Four Simple Steps that Bring Your Vision into Reality
Dear Success Seeker,
During a coaching call the other day, I said something crazy. My client is a consultant who has worked primarily in the government and nonprofit market. Her goal is to transition into working with for-profit corporations. She is clear that she wants to move in that direction but not sure exactly how to do it.
She told me that her next step in making the transition is to create a business plan. I surprised us both when I blurted out, "I think the worst thing you could do right now is make a business plan."
Why would I say that?
It's simple. My client doesn't actually know how her transition to the corporate market will unfold. She has some general ideas and a sense of direction but the path she will take is not at all clear. Right now she could write a business plan that looks good and sounds good. But it would be mostly theoretical. Within weeks it would become clear that things were not unfolding as projected. Then she would stop taking action and start beating herself up for failing to follow through. Yet the real problem would not be with her; it would be that she tried to make a comprehensive long-term plan before she was ready.
You have probably been there yourself. You know what your end goal is, but you don't know exactly how to go about achieving it. In theory you could sit down and lay out a detailed plan for the next five or ten years. Except that the plan would be mostly fiction. Creating it would take time away from more important activities and, when finished, you would still have an impractical plan.
The purpose of a plan is to help you achieve a goal. The goal is your destination; your plan is the road map that will take you there. When you don't know the lay of the land ahead it is hard to map out your route. This is why you are better off getting your bearings by looking at your end goal and then putting your attention onto short-term objectives that will move you forward.
When I first started ProCoach ten years ago, I fell into the trap of trying to write a ten year business plan because I thought that was the right thing to do. I spent hours on it yet I just couldn't see what was needed. I had lots of good ideas but there were too many unknowns. I just couldn't see that far into the future. Then I discovered a four-step process that is simple yet massively more effective than following a business plan. As soon as I began using it, my business results and income began to accelerate rapidly.
Since that time I have taught my four step method to thousands of small business owners and real estate investors. Like me, they have consistently experienced tremendous success. If you follow them you will too.
Step one is getting clear on your goals. I suggest you create a written long-term vision for ten years from now. Don't worry about HOW to achieve it. Just get clear about exactly what you want.
Step two is to ask yourself the following question: "What are the three or four most essential components that I must have in place three years from now if I am to achieve my vision in ten years?" I call these your pillars. For a real estate investor some pillars might include creating a database of potential investors or JV partners, getting educated in the specific markets and types of properties you want to buy, developing technical expertise related to the kind of transactions you plan to do or building a support team of experts. Note that if any one of these essential components is missing, your vision will likely not be achieved within ten years.
Once you have identified your essential three-year pillars you need to focus on them and not on your vision. Get them in place within three years and you have an excellent chance of realizing your long-term vision.
Step three is to take time each quarter to make a written plan for the next 90 days. It's simple. Just identify the three most important projects, initiatives or opportunities that you want to move forward in the coming quarter. That's it - only three. Then identify three specific action steps you will take during the quarter for each of your three projects, and write them into your plan.
Step four is where the rubber hits the road. At the start of each week, take about 15 minutes to write down the three most important actions you will take that week. Be specific and, this is crucial, write them in terms of actions and not results.
Follow this process and you will forward MUCH faster than you will when trying to implement a formal business plan. One reason is that most business plans have so many moving parts that they become overwhelming and bog you down. This four-step process is extremely simple. It is also dynamic because you get to reevaluate your priorities each quarter and choose your actions week by week. While business plans tends to sit on the shelf collecting dust, this four step process keeps you moving forward. It's simple AND it's effective!
Andrew Barber-Starkey, Master Certified Coach
Founder and President, ProCoach Success System
Would you like to receive private Business Coaching from Andrew?
Email Pam@ProCoachSystem.com or call 604-983-8041 for details
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Andrew Barber-Starkey is a Master Certified Coach residing in Vancouver, Canada. His coaching program, the ProCoach Success System, is designed for entrepreneurs, small-business owners, self-employed and commissioned sales people who want to double their income while simultaneously doubling their time off within 3 years.
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