Sunday, February 1, 2009

Make a plan

by Sharmen Lane

No matter what you do in life, or work, if you want to ensure success the best possible way to do that is to make a plan. The second thing to do is execute on it.

You may have the best idea, invention, or product if you don’t make a plan on how you are going to promote, sell, market, advertise etc., then you likely won’t go very far. I once read a quote by someone that said, “If you fly by the seat of your pants, you better expect turbulence.” Basically, you want to have a plan, or it could be a very bumpy ride.

Planning is generally the one step that most people miss when it comes to goals or marketing. First you need to know the end result. Once you know what you are ultimately looking to achieve then you need to come up with the step by step instructions or directions to make that goal happen.

Think about it like traveling. If you are driving to a specific location a hundred or even a thousand miles away for that matter, and you have never been there before, you’re not going to get in your car, turn on the ignition and just start driving are you? I doubt it. You’re going to look at a map, go online or at least have a GPS device to tell you which route to take. The GPS or the directions you get are going to tell you what to do and when to do it. That is MAP’ing, Making A Plan.

When putting together your plan for success, “begin with the end in mind,” as Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People would say. Now that you know what the end result is, write down a step by step action plan that will lead you to your destination in small daily simple steps. If you are looking to accomplish your goal in one year, think of 12 big steps that need to be done. Then put them in order from start to finish. Put the first item on your calendar for the next month. Then fill in each of the remaining 11 steps for the following 11 months. This way each and every month you are doing the things necessary to reach your goal in the timeframe that you want.

After you have completed your monthly things to do list you will want to go back and do the same thing again but dice it up a little more. Now look over each month’s item and break it down into four steps, one for each week of the month. Then, for each week’s item, break it down into seven steps, one thing you can do every day.

That’s it. That’s all there is to planning. Most people are so excited about their goal that one of two things happen. Either the how to do it becomes so daunting that they take no action and forget about the goal altogether. Or, they hit the ground running and end up missing several important steps along the way which can turn out to be detrimental. Yes making a plan does take time. However, if you take the time to think it through from the beginning you will already have avoided roadblocks and obstacles ahead of time. It’s somewhat similar to building a house. You can put the studs up first so you can see immediate results. However, sooner or later that house will come crumbling down without a strong foundation, and you will have to start all over again. And that can be a timely and expensive mistake.

So, do yourself a favor and make a plan to make your goals happen. It will save you time and money in the long run and likely get you to where you want to be faster.

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