Congratulations, you’ve made it to the first few weeks of 2021! Getting through 2020 was not an easy feat for any business, especially those who had to pivot and adapt to many of the unforeseen challenges we faced. So take this moment to pause and reflect on this accomplishment. Last year felt like it would never end, but you finally reached a new year full of opportunity!
January is a critical time for businesses to set goals and map plans for the year ahead. Although we’ve learned that you can’t plan for everything, you can create effective measures to adapt your plan to anything. And even once you set a plan in place, it might not be enough. Sticking to the plan in motion is often the point of difference for businesses that achieve their goals and those who don’t.
So, do you know what it takes to arrive at your desired goal? Follow these four steps to ensure a plan to success:
- Create your plan
Thomas Edison once said, “The value of ideas lies in the using of it.” Ideas are great, but they aren’t always useful unless they become part of a plan. We recommend you slow down and take some time to think strategically about your business ideas coming to life. Write them down and start solidifying a plan. At this point, identify your three W’s: why, who and when. Then create specific and measurable goals to accomplish throughout the year. Watch this video of our series, “Leadership In A Nutshell” for a deeper dive on this.
- Communicating your plan
Communicating your plan effectively to others is perhaps more important than the idea itself. Without clear communication and understanding, there is no foundation for the plan to be executed. You need to make sure you are “rowing in the same direction as the canoe of your business.” To accomplish this, you need to overcommunicate and have empathy for your team. Think about how you will delegate and why.
- Ensure Team Buy-In
Communication and understanding do not stop after delegation. Driving your team to success requires empathy and mindfulness throughout execution. These are core tenets of leadership that help grow awareness and strengthen a plan’s foundation. Listen more about how to be an effective leader in our “Leadership In A Nutshell” podcast, Episode 2.
- Track, Measure and Adjust
When turning ideas into plans, businesses should set milestones and KPIs (key performance indicators) to track the success of a plan. These are the “north stars” of the plan and should provide opportunities on how to proceed. If your business isn’t hitting desired goals, this is a time to pause and pivot. Think about the three W’s (Wasn’t referenced this way in Step 1 so went back to that step and added “three W’s.” May want to check the formatting, not sure if it should be a colon or something else.) discussed in step one and re-evaluate.
It’s important to note that change can be good and bad. Change needs to be intentional and will often be justified by your initial plan. Don’t get swayed by shiny new ideas just because they are exciting. All ideas are exciting to entrepreneurs, but that doesn’t mean they are gold. The more you deviate from the plan, the more you can risk misunderstanding and miscommunication with your team.