Would you go on a road trip without a map? (or Satnav nowadays!)… you certainly wouldn’t get to your destination easily, or on time.

Running a business is the same? A plan is your roadmap to achieving your goals and running your business profitably. Plot your route through the next 90 days with a specific, measurable and achievable plan – we’ll explain how below.

Why 90 days?

It’s long enough to make a significant difference, and short enough to stay focused through to completion.

Ok, so where do I start?

Write down 10 things that your business needs to achieve in the next 90 days and then rank them from 1 to 10. The most important is likely to be the one that generates most profit, which is recurring rather than a one-off, and takes least time and money to achieve. It could be a time/money saving goal, or it could be a sales-generating goal.

Give me some examples…

Examples include:

  • Generating new grade-A customers
  • Building a team (Recruitment, training, communication…)
  • Time efficiency improvements
  • Cash flow forecasting and actions
  • Increase turnover and profit by X amount
  • Creating or improving processes
  • …or whatever it is holding back your business

Narrow it down to 3

Having chosen and compared 10 potential goals, choose only the top 3 as your priorities for the quarter. When you do this again next quarter, the others might make it into the top 3. Remember the fastest route to success is the steady one: By achieving just three top goals per quarter, that’s 12 per year and 60 over 5 years! The bigger your team, the more goals you can handle each quarter.

Get SMART with your goals

Once you’ve written and chosen your goals, ensure they are SMART (that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound.) An example would be:

Initial goal: Generate new customers for my hairdressing business

Specific: What type of customers, for what product or service
Measurable: How many are you going generate
Achievable: Look at your resources and set an achievable goal
Relevant: Does it benefit your business, does it improve cashflow
Time-bound: By what date will this be achieved, and what are milestones on the way?

Resulting SMART goal: I am going to generate 4 new customers every month, for one of our most profitable services, by the end of this quarter.

Once you’ve defined your 3 goals, next you need to determine the actions you need to take to make that goal happen AND when you’re going to do them (this bit is really important).

Using a simple spreadsheet in what’s known as a Gantt Chart format, you can plot the weeks and months across the top and list the actions down one side; then assign each action to a completion date. This technique ensures you have a clear route to achieving your goal. You know exactly what needs doing in which week.

Print it, save it, review it regularly… every day, then you’ll ensure you hit your goals and adjust along the way if you start falling behind. You’ll be amazed at the effectiveness of this simple process.

But will I actually do it…?

The harsh reality is that plans work, but will you? Few people have the discipline to finish the plan, and fewer have the discipline to complete the actions. This is why, every quarter, all around the world, we run GrowthCLUB planning workshops. Business owners and Managers gather together at physical events or online and complete their planning with the assistance and supervision of trained business coaches. So, if you’re that rare person who can complete this alone, or whether you want to make it happen for definite and join one of our workshops?