Small business entrepreneurs have one thing in common – the desire for more clients – especially those who align with the strategic goals of your business. Acquiring the perfect client – and growing your business – doesn't happen randomly. Obtaining new clients requires planning for success.
For most entrepreneurs, each week begins with a lengthy list of incomplete tasks from last week, an enormous inventory of tasks to complete this week, and several brightly burning fires demanding attention. Before coming up for air from your inbox, the time intended for client acquisition has vanished. Your capacity to acquire clients and grow your business disappears.
Achieve Differently? Learn to Plan Differently
To build your capacity for more clients, begin each week with a step-by-step business planning process. Planning for success on a weekly basis is primarily tactical. It uncovers nonproductive time and brings formerly unidentified resources, such as time, to light.
1. Schedule strategic thinking and planning time weekly. My ideal business growth planning time is Monday morning. This is scheduled before reading email. Once my inbox is cracked open, all bets are off for planning! Friday afternoon can also be a good time for planning.
No matter what day or time you select, make sure it's scheduled in your calendar each week. You'll want to allocate a minimum of one hour to planning for success.
2. Recap, celebrate, analyze, and learn. To avoid making repeated tactical errors week after week, spend the first 15 minutes of your business planning process by taking note of your previous week's activities and results. This aspect of business growth planning allows you to more thoughtful and self-aware about what you need to succeed in business.
- What goals and plans were achieved?
- What's worked well?
- What am I doing to celebrate my achievement? (Celebrating your victories is a nice reminder of the process you're making.)
- What goal(s) or plan(s) went unaccomplished?
- What caused my plan to go off course?
- What tactics will I implement this week to ensure I stay on course?
- What insights and/or learning did I experience that will be carried forward?
Journaling your responses helps anchor your learning.
3. Plan your upcoming week. From the analysis conducted in step two, apply your conclusions to your upcoming week.
- What are my goals for the upcoming week? (Refer to your ongoingmonthly business growth planning to keep you focused.)
- Restate your goals in the form of questions to begin the process of action planning.
- What tasks are required for goal achievement?
- What resources are needed to achieve my plans, including time, money, and people?
- What day and time will my plans be executed? (Scheduling actions in your calendar ensures the tasks are completed.)
Challenges/Conflicts: There's often conflict when various projects and commitments vie for the same resources. Evaluate your plan. Check for potential conflicts. Prune activities and renegotiate where possible.
The business planning process – whether conducted annually, quarterly, monthly, or weekly – is not the most favorite activity for most small business entrepreneurs. For that reason, I'm renaming “business planning” to “success planning”! It certainly would make it a more compelling activity. You in?