What would you like to say to yourself this time next year? What if you could say that 2017 was the year I really made it, broke through, got ahead and made a success? When you finally got your business to such a speed that there is no stopping it?
Well planned is half done. And it is so true. When you plan your year well (bravely), you will reach your goals sooner than you think!
When you use this year for doing only the right things, the things that lead you forward, you will succeed.
The beginning of the year is the time, when every entrepreneur is bursting with ideas. Oh how much we want to accomplish this year!
But for some reason, it is hard to get started. I know, I’ve been there. And AM there. Luckily I know already what to do.
When your head is full of excitement and new ideas, it’s hard to know which one to take on first. Where to start?
Every time my head is bursting from ideas (and that often), I do this. I have a strategy planning session with myself and plan the year.
I organize some quiet time (I know, with kids this is challenging), brew up some coffee, sit in a place I enjoy and relax. When you relax, your creativity is flowing and you can hear your intuitive thoughts. And that’s important. With kids running around you, this is not possible.
Then I take a deep breath and collect myself.
I do everything on a big paper. I draw, write, make mind maps and see how it looks. I simply love these moments. It’s a great contrast for working with the computer. You can do this on computer also, but I just think doing it on paper let’s the mind know that this is now different from everyday work.
So what exactly I DO on the paper?
The 3 steps you have to take before you can make a successful plan for the year
If you want to do only the right things, I mean those things that take you forward, this year, you must be sure about where you are going. You need to set a goal for yourself for the next three years.
- Who will you be then? How does your network see you?
- How, where and with whom are you working then?
- How much money you are making? And what are you selling?
If you don’t set clear goals for yourself, you will end up running after many dreams and ideas through the year and end up having made no progress by the end of it. So take this time to really think, where do you want to be in 3 years!
1. Put your life, dreams and ideas on paper
Take a big piece of paper and a good pen and start mapping your life on the blank canvas. Write and draw circles around every part of your working life you have at the moment.
Write to each circle a company, concept, role or cooperation and volunteer work you are involved with. Everything that takes your time. Pour out on paper also every idea, dream or thought, that you have in your mind. What would you like to achieve in your life? Draw lines and arrows between connections. What is leading to what?
It might turn out looking like this. This could be the life of an entrepreneur, who is giving therapies but wants to move towards coaching. Let’s call her Lisa. She’s dreaming of writing a book and knows she should start marketing on the internet. But she doesn’t have time from all the different strategies and goals she is involved with. But here it is. How does your life look like?
Once you have everything on paper, you can see the big picture. This is where you can start.
2. Choose your goal, what do you really want..?
When you have it all “purged out” on paper, think, what are the things you want to do still after 3 years. Where are you going? What is your dream job? Which of these things you still want to do after 3 years?
What is your ultimate goal in the next 3 years of how you want to be known in your network? What do you want to become?
And what should you be doing now, so you could get there? Start marking those things with a coloured pen. Some things are things that lead to bigger things. Mark those things that lead you forward!
Make sure your goal is
- so big that it scares you a bit
- challenging, exciting
- your passion, that brings sparkles in your eyes.
If it’s not challenging and exciting enough, you will not have the motivation to make it happen. So make sure the goal you choose is big enough but not so big that you cannot see how you could make it. When choosing your goal, believe in yourself and your abilities. Believe that you can make it!
Are you starting to see your goal?
Now choose it. Decide on it. Be not afraid you would choose wrong for you really have to make a choice. Whatever it may be.
In the example case of Lisa, it might look like this. The green circle is for “where the money comes from”. Even if it mostly comes from therapies, this is not what she wants to do in the future. She now chooses to start focusing on training services and personal coaching. And in the future maybe to make online trainings. Now she has a goal that she can start marketing in her blog and newsletter. Maybe even branding herself by writing a book about her passion. The life and business starts to look more and more exciting.
3. Cut out the branches, take out what you absolutely DON’T want
Now that you have your goal on paper with everything else, think, which of the things are connected and which are totally outside of your focus? Ask yourself: which of these things take you towards your goal and which ones don’t.
And then start cutting. Cross off everything that are not taking you towards your ultimate goal.
This is the part that takes courage. It almost requires you to just close your eyes and jump.
In Lisa’s case, she did this.
She cut out the things she no longer wants to do. In the future she has a clear goal.
So the point in this exercise is to simplify your business. Simplify your life. Cut cut and cut, until the road to your goal is clear. The aim is to take away all the things that take up your time and energy and do not take you where you want to go.
I know, it’s tough. Letting go is harder than almost anything. And you must be thinking that “she cannot mean I should leave out this and this because they are so important to me”. There might be even good business in it, yes, but you still should do it. Because you can only have one goal. You cannot pursue many dreams at the same time.
And when you say “no” to clients, projects or cooperation you will do so with your eyes wide open from shock. You cannot believe you are doing it, but after you have done it, you will feel lighter and more in power of making your dream come true.
And believe it, the things you feel you have always done, that are a part of you in a way, but don’t anymore take you forward, are your past already. You just don’t know it yet. So don’t cling to your past but let go of it. It’s the only way to grow.
In the change of 2015 I did it.
In the change or the year 2015 I decided to end my consulting business and to move completely in online business and online coaching. I devoted my time solely to building my business school in Finland. And when I said no to clients it felt terrible. It didn’t feel exactly like a mistake but I had many moments of doubt “am I really doing this?”. But afterwards I was so happy with myself. That I actually knew how to say “no”.
But when I let go of things, new, better things came along. Like the universe new, that this is the time. And what happened? I have now since then made huge progress and have basically quadrupled my business!
So learn how to say no, to yourself and to the things that do not take you forward towards your goals. Once the road is clear, you can make you plan for success for the year 2017.