Many of you reading this will be by now caught up in the madness of Christmas preparations, working through Christmas shopping lists, trying not to forget anyone. Yet how many will actually be thinking ahead to Christmas 2017? This might sound crazy, but put this in place and this gift to your business, will actually come back to benefit you too. A well-considered and executed plan to be achieved within 12 months will not only push your business on to where you want it to be, but will also start to give you the rewards for your hard work.
To plan 2017 properly, first of all write down your goal for where you want your business to be by Christmas 2017. Yes, this is one present you need to start searching for now.
You need to write this down somewhere and not just consider it. If your plan for 2017 is going to work is should be SMART.
If you’ve never heard of SMART objectives it stands for
Specific. (Well defined and clear to anyone who has a knowledge of the project)
Measurable. You should be able to tell how far away from completion you are and it should be obvious when you have achieved your goal
Agreed Upon. Everyone involved in the project must know this. If this is just you by yourself, but you need to make a firm commitment to yourself to achieve this.
Realistic. Within the availability of knowledge, resources and time
Time Based. There should be enough time to complete the project, but not too much that you then slow down the pace.
When you have your goal decided upon and written down you then need to make a plan of how to achieve this. You need to come up with a series of steps to break down what you need to do.
First of all you need to come up with a list of tasks and activities that will need to be accomplished to achieve your SMART objective.
You need to create a sequence for each of these activities. You might find that some items on the list will obviously flow from one item to the next but others may be a little trickier to order. Try to group similar tasks and activities together. This makes sense anyway from a time management point of view.
You should find that when you have done this you have come up with a series of phases.
Use a project management tool such as Freedcamp or Trello to plan out your project.
Create milestones at the end of each phase. Sometimes working towards a goal which is 12 months away can seem daunting, so if you have milestones along the way it helps you to know that you are on track and to celebrate your achievements along the way.
Each stage of the project must have a time estimate next to it. This is where project management tools are very useful.
It’s useful to sometimes factor in a couple of extra days here and there for each stage. Sometimes you will be dependent on other people fulfilling certain tasks and they may not react as quickly as you.
Plan this out carefully and make sure that each week at least, you are doing some small activity which is taking you towards your ultimate goal.
Then you have to do it. It’s amazing how many well written and considered plans never actually get completed. This is largely because people get overwhelmed with the scale of a project and sometimes they don’t feel that they are getting anywhere.
This is why it’s important to break the ultimate goal down in to small manageable chunks. That way each stage feels achievable. And when you complete a stage it’s satisfying to tick it off your list. It’s satisfying to see the progress being made and that motivates you to continue.
Keep going. Keep going until you have ticked everything off your list and you have achieved your ultimate goal for Christmas 2017. If by next Christmas your work hasn’t already started paying dividends it soon will. Do this one right and this is one Christmas present that you will be repaid for over and over.
Where do you plan on being with your business by Christmas 2017? Please comment and let me know and feel free to keep me posted on how you’re getting on with working towards it.