I was speaking with a businessman recently who said he did not believe in business plans or setting goals. He said, “You may as well get a crystal ball as a business plan! How can I predict the future and what my customers and competitors are going to do, or what the economic climate may be like?”
His experience up to now had led him to that very clear and resolute conclusion. And I agree with him that there is no point in setting goals and plans based on what others may or may not do.
But does that negate the value of a business plan and specific measurable goal setting?
Well, the whole concept that the ‘outcomes you get tomorrow are directly related to the activity or lack of it that you do today’ comes from the agricultural community. Farmers for thousands of years have known that if they plant seeds in springtime that after the summer sun has ripened the crop they will have a harvest in autumn. If they do not sow seed then come harvest time they will not have anything to feed their family.
Now, if they have a bad year of drought or floods or insects plagues, rather than be discouraged and deterred, many farmers will actually plant more seed in the following year. They certainly will do something, because they know the laws of the harvest.
The fact is that what you do today greatly effects the results you get tomorrow. There are tougher times and difficulties happen to everyone, but it is all about having a plan and working that plan, readjusting where you need to, and sticking at it until you get somewhere close to where you were hoping to be. Without a plan you end up responding to whatever comes your way and allowing other people to set your direction and lead you.
It is interesting to know that people tend to overestimate what they can achieve in 1 year and underestimate what they can achieve in 3 years (if they regroup and stick at it).
Longitudinal studies over 40 years have shown that the 3% of the sample who had written goals that they followed through life achieved far and beyond those who had no goals and much more than those who had unwritten goals in their heads. It’s the difference between being independently wealthy or totally dependent on the pension in retirement. The results were that clear.
Most businesses do not have a strategic plan with clear goals (or steps) that they can follow to move them towards achieving that plan. Maybe that’s why 96% of businesses are not operating after 10 years.
A great exercise that may help you get motivated to write a business plan or a life plan for the next 12 months is to sit down with a piece of paper and imagine that it is 31st December, 2011. Write down what it is that you want to have achieved by that date. Get the picture clear, savour the achievement, see it, feel it, hear what you are saying to yourself and what others are saying to you. Experience fully the excitement of the results you have achieved.
And then start back from that time in 90 day segments and plan all that it will take to make those results come to pass. In order to achieve the results you want by the end of next year, you need to start today….at least with the beginnings of your plan and the first goals (steps) towards making it happen.
Have fun dreaming, planning, setting goals, and then, once you have it written down, taking MASSIVE ACTION STEPS every day to make your vision happen!