Everyone starts a new year with the best of intentions. Aside from the unfulfilled resolution of “I will go to the gym every day,” goals often go off track as the year progresses, even with the best of intentions. I once read the Apollo mission to the moon was off course over 90% of the time before arriving at the moon. Adjustments had to be made through out its mission to ensure it arrived safely and on target.
The same is true for your personal and agency goals. We all wish we were always on track with our goals. However, the realities are we often need to make course corrections along the way so we hit our goal by yearend.
As we reach the mid point of the year, it’s the perfect time to re-evaluate, adjust, and refocus on the goals we set at the beginning of the year. But before we do so, we need to ensure the goals we set at the beginning of the year had all of the components necessary to ensure their success. Let's look at a fun way to ensure we have everything we need.
Let's plan a vacation!
A great vacation requires planning. No, I am not talking about the short weekend trip to Vegas, or your nearest vacation destination. I am talking about an extended or far away vacation to the place you and your family have been thinking about. A dream extended vacation requires extensive planning. What has always worked well for my family is to use a checklist so we can decide and plan out a great vacation.
1. Destination: Where are we going? Hawaii, Paris, backpacking, Caribbean cruise, RV drive around the country?
2. When: The date we are going. Work/school schedules, best time to visit a location, etc.
3. Why: Why do we want to go to this place? Beaches, snow, sight seeing, history, etc.
4. How to get there: Plane, driving, maps, tour group, etc.
5. Activities once there: What are we going to do once we get there?
6. Cost/budget: What is the price of the total vacation, including spending money. Can we afford it?
7. Guide/Assistance: Who do we talk to if we have never been to this place? A travel agent, a friend or family member who's been there, etc.
8. What do we need to pack/Resources: Types of clothing, food/snacks, passports, supplies, etc.
9. The unexpected: No one wants to think about the unexpected, but planning for it is critical. Emergencies for medical, theft, or other possible scenarios should be planned and researched.
If you took the time and developed answers for this vacation checklist, then you will be well on your way to a great vacation. If you are like me, you had a place in mind when you read through the checklist. What was your vacation destination?
Now, let's take that same vacation planning checklist and apply it to business goal planning for the year.
1. Destination: What is your goal? Revenue, profit, client count, or was it more personal?
2. When: What is the deadline of your goal? Was it by year end or another date? Remember the old saying, " A goal without a deadline is just a dream"
3. How to get there/Action Plan: If I am driving from LA to Las Vegas, I know I have to take Highway 15 North. I know if I hit the towns of Barstow and Baker (World's Tallest Thermometer) along the way, I am well on my way to Sin City. Do you know how to achieve your goal? What is your action plan? Do you have markers/milestone to know you are on track?
4. Activities once there/What now: Once you achieve your goal, what are you going to do? What's next? Many businesses don't think about what's next or what will take place once they have achieved the goal. If your goal is $1M in revenue by end of the year and you achieve it, what's next? Hiring more staff, expanding your services?
5. Cost/budget: What is the cost of my goal? Financial, time, sacrifices... Again, if my goal was $1M in revenue, what is the cost of achieving that goal? Increase in spending on marketing? Working an extra 10 hours a week? Not going on an extended vacation this year?
6. Guide/Assistance: If you have never achieved this goal, the best way to accelerate your learning curve is to speak to someone who has. Do you have a mentor, a peer, or a professional that can give you an insight into how they achieved this goal?
7. What do we need to pack/Resources: What do you need to help you achieve the goal? Extra staff? Technology? Do you know need other resources, such as additional education, training, or a coach/consultant?
8. The unexpected: Do you have a contingency plan? What if a key employee or partner leaves or falls ill for an extended period of time? What if the economy has a down turn or a large competitor enters your market? Spend time on the "W" weaknesses and "T" threats on your SWOT analysis and develop contingency plans to overcome them. If you are not sure what a SWOT plan is, there are many free resources online. Just Google "SWOT analysis."
9. Why: I saved why for last because many agents are great at planning for everything above, but fail to attach the "why" to the goal. Without knowing why you want to achieve a goal and attaching meaning to the goal, the odds of achieving the goal drops significantly.
In addition, even if you hit the goal, it will not feel significant if you have no reason or attachment to the goal. For example, if your goal is to make $250,000 this year, you need to know why.
For me, my business goals are specifically tied to providing for my family's needs and goals. I know the income I need to make to cover basic needs, and the income I want to make, in order to provide the lifestyle I want to provide them. I work backwards from the income to arrive at my business goals.
What is your why?
If you already had answers to each of these questions, then you are well on your way to achieving these goals. It makes it easier for you to make the adjustments necessary now. If you didn’t answer these questions before, no problem. Take the time to answer each of these questions now. If you are off track, go back to the list and identify what caused you to be off track. For example:
1. Did you miscalculate your plan to achieve the goal? Do you need to adjust your metrics?
2. Did you underestimate the cost necessary to achieve your goal? Do you need invest more money in marketing, or put in a few extra hours?
3. Do you need additional resources? Do you need to add staff or outsource some functions to free up time?
4. Are you lost in the weeds? Do you need to seek coaching or guidance from a seasoned agent, or a business coach to guide you?
5. Did something unexpected happen that affected your business or personal life? What adjustments can you make?
6. Was your plan realistic? Do you need to adjust the plan or change the timing given what you know now?
There is plenty of time left in the year to reach your goals. Once you’ve identified the issues and make the correct adjustments, you are back on your way to your destination. Continue to monitor your progress so you can make minor adjustments as needed.
Whatever your goals are for this year, I wish you the best in your endeavors for the rest of this year. Just don’t forget to celebrate your successes along the way. Maybe you can actually go on the fancy vacation you planned out at the beginning of this blog once you have reached your goal.