Even the best laid plans can unravel. And when they do, it’s easy to trip over the loose strings. Worse, good intentions can sometimes blind us to missteps, impeding our ability to anticipate bumps in the road.
How can a savvy entrepreneur with a thoughtfully designed business roadmap stay on track in the new year?
You’ve got your strategies lined up and your long- and short-term goals identified. Now, get out a calendar and lay out your year, setting deadlines and carving out time to review progress and readjust strategies when needed.
While your annual calendar should give you an easily-digested overview of important dates, it’s a good idea to plan on a short-term scale as well. Use weekly calendars to lay out the small but critical steps that will take you towards those goals.
Start each day by scanning your planner to ground yourself. By beginning your day with a reminder of what goals you’re working towards and what immediate steps you’ve planned to take to achieve them, you’ll add clarity and purpose to your workday.
At the end of each day, review your progress. Did you take the steps necessary to move you towards your next goal? If not, what interfered? While reviewing, go ahead and make a note of the first task you need to undertake in the morning. This daily review serves as a tool for personal accountability, and it prevents you from walking into work on the following day without a plan.
Running a business successfully takes a lot of energy, and as rewarding as it is, it’s also incredibly draining. There will be days, even with plans in place and goals within sight, when you want to give up. The best insurance against those days is becoming a member of community of people going through similar experiences. Consider joining a local entrepreneurship group in order to benefit from others’ expertise and empathy.
If we’ve learned nothing else from 2016, it’s that things don’t always turn out as you expect they might. You’ll run across obstacles and impediments – and occasionally you’ll even be blessed with a bit of good luck. One of the advantages of a thoughtful business strategy is that it gives you a reminder of where you’re going and a roadmap for getting there – whether you’ve hit a rough patch or the way is clear and smooth.