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The Time is Now!

 

2016 is here.  If you’re still waiting for the New Year holiday spirit to wear off before you decide what your goals are for the year…..you need to reconsider. The time is now!

You wouldn’t start researching your vacation destination on the day your vacation started would you? Of course not!  First you would decide on the destination, then set aside the time and money, come up with a plan on how you are going to get there, and then reap the benefits of all your planning.  Well, if you haven’t set your goals for 2011, then you just started your journey to a vague destination, with no plan on how you are going to get there. 

Setting your goal is only the first part.  You need a plan on how you are going to reach that goal.  While most people “think” they have a plan, it isn’t really a plan unless it is in writing, is specific, and has a plan of action. Having someone to do this for you is ideal, but for those of you who don’t have a marketing person, there are 5 questions that you can ask yourself that will help you get started - “What, How, When, Why, and WIFM (I’ll explain this one). Here are some examples to help you develop your own starter plan:

1- Set your business goal for 2011 and write it down - your “What”: “I want to make $XX” or “I want to double my clientele”, etc.

2 - Write down your strategy - your “How”: “I will attend networking functions at least once a week and will hand out at least five business cards.” “I will create a monthly newsletter and send it to my clients and prospects.” “I will commit to $XX of advertising.” “I will hire a PR agency to promote my business.”

3 - Set a deadline for meeting your goals. - your “When”: Break the year down into quarters and set benchmarks for each of your goals.

4 - Write down the benefits of your goal - your “Why”: If you don’t know why you are doing it, then why do it? Why do you want more money? Why do you want more clientele? Why, why, why? Knowing your “why” is the basis of your motivation. When you are networking on a Thursday night rather than being home, you can remind yourself why you are doing it and get back on track to reaching your goal.

5 - Make a commitment and set a reward - Your “WIFM” (What’s in it for me). Commit to your plan and reward yourself with something for keeping your commitments. For example, if you have committed to networking at least once a week - you MUST do so - it is a commitment to yourself. If at the end of the month you have networked at least 4 times, then you’ve earned your predetermined reward. Maybe it’s dinner at a specific restaurant, or a new pair of shoes, or tickets to a show. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s a treat. Think of it as your personal carrot on a stick.

6 - Keep Score. Measuring your results is key. If your goal is to add 10 new clients to your roster, then keep track of it. This will let you know if you are doing enough to achieve your goal or not. If you are - keep doing steps 1 through 5. If not, then go back to your strategy and your commitments to see if you have been doing what you set out to do. If you have and still don’t have the results that you want, then start tweaking your plan and make the necessary adjustments until you get it right. Once you have that formula down - keep the ball bouncing.

Asking yourself these questions and implementing these simple steps will at least get you going in the right direction and will help you gauge where you are in your career path.

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