Using What You”ve Done — to Get Where You Want to Go
Well here we are again, a new year. Every year at this time, just like, you, I start thinking about the upcoming year ahead and putting together my strategic plan. For years, my process began with a little education, I would pull out the books and videos from the so-called experts, and learn as much as I could about the new ideas and techniques professionals were putting into place to grow their businesses.
Armed with these ideas and advice, I would put together my brand new strategic plan for the coming year. And while my plans were always good, there were just a couple of issues, a few things that kept me from really buying in, and truly getting motivated to fully execute. First, the plan did not feel like mine, my ideas or my strategies, it felt like someone else’s. While the ideas that I gained from experts where extremely helpful, because my plan was full of what I had learned from them, it never felt like my plan.
Don”t Reinvent the Wheel
Second, since my strategy was always based on who I was talking with and listening to at the time, it was always a brand new plan, a plan, that while good, was a plan that had me starting from scratch, from ground zero. With my new plan, I always had to rebuild and start over, and quite frankly that was demotivating and exhausting.
Then two years ago, it hit me, I got smart. I thought while I am listening to everyone else about how to grow my business, when nobody understands my business better than me. I realized that while time listening to experts, and gaining new ideas, is a valuable resource I need to continue to do, it needed to remain just that advice, not my new found roadmap of how to succeed. In truth, the best person I could learn from, about how to grow my business, was me. And throwing the baby out with the bath water, was not the best way to go about growing my business. That each and every year, just like other successful professionals, I had some wins and I had some losses and learning from that was the smartest way to build my strategic plan. After all history IS the best teacher.
So as I head into 2015, here are the 4 Killer Strategies I will put into place to use what I did to get me where I want to go! I recommend you use them too!
1. Take A Long Hard Look
Grab a cup of coffee, your favorite soda, or heck maybe you will need a drink; because the first step is to sit down, pull up your calendar, and take a hard, honest look at 2014. Just sit down, and month by month look at what you did, where you spent your time, and remember the challenges and celebrate (again) the wins. Honestly, this is kind of fun, and rewarding. I remember jobs I did that went so well, I loved the client, they loved me, and it lead to more work. Then of course there are the jobs I lost, the projects that got derailed, and the times I was way over scheduled I struggled and stressed to get it all done.
2. Make A List
With your trip down memory lane complete, it is time to get honest and put those memories into columns – wins and losses. Make a list of what you feel you really did well in 2014, where did you excel? For me, I was the champion of building relationships, keeping my networking and sales behaviors in constant motion and creating strong professional support networks. Now, you know what is coming, it is time to take the opposing view, make a list of what did not work, what did not go so well, dare I say, what failed? For me, this list was a little longer, and consisted of things like being too reactive, not staying focused, and accepting way too many jobs outside of my niche, and not allowing myself enough time to work on my business because I was always working in it. I under-utilized my resources, such as my coach, my professional associations, and my professional network that I was so proud of building.
3. Make the POWER List
Great job, congratulate yourself, you are professionally enlightened! Well, not really I just made that up, but you get it, you are professionally self-aware. You know yourself, what you have done well, and where you struggle. So with all this new found knowledge it is time to make another list, the POWER list. This is the list of what you want to keep doing in 2015, and what you need to stop doing or change in 2015. For me, most definitely I am keeping my relationship building and sales strategy, the behaviors and actions I put into place really worked in 2014. So what needs to change? I need to get more proactive, putting time in my calendar for both targeting jobs I want to do, and clients I want to work with. In addition, planning more time to work on my business, and more fully use my resources.
4. Build A Better Plan
Now you have it all, you know what worked in 2014, and you know what you need to change for 2015. Armed with this information, you can build a plan that is not brand new, but better, one that is building on what you are already doing, and making you and your business better.
So yes, while I always advise myself and my clients to learn, learn, learn, we have to remember that that does not always mean looking to others, that time and our own performance are the best teachers. So, what are you waiting for, get up right now, grab that cup of coffee or that drink, and get started!