Oooh look a squirrel! We all know that as the battle cry for our ADD culture of today, where every shiny thing grabs our attention.
I know I am guilty of it myself.
There are so many cool ideas out there that you can apply to your business and it’s easy to get excited to try new things. But that is precisely what causes trouble for a lot of professionals – attention on the wrong stuff. Before you bring on that next big idea, ask yourself it it fits your long-term strategy.
The other day I wrote about the three little words to use in your meetings – “BASED ON WHAT” and explained that we need to make sure that decisions should be made with complete information. Today I want you to shift your thinking long term.
Often, people come to me and ask my opinion on an idea for their business like;
- Should they enhance their Facebook presence?
- Is Twitter necessary for them?
- Should they get into video marketing?
- Do I need to build an app?
- What software should I use? I just found an AWESOME Webinar service – check it out
- What style of leadership should I use?
- How should I compensate my sales team?
My answer is always, “It depends.” Because all of these are good questions, however, the real question is, “Does it fit with your strategy and long-term plan?”
And usually the reply is that they don’t have a long-term plan or strategy. And as we all know, failure to plan is planning to fail.
So ask yourself what the next three to five years look like for your career and business. Don’t take on the next big idea before you know if it fits with your goals. Does this idea fit with your strategy and long-term plan or is it just a tactic?
Follow these guidelines to build your own strategy:
Imagine where you would like to be over the next 3-5 years. What kind of person do you need to be? What skills do you need to develop? Who do you need to surround yourself with? For your business, what kind of people do you want to attract as employees and as customers? What values are most important to you? What impact would you like to make?
When you think on those questions, you also want to think big. A major tip: Think TEN TIMES as big as you are now. It’s easy to imagine what an extra 10-25% increase in revenue looks like. You don’t really have to change that much, just get a bit better. But when you think ten times, your whole perspective has to shift. And as long as the market is ten times larger than what you can deliver, you can achieve anything. So start thinking bigger and ask yourself what steps you need to put in place to achieve those goals. Do you need more training?
Get your team involved as well and get them excited with your vision.
Now you need to start focusing on your strategy. This time next year, what would success mean to you? If you want more customers, map out where they will come from, how many you will need, and what that looks like each month. Make sure you break the yearly goals into monthly and weekly targets to see what that has to look like for you in today’s numbers.
Then start identifying how your current efforts can fulfill part of those goals. Can you increase your efficiencies in certain areas? Can you find better or new ways to spend your marketing dollars? What activities should you stop doing? What should you start doing? When you map out all of your current activities, you will start to get a better picture of your goals.
Work with your teams to show them what critical numbers will be important for success this year and what ways they will make an impact.
I am a HUGE fan of setting quarterly goals. They are short enough that you can see them through to the end, and long enough to actually measure the results. Here is the secret to 90 day goals. Once you pick the two or three processes you want to focus on, you must then schedule the activities to complete the processes, and most importantly, FORGET THE GOAL. It is too easy to get caught measuring results early in a project and abandoning the activities.
Each quarter, set a theme and two to three activities. Don’t add more to your plate during that time and just make sure you get all the work done for the 90 days. Once that quarter is up, you can then decide what the activities will look like for the following quarter. Have all of your goals align with your yearly and long-term strategy, and through four quarters, you will see huge changes in your success. The trick is just getting to work on the activities.
A month ago, I started on my 90 day, daily blogging strategy which has been a blast. The number one takeaway, is that I am just making sure the work gets done, and don’t get off track. So far, some really cool opportunities have come my way, but they won’t derail my plans to complete this project. And as I mentioned, I am going to do some webinars very soon using the most amazing webinar platform on the market Webinar Jam, but that will also be part of the strategy.
If you are working with a team, get them rallied around the idea of a quarterly theme and make it fun! Help each member understand what their role will be and why they are important to the overall success of the goal.
To make your 90 day goals more manageable, take the time each month to track progress and prepare a progress report – no judging. Good or bad, get some data to analyze for the end of the quarter. You can use the data to make minor tweaks to your activities, but keep the goals moving forward to completion. Use each month as a way to sort of adjust your habits and behaviors to help make your goals more easily attainable.
If you struggle with time management, perhaps find a way to wake up earlier or add a few extra hours at the end of the day for getting activities done. If you are working with your teams, take some time each month to do a review. Help them understand what is working and not and get feedback from them on how to more effectively accomplish tasks.
Each week, make sure that your activities are SCHEDULED in your calendar that you need to get done to feed your goals. If it is not scheduled, it probably won’t happen. This is probably one of the biggest challenges I see people have. They don’t take the time each week to set their activities. Then, as each day goes by, the work piles up, tasks get missed, and stress rises.
When you schedule your week properly, you can get a much better sense of just how much work the week will take, how much more you can add to your plate, and where you may have to say NO to new meetings and projects. Take control of your calendar each week and you will be so much happier!
And if you can, find an accountability partner. Someone who you can work with each week to discuss what worked and what didn’t. Did you get everything done you wanted to? Why or why not? And it is important that there is no judgement in this. Just looking for how you can improve week after week and gaining insight from your observations.
At the end of each day, do you set your game plan for the next day? Do this each day and you can go into your day ready to rock! You will know exactly what needs to get done, and what energy you need to bring to make it happen. I have worked with countless salespeople who don’t have a plan for each day. Then they wonder why they struggle and fall behind. Your daily habits and goals are the true measure of your long-term success.
If you don’t know what you need to do each day, how do you know if you did it?
Too often, we look for those big wins and want to hit a home run! That is why tactics get people into trouble. Having a long-term strategy allows you to bring these new ideas into your plan the right way and helps get you grounded for real success.
I would love to hear how you apply strategy to your business and if you want some help building a long-term strategy, contact me and we can make things happen.
Be sure to comment below and let me know how this helps!