be sabotaged. Here are a few things to consider before sabotage sets in…
    1. What are the roadblocks to the success of my plan? How will I avoid them or deal with them?
    2. What objections are there to buying the product or service? How will I overcome them?
    3. What are my “limiting beliefs”? Where do I lack confidence or have a belief that could keep me from reaching my plan goals?
  7. Identify your best resources…mobilize your army. Identify the people and partnerships that can help you to reach your goals and realize your vision for 2012.
    1. Who is your trusted network?
    2. Who can you count on to help you market your business and services?
    3. Where will your referrals come from?
    4. Who are your affiliates or partnerships? Who shares your client? Can you serve them jointly?

Now, take a deep breath and acknowledge the possibilities ahead of you! Be clear that you cannot drive results by looking in the rear view mirror. Close the door on the year that is passed, in order to focus your attention on all that lies ahead.

Remember, success in life and business is a journey, not a destination.

It’s good to be traveling together.

Until next time,

Sherry B Jordan