Step 1. Know where you are now
You can’t achieve anything until you know where you are now so pull up some stats. Print out your financial statement for the first six months of the year.
What? You haven’t done your books for this year because you just finished last year’s taxes? Then you need to take a step back and do step 0 – get your bookkeeping up-to-date! The first rule of business is manage your money!
Next, look at your RSS subscribers, your email newsletter list, daily/monthly visitors to your website or blog, your Facebook friends and likes to your page, your Twitter followers, your LinkedIn connections and what other stats are important to you. Record them on your calendar so you have a measuring stick to go by.
Step 2 Review your goals
Pull out your 2011 goals from January and see how close you are to achieving them. Are there goals that are no longer relevant? Are there some that you’ve already reached? Are some right on track? Celebrate your successes. Treat yourself to a glass of wine at your favourite restaurant or a new pair of shoes. Pat yourself on the back for things that are right on track and plan to continue what you’re doing. For things that aren’t working, congratulate yourself for noticing. Now figure out what you need to change to get back on track to achieving your goals. For goals that are no longer relevant, write some new ones.
If you neglected to create goals for 2011, now’s the perfect time to start. Or if your goals no longer feel right, let’s create some new ones. You’re in business so I suggest you pick a target of how much money you want to earn by the end of the year. Or, it could be a monthly amount you want to achieve by December.
Next, break that goal into smaller chunks. If you’ve set an income target, how will you get there? Do you need 15 new customers by the end of December? Do you need 15 new customers each month? Figure out what you need and write them down – set intermediary goals. For example, if you need 15 new customers by December 31st, set a goal of 7 by September 30th. Are you planning to launch a new product? Set a launch date now.
Step 3 Review your marketing
Next, decide what marketing you will do to achieve your goals? Are you ramping up what’s worked in the past or trying something new? Ideally you should be doing both. Create a marketing calendar with your plans for the next 6 months. Make sure to include at least one thing that makes you a little uncomfortable. In my experience, it’s when I step outside my comfort zone that I get great results.
Step 4 – Tell someone
Having someone act as an accountability partner will help you achieve your goals more quickly. It’s the secret of most successful business people. My natural inclination is that I need to do everything myself – if I need help I’m not an entrepreneur, or I’m weak. And I’ve seen that same sentiment in far too many other business people. But it’s a myth that any successful person did it all alone. The real secret of success is knowing when to ask for help.
So find someone you trust to help keep you on track. It could be a coach or it could be another business person. It’s doesn’t matter – just find someone to share your goals with who is willing to meet regularly to help keep your feet to the fire.
Step 5 – Take action today!
An imperfect plan implemented today will always beat a perfect plan that’s perfect in every way but never sees the light of day. So take one action step today towards achieving your goals. Then take another tomorrow. And the next. And so on until before you know it it’s December 31st and you can be proud of what you’ve accomplished.
Andrea J. Stenberg
My goals for the second half of 2011 include publishing The Baby Boomer Entrepreneur’s Guide to Marketing with Twitter as well launching a new Facebook marketing audio course and a joint venture project that should be completed soon.
Please leave a comment and share your goals or an action you took today.