If we want next year to be better than this year (and who doesn’t), we need to develop a plan to make that happen. As business owner, business coach and financial planner, I use the following wrap up / ramp up process to build my own progress and recommend these steps to my business-owner clients as well.
The power of this process begins by having written goals and creating concrete actions toward success. A 1979 Harvard MBA study asked graduate students, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” A simple question with amazing results. Ten years later when interviewed again, the study found that the 13% of the class who had goals, but did not write them down, were earning twice the amount of the 84% who had no goals. The 3% who had written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97% of the class combined!
Using this approach, you can plan better, accomplish more, reflect more and grow faster. This is a powerful way to wrap up your 2014 progress and ramp up your 2015 momentum. With pen & paper or mobile device in hand, ask yourself these questions:
What were my business goals for this year?
Hopefully you wrote down your business goals at the beginning of this year. Give yourself additional points if you took them out and looked at them throughout the year. Add a ‘High Five’ if you managed your goals monthly or quarterly! If not, just jot down what you hoped you’d accomplish.
What did I accomplish this year with my business?
Look at your goals. Which ones did you reach? Which ones did you miss by a smidgeon? Which ones did you give up early-on and why? Any surprising accomplishments you want to expand into next year?
What did I learn from both my successes and failures?
We learn more often from our failures than our successes. If we set an unduly high goal, did we give it the massive effort it needed to succeed? If we met a goal too easily, do we want to stretch the goal going forward?
Where do I want to be next year?
What would you like to see changed about your business? Sometimes it’s not just about sales or profits. My planning last year resulted in my decision to take four vacations a year and work at home one day a week because I wanted more balance in my life after years of austerity while paying for college and remodeling our house.
What are my goals for next year?
Write down three to five concrete, measurable goals you want to accomplish. Revise and refine them until you begin to visualize the effort and actions to make them happen.
What actions will I take to accomplish them?
For my business, I set a weekly paperwork meeting, a weekly marketing meeting, and a calendar process for client/prospect meetings. In addition, I held a 2015 brainstorming/planning meeting with my marketing team in October so we could streamline and make our marketing dollars more productive. The regular schedule assures I’m spending time on the efforts that will help accomplish my goals. Your actions should reflect your goals. Just remember, massive goals require massive efforts.
What actions ensure progress for my financial freedom?
I am a strong proponent of automatic savings. Each year I stretch to meet a monthly goal of automatically saving into my ‘Opportunities’ fund, my retirement fund, and my ‘pay debt ahead’ fund. That way I am on track to financial freedom without having to frequently focus my attention away from building the business and serving my clients.
By following the steps above, you’ll be able to focus and streamline your creative energies and efforts into achieving your goals. Set aside an uninterrupted time period, when you are most creative, to do the Wrap Up/Ramp Up process. If you’d like help from a veteran who routinely helps business owners succeed, call, click or email me to meet and discuss your 2015 goals.