This blog post is inspired by clients who have come to me to get help with creating a day to day plan so they can make the progress they want in their business.
When you’re running a business there is a lot of to do. Sometimes it can feel like the to-do list is never ending; that you’re not getting ahead, that you’ll never be “done”. And that can quickly feel demotivating.
There is always something else to be done. And that’s if we have a solid strategy that allows us to ignore the shiny objects! With no clear strategy we can end up being pulled in lots of different directions, frustrated that we get to the end of the week and don’t feel like we’ve achieved anything.
I’m glad to say it doesn’t need to be like this. The first step is to take the time to pull away from the everyday busyness and look at the big picture.
It starts with your business goals
Whenever I feel confused about where to spend my time, or what to focus on next, I know I’ve become disconnected from my business goals.
I didn’t start my business to spend my day in the weeds – fixing tech issues, scheduling out social media posts. My aim for my business was to give me a life that offered me more flexibility than the long and stressful hours of a corporate lawyer. I didn’t have a grand why when I first started. Over the years it’s become clear that I want to lift women up, to support them to run businesses that work for them and their unique style and to make a profit (!).
Regardless of the reason why you started your business you will have goals that you want to achieve.
We don’t need a million goals for our business, in fact less is definitely more. By having a small number of key goals we’re able to focus, rather than spreading ourselves too thin.
When you have big ideas for your business it’s tempting to write down a long list of goals to want to reach, yet when I’ve done that myself it doesn’t work out so well. There are so many that it’s tough to choose what to start with so I would start lots of goals at once but never fully focus on them so they don’t get the best of me. Now I limit myself to 3 key goals per quarter as that means my day to day plan is manageable.
Your Next Step:
Write down everything you want to achieve for the next quarter, get it all down on paper.
Goals by their very nature are out of our control. Sure we can take steps to achieve them but we require the input of other people to reach them e.g. having 10 sales calls a month relies on a third party booking in for those calls.
Next, pick your top three goals for the next quarter.
If you’re struggling to know which three to pick then consider this structure:
#1 Income Goal: business by its very definition is about making money so make sure you have an income goal. Whether it’s a dollar amount or a certain number of service packages sold or clients bought in, put that number down.
It can be tempting to avoid this goal (I know I have in the past!). It’s a signal that there is a story you’re telling yourself about money – take the time to unpack that story and see what’s behind avoiding this kind of goal.
#2 Growth Goal: choose a goal that supports the long term growth of your business e.g. growing your email marketing list. It can be easy to focus on short terms goals and avoid goals that have a slow and steady burn.
#3 Foundation Goal: choose a goal that will make your business easier to run behind the scenes.
You don’t have to have each type of goal, this is simply a guide to help you choose your top three.
We all have a life outside of our business and personal goals we want to achieve there. What are the main goals for your life for the next quarter?
Do you want a fit and healthy you? To volunteer at your local animal rescue shelter? Write those down.
Avoid the temptation to turn this goal list into a long list of wishes. Pick your three MOST important for the next quarter. Keep focused on what is most important to you for that time period.
Moving From Goals To Key Actions
Once you have your goals you can start to look at how you can make them happen.
Grab that extensive to-do list I know you have somewhere. We want to choose the key actions from that list that will help you to achieve your goals. Let’s be more discerning about where we spend our time and not add an action to our list simply because we feel like we “should” or because we saw someone else doing it.
What does this look like in practise?
- Income goal: $10,000
- Key action 1: Run a webinar (with an offer at the end of it)
- Key action 2: Share daily engaging content on my FB page (including offers for your services)
- Key action 3: Nurture your audience with a weekly email (including offers for your services).
We want to make sure that your key actions connect directly back to your goals.
Your Next Step:
Write down 3 to 5 actions you’ll take that connect back to your goal. You may have actions that will relate to more than one goal so you may end up with less than the maximum of 15 actions.
The key actions that you choose will depend on the strategy you have for your business.
Creating Your Day to Day Plan
Once you have your key actions you can then break them down into your daily and weekly tasks which then form the basis of your day to day plan.
If one of your key actions is to share daily content on your FB page you’re going to need tasks relating to planning your content, creating it, editing it then publishing it.
The way you complete those tasks will depend on your personal working style.
If you like structure, you could block out certain days and times for each element e.g. an hour on Mon for planning, two hours on Tues for creation.
If you like to keep your calendar solely for your appointments, you could use a project management tool like Asana to manage your day to day tasks.
Even if you’re a creative soul who loves maximum freedom, having some kind of structure will help to support your creativity. It will also ensure that you don’t constantly have to remember to do the tasks . . . which can be a drain on your creativity.
Your Next Steps:
Break down each of your key actions into the tasks that will need to occur to make the action happen. Decide when these actions will be happening during the next quarter. Are there some tasks that need to be done every day? Every Tuesday? Or only at the end of the month.
It takes time to get all of the detail down so give this step the space it deserves. Keep in mind that if you’ll be repeating the key actions in another quarter then you’ll be able to reuse the details you write down now.
Pro Tip: Keep a written record of each of the tasks that make up a key action e.g. holding a webinar, as that list will form the basis of your workflow (aka standard operation procedure or SOP) for that action.
You can now see that there is a clear flow from goals to key actions to daily tasks. Creating an easy to flow day to day plan actually starts with setting clear goals for your business. By following that flow you’ll have the certainty that your daily tasks are leading you directly to achieving your goals.
If you like the idea of having a clear flow from your goals to your daily actions but setting goals or breaking them down into smaller pieces feels challenging book in a free 20 minute call with me. We’ll discuss how I can support you to set up your business for success. I’m a total systems geek and I’d be happy to talk to you about organising and systemising your business.