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World’s Greatest Planning Tool

Do you ever feel stuck and unsure how to move your business forward? Have you lost some passion and are looking for a new direction? When you find yourself too close to your situation to be objective it’s tough to decide what to do next. I’m going to share a tool and process with you. With a little help from some contemporary sage wisdom, let’s get unstuck.

Your business is an ever-evolving event. The plan you set out on and the targets you had have changed. Your business and the guests you serve have changed since you launched your business. The great idea that you had 10 years ago may not be the progressive, forward looking idea now that it was then. Change happens.

In order to move forward, you may need to change targets and the direction you are heading. You don’t need to knock everything down and start from scratch. Give yourself credit. Acknowledge where you are and all that you have accomplished. Take stock of the good stuff and take the time to appreciate what you have instead of what you don’t.

“How can I go forward when I don’t know which way I’m facing?” — John Lennon

Assess. Assessment and appreciation should be done before you start planning your future. I am grateful for the clientele I have established, the relationships I have with them and the results we have achieved. I appreciate that through my prior planning and effort, I have grown my business from zero to where I am today and it continues to grow. I am profitable. I have a loyal staff of competent professionals who provide great service to my clients. Sure, I could be more detailed, but this works for now. There, I did it. That wasn’t so tough was it? Once you’ve done this, let it stew for a while. Give it a day or two and review it. Maybe you want to add and clarify some things. You are not being selfish or boisterous. This is about being honest about yourself and giving yourself some well-deserved self-appreciation.

"If you can dream it, you can do it." ~ Walt Disney.

Envision. Now it’s time to look forward. If you don’t clarify what you want, how will you know when you get there? It’s time to re-calibrate. Find yourself a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted for one hour. Close the door, turn off the cell phone, sit down, close your eyes. Be attentive and present now. We are about to paint a big picture with a wide brush. It’s time to imagine, to envision, or re-envision.

Focus and clarity, Start with a blank piece of paper or Word document. At the top of the page write “100 Things I Want”. Start writing and don’t stop. Bullets, not novellas, keep it short and sweet. Don’t over-analyze, don’t edit, don’t pre-qualify or judge. No guilt, no remorse. It doesn’t matter what someone else thinks. This is about what you want.

Some of these items may be personal, health, or money. Others may involve relationships, business, travel, or other stuff you want. Again, this is about what is important to you, and the things you want. Once this is done, put it down. Look at it tomorrow and everyday over the next few days. You might add things to the list, but it’s not time to edit.

Now, let’s define and identify the roles you play in your life. You have several, list them as column headings. I am Monte (me), husband, dad, friend, business owner, financial coach, community member, consultant. What are yours? Who are you?

Place each of the items from your list in a column headed with the roles you have defined.

Guess what? Mine looks like a spreadsheet. Some of these might cross over and land in several columns.

Now, rank them from those having the greatest impact, highest priority first, most important to least important. Now, define the outcome. Don’t list an “I am going to” or “I should”. Define this as a goal accomplished, as a result. Some examples:

  1. Labor Cost is 36% including payroll tax.

  2. We perform 9 Aesthetic Sales every day in each treatment room

  3. Three months of salary and expenses are growing interest in a savings account,

  4. My med spa has a net income of 22%

  5. My cash flow is managed and working capital is $30,000.

  6. My business has 25 new guests every week.

  7. We re-book 80% of the guests who come in for service

Taking the top two goals from each column, imagine yourself completing the task. Also, define what would happen if you do not complete this task. SWOT analysis. Imagine how that would feel. Identify the resources required (people, money, time) required to complete these highest priority tasks.

It’s time to communicate the highest priority item in each column to the people it will impact or benefit. If this pertains to business, communicate the idea with the member of your team who is going to benefit from it or be responsible for attaining it. Ask them for their input.

“Feeling lost? Take a dream and convert it into small goals, then start taking the steps to hit those goals.” --- Dave Ramsey

Plan, action. Budget, plan, and roadmap. Set a calendar and schedule an end-date for the completion of these tasks. Define a plan of action, assign the tasks, and who is going to do what. If this task is part of a personal plan, then share it with the people it is going to impact. Make yourself accountable to the completion of this task.

There is no specific time when you should begin this process. There are, however, several times that may motivate you. New Years Day, your birthday, mid-year, quarter end, last quarter of the year. You can do this anytime, but now is the best time to start.

“If you are working on something you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” — Steve Jobs

Place this list in the top drawer of your desk or nightstand and revisit it daily, weekly, and finally monthly. Move down the list of priorities as each “want” is completed. You may choose to re-prioritize, remove, or add items. Celebrate your accomplishment.

We’ve all heard “be careful what you wish for”. Don’t worry about what you wish for. Nothing is too big. You can accomplish and achieve anything you chose to do. But, be honest with yourself about your commitment. Don't try to do too much too fast. Overloading will only cause frustration. One step at a time.

Act and you will be shocked at how much you will accomplish. Little things have a big impact. There is no magic pill that will solve everything. Things don’t happen immediately but, if planned, they will happen, and you will not be stuck anymore.


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