This blog post is apart of a business planning series.
Do you set aside time regularly to plan what you want to do in your business? If it’s not something you currently do, I would strongly encourage you to embrace it for the remainder of this year as well as the one coming up. Believe me, I know how tough it is to plan! Well actually how hard it is to actually stick to my plan. Raise your hand if you can plan but you don’t tend to stick to the plan. Yup, me too! Raise your hand if you try and plan but end up putting fires out all day in your business. Been there too!
Setting aside time to plan every month (you can do quarterly or yearly planning) about what I want to do and more importantly what growth I want to achieve has been crucial to my own success and consistency. I want to share some of what I’ve learned and what I’ve found helpful with you.
Let’s start off by taking a look at why business planning is “the secret” to success. There are a few different factors that come into play here. The first is efficiency. When you go in with a clear plan, you can focus on what’s most important i.e what will make you money. Instead of spending time trying to figure out what you should be working on, what’s missing from your product funnel, or what you need to do to make more mula, you know exactly what you need to be working on to reach your goals instead of putting out ‘fires’ within your business.
With a clear goal in mind and a plan for the year, it becomes easy to walk backwards to create effective and efficient daily to-do lists. Work on what needs to get done each day and you have no choice but to reach your goals.
Next, setting a big goal for yourself helps you think outside the box. If you don’t believe me, try it. Decide on a big income goal for the coming month. Write it down. Keep it in front of you. Then get to work and start to notice what happens next. You start to think of things that didn’t occur to you before. You come up with creative ways to get more traffic. You decide to run a fun promo that adds dollars to your bank account. The same happens when an important deadline comes up unexpectedly. Think back on that time in college when finals rolled around, or the last time your in-laws told you they would stop by later in the day. You got very creative about studying and cleaning didn’t you? I know I did. That for sure was all the motivation I needed.
So far we’ve been focused on what we are actively doing to make progress by making a plan, setting goals and following through. There’s another dimension to all this that I would consider the real secret sauce and that’s what’s going on in our subconscious mind. While we are busy plowing through our to-do list, cooking dinner for the family, and even sleeping, our subconscious mind is working towards those goals as well. Work with your subconscious mind and listen to affirmations especially if you tend to have negative self-talk. With all the plans you made you don’t want to end up self-sabotaging yourself because your negative self-talk convinces you that you can’t do it.
Planning and setting goals is important because it helps you grow faster. That means you end up with more money for yourself and your loved ones while spending less time slaving away at your desk.
The simple act of setting a goal, even if it’s just in your mind, doubles your chances of success. That’s a pretty big deal in itself, isn’t it? If you take it a step further, and actually write those goals down, you’re 10 times as likely to succeed. Read that last line again please. That’s right…you can increase your chances of making it by 1,000%. That’s mind-blowing.
There are a few different mental and psychological processes going on here that start to give us a glimpse into why it is so important and effective to write our goals down. The first is that it’s a lot easier to remember something that we’ve written down. You’ve experienced this first hand with your grocery list. When you make a mental list of 10 or 15 things, you’re likely to forget about half of them when you get to the store. If you write out the list on the other hand, and then end up forgetting it on the counter, you will remember the vast majority of the items you needed. This is explained through the fact that information has to be moved from one area of the brain to another to turn it from thoughts into written words on a page. A process called encoding is also involved. All of this helps you retain and store the information better. It’s the reason we’re asked to take notes during lectures in college.
Last but not least, when you write down your goals, you have something you can review regularly. This adds another layer of cognitive processing and increases your chances of success even further. Sadly, only a very small percentage of people make the time to regularly review and evaluate their goals. The ones that do are some of the most successful and highest achieving people out there. In other words, it’s something we should do as well.
To recap, start by setting smart goals. Write them down in as much detail as possible. Set aside some time to review them regularly. This could be weekly, or even daily. Give it a try for this quarter. Set yourself a goal. Be specific. This could be something like finally creating that first paid product or adding an extra $500 to your bottom line. Decide by when you’ll reach your goal and how you plan to get there. Write it all down and look at it every morning. This will help you stay on track and make time in your busy day to work on making progress towards your goal.
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