Planning For Success

Business plan, success planning, vision

Sections: Success Does Not Happen by Chance; Vision: The Future Is So Bright; Create Action Steps; Advice for New Entrepreneurs; Work On The Business; Your Business Plan; Coaches: Plan On Success; Retreats; Brainstorming Alone.

Success Does Not Happen by Chance, It Takes Planning.

It doesn’t matter if that success is in business, relationships, career, or your life in general. But planning for success is not as difficult as it seems. There are five basic steps to plan for a successful life:

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  1. Determine why you want to do it. What is your motivating factor? Don’t say money, that is too fleeting. Find a real why behind what you want to do.
  2. What are your core values? Figure out what your values are. If you do not, you may find yourself doing something or working somewhere that has different values. Most people that don’t like their jobs have different core values than the companies they work for.
  3. What is your mission? What are you doing? Think of someone asking you what your personal mission is, what would be your answer?
  4. Develop your strategic vision. Where do you want to be in X amount of time? Be specific. Describe the house, condo or apartment you will be in, your car, who you will be with, what your relationship will be like. What job and position will you have?
  5. Develop your strategy to get from where you are now to where you are going. Determine milestones, and action steps toward each milestone. What is one thing you can do today to get one step closer?

And if you need help, go to There is a free video on each of these steps waiting for you under the Success Planning series.

Vision: The Future Is So Bright

According to Forbes magazine, the number 3 reason people leave a job (even when they like it) is because of a vague vision. If people so easily toss aside jobs because of a vague vision, what would life be like without one?
Develop a strategic vision. Don’t make your vision like a wisp of cloud; make a defined, precise strategic vision. Don’t plan on being a millionaire in the next 30 days. Pick a specific date and make it realistic. Losing 30 pounds in 30 days might work if you are a couple hundred pounds overweight, but not if you are only 30-50 pounds overweight.
Where do you want to be on X date? What steps will it take to get there? Who will need to be a part of this vision to make it successful? Lastly, determine the obstacles you may encounter and how you will overcome each one.

Don’t make your vision out of reach, create action steps (NOT goals).

The word “goals” almost makes your chest tighten and stress levels rise. The knowledge of so many past goals that have failed may even lower your self-confidence. So, stop making goals.
This is where you can test the date you vision becomes reality. If your vision is to become a millionaire in 30-days, but you are homeless right now and have no job, what will you need to do to accomplish that mission? Is it really realistic?
After you have your vision down, create action steps. What is one small thing you can change now to get one step closer to your vision? Is it changing one junk food snack into something healthier? Is it planning a 10-minute workout once a week? Start small. All the past failures may have eroded your confidence. Small successes will help to build it back up.
And if it doesn’t work, don’t consider it a failure. Figure out what went wrong, what you can do to overcome that, and try again. You are not failing as long as you keep trying.
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Advice for New Entrepreneurs

According to the Small Business Administration, there are over 28 million small businesses in the US, 80% of which are self-employed or solopreneurs. Approximately 85% of small businesses will not make it past the first two years, and approximately 85% of small businesses have no business plan. That number is too close to be coincidence. Plan for success. I have started several small businesses, and the two that were most successful were the ones that I carefully planned from the beginning. As a business coach, I see the lack of planning from my clients so much that I created a series of free “Planning for Success” Webishops (webinar/workshops located at to help entrepreneurs understand the importance of planning for success. Of course, things never go according to plan. So planning for obstacles, and ways to get around them, can help you succeed that much more.

Work ON the Business, Not IN it

It is very easy to work in your business. In fact, taking care of the day to day operations is vitally important to staying in business.
However, it is just as important to work on your business. A ship going fast in the wrong direction will not reach its target. Being busy just for the sake of filling up your day probably will not make you successful.
The good news is that it can take less time to work on your business than in it. Take one afternoon a month and take a close look at 5 important things that could skyrocket your business (in the Success Does Not Happen by Chance section).
It is only by working on your business that you will find the new opportunities that are waiting for you.

Your Business Plan

Starting a business can be very hectic. There is so much to do, and it can be very easy to overlook creating a business plan, but that document can be vitally important.

85% of small businesses fail in the first 18 months, and 85% of small businesses do not have an effective business plan. That is no coincidence.

And there are certain things that should be included in your business plan:
Why are you doing what you are doing? What is the base reason for your business? You probably have an idea, but writing it down solidifies it.

What do you do? Don’t think about your product or service, think about the benefits they will provide your customers.

Who is your target market? Anyone and everyone should be foreign words here. Who exactly is your target market? What age are they? What is their income? Where do they live? You will save money on advertising when you know exactly who you are marketing to.
What is your vision? Where do you want to be in five years? Be as specific as you can and make the description like a picture.
How will you get there? What is your strategy for getting from where you are now to where you want to be?
Answering each of these questions will put you ahead of most other small businesses.
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Coaches: Plan on Success

Inspiration sometimes seems difficult and fleeting. And, for those in the coaching industry, staying inspired can be even more difficult. There are days when all coachees are dealing with heavy issues, and they can weigh a coach down.

However, there are things that help coaches stay inspired during a downer day:

  1. Get coaching. Every coach should have a coach. Coaches need to practice what they preach.  Even if it is a buddy coach and you coach each other, every coach should have a coach they can go to.
  2. Remember small successes. Coaching is about finding success, however it may look. Keep in mind the successes you help your clients find because they are your successes also.

So keep in mind, if a coach will benefit from having a coach themselves, then how much more of a benefit will you have from having a coach?

Retreats: Keeping Your Business and Life Organized

It is very important to make sure the day to day working of our businesses go smoothly, but we get into the habit of working in our business and put working on our business on the back burner. We know we need to do it, but it rarely seems to get done.
That is why what I call the getaway is so important. I get out of the office the last 4-6 hours of the first Friday of every month. I gather what I need to review and preview, then find a place where I can brainstorm what I want to do for the next month.
It is important to put your devices on airplane mode so you cannot be disturbed during this time. Spend the first hour clearing your mind. Meditate, visualize a calm place, or do whatever helps you to de-stress. And this is why the beginning of each month can be a great time. It helps to start each month re-energized and re-vitalized.
The Getaway is detailed in my book, Leadership for Introverts: The Power of Quiet Influence.

Brainstorming Alone

Brainstorming is a common practice in businesses, and brainstorming has come up with some amazing ideas and inventions.

But there is one fundamental flaw in brainstorming: No new thoughts seem to emerge once one person comes up with a good idea. The main reason is because everyone bands together to refine and hone that one good idea into a fantastic revelation.
But what if you want several new ideas? What are good ways to keep the creative juices flowing?
One way is to start the brainstorming session before everyone meets in person (or over videoconferencing). Send out an email with details on the brainstorming session and allow members to submit suggestions before the session starts.
There are a couple of benefits to this: First, it allows the introverts in the group time to think about new ideas. Introverts process internally, and too much talking while they are processing can make an introvert shut down and stop contributing during a meeting.  Sending out an email in advance will help them be more creative.
Second, it gives the opportunity for more independent ideas to come forth. Rather than everyone banding together on the first good idea, it gives the opportunity for the group to look at many ideas.
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