By Claire Bone • SELF-IMPROVEMENT | BUSINESS | PLANNING
December 13th, 2018 • 12 Min. Read
When I began my entrepreneurial journey, nearly two years ago, I struggled to gain footing in my business.
My husband would ask me—no, beg me!—to please create a plan to use as a guide for our business. When I would go to my husband to complain, he’d calmly ask me about my plans and goals. Every time I would mutter something snarky under my breath about how planning was clearly fo’ suckaz and continue about my day, you know, not crushing my goals.
While attending an industry event with my husband, we found ourselves in an info booth about discovering your dreams and goals. With courage and determination, I began the arduous task of putting my dreams and goals down on paper. In that short exercise, I slowly came to realize that jotting down some plans and goals for our business might not be such a bad idea after all. Since returning home from that event, I’ve come around on the whole idea of planning and goal setting. After just a couple months of implementing more strategic planning in my business, I’ve seen my sales nearly double in the final quarter of 2018.
Get comfy friends, I’m gonna share with you the 7 steps I took to overhaul my business and plan for an epic upcoming year.
STEP 1 - HAVE CLEARLY DEFINED GOALS
This is the hardest part of this activity but one that will make or break your success.
You might have a clear picture of your goals, but most of us may need to take some time to redirect our focus and be sure our actions align with the goals we have for ourselves. It’s not unusual to be trucking along toward a goal for a year or more only to sit down and realize that with a new year fast approaching, your priorities and needs have shifted. Your goals may need to shift as well.
Reassess Your Goals
Here are a few sample questions you can ask yourself:
How did I do on my goals last year?
Were my goals unachievable or too easy?
What’s changed in the last year with my business or life and how do I need to adjust my goals this year?
What could I have changed to have accomplished my goals?
What distractions do I let in my life that keep me from accomplishing my goals?
What more could I have done?
What are my excuses?
**Don’t stop here, keep asking yourself explorative questions. Make this a habit in your life. To me, the quality of life is defined by the quality of questions you ask yourself.**
To begin, you need to think long and hard about the goals you want to accomplish for the year. Be sure to set a base goal and a stretch goal. The goals you create for your business now will be the map that guides you through the year. If you have never set clear goals for yourself or your business, now is the time to start! A great tool that I used to kick off my goal setting was the S.M.A.R.T Map method adapted by Ben Ward. It’s not the same S.M.A.R.T. method you think it is!
Below is a downloadable version of the S.M.A.R.T. Map I used to create my goals for this year.
STEP 2 - CREATE A PLAN TO TAKE ACTION
It’s no secret that successful people are most often planners. Even if being a planner isn’t something that comes naturally to you, it’s a learnable skill anyone can adopt in their life. Creating a game plan for your business and your life is a proven way to kick start your year! Like a lot of things though, effective planning takes practice. It’s okay if you struggle at first. Remember, it’s a process!
I noticed changes in my business within a month after I started to implement a plan. I often struggle with taking action and implementing all the exciting goals I dream up. Who can relate?!
Every week, I now put all of my ideas down on paper. Then, with my monthly and weekly calendar in front of me, I’m able to create a doable plan to put my ideas into action. I’m also able to compare my sales with my calendar and take note of which ideas and strategies worked and what I should tweak or change in the next month. The goals you set for yourself above won’t get done without a solid plan. If you need to, accountability from friends or family can help you become the master of your plan and achieve your goals.
STEP 3 - FIND YOUR “WHY”
Do you know what your “WHY” is? As Simon Sinek has stated, “Your WHY is who you are, wherever you are. The WHY is the purpose, cause or belief that drives every one of us.” When you think about your WHY, make sure it goes beyond My family or I want people to feel pretty or I needed something for myself. Those are really awesome things…so awesome! But they are not your WHY, they are not the core of who you are or why you do what you do.
I went to a training on discovering your WHY that helped me better understand what it is and why it’s so important. You see, a really good WHY guides your actions and defines your contribution and intended impact on others. It can also be incredibly inspiring to share your purpose, cause, and belief with others. You’ll notice that really inspiring WHYs are always outwardly focused.
My WHY is to…[State Your Contribution], so that…[State Your Intended Impact].
During that training, I found that my WHY is really “To help people know they belong, are valued, and loved, so that they know they are truly important and have the confidence to do amazing things.” My business helps me live my WHY every time I have the opportunity to connect with a customer and serve them.
STEP 4 - EXPECT AND EMBRACE THE OBSTACLES
Yup, I said it, embrace ‘em! Learn to love those aspects of being a business owner that drive you nuts. Your sales aren’t where you want them? Ain’t no thang. Technology is on the fritz and nothing you post is being seen? Got you, boo! Remember those plans you made earlier? Well, make sure that you always have a plan B…or C…or D, if necessary, and sometimes, they’re very necessary! Because you’ve planned for obstacles, they won’t have the power to take you down. Always be ready to take action if your first plan doesn’t come to fruition. Being ready for challenges doesn’t mean they aren’t disappointing, but they certainly don’t sting as much when you are ready for them. The challenges we face make us stronger and wiser, so learning to appreciate them when they come along is a huge asset that will go a long way in ensuring your success.
STEP 5 - SURROUND YOURSELF WITH THE RIGHT KIND OF SUPPORT
Find your tribe! Don’t just surround yourself with “Yes” people. Find people who are encouragers, motivators, and challengers to lift you up and make you a better person. Not sure who those people could be? Try reaching out to people in your industry and ask questions! Most influencers and mentors are aware of people within their groups who could offer advice, give perspective, or are good at encouraging others. Go to local training events and meet new people, your tribe is just waiting to be found! I met my tribe and have fostered an amazing group that has been a major source of my growth in the last eighteen months. When I am discouraged, they lift me up. When they want to give up, I remind them of what they are capable of. Together, we are stronger and more willing to take risks than we would be without the support of each other.
STEP 6 - DWELL ON THE GOOD
Make a conscious decision to think about the good things in your life. I am a natural Eyesore-type and can easily slip into a negativity jacuzzi, and just swirl in the negative thoughts. Guys, you know what cures me from dwelling on the bad? Focusing on the good! Celebrating victories whenever and however they come, big or small, will be fuel for your heart and your business. Get out of the negativity jacuzzi, friends! The water in there is gross and will make you look 25 years older, I swear! Dwell on what’s good and I promise you’ll begin to glow from within.
STEP 7 - ATTEND ALL THE THINGS
I’ve mentioned several times in this blog post an industry event I attended a while back.. I did this because anytime a group of people with a common passion and goal comes together – great things can happen. Amazing growth and learning has come from every training event I’ve attended and it has left me a total training junkie. Think of events or local trainings as continuing education – practically every profession has continuing education available, your business is no different. Budget and plan for trainings, they are incredible and can be game changers for your business. Have you heard the phrase, be alearn-it-all? Just like knowledge is power, know that attending trainings and learning everything you possibly can is essential to succeeding in your business.
You got this friend!
These 7 steps are simple and, when executed consistently, have the power to completely transform and overhaul your life and business. Make a promise to yourself to give these steps a try and I promise, you will find that your business will take on a new life you never knew was possible
You got this!
Claire Bone has been a LuLaRoe Retailer for over two fun-filled years. When she isn’t being a Super Skirt Selling Ninja or encouraging other Girl Bosses, she can be found chugging iced tea while watching Gilmore girls and wishing Rory had picked Jess!