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     In business as in life there are no guarantees. We can hope that things will work out for us and that everything will go perfectly, but life somehow always manages to keep things interesting. One day you are on top of the world and another it seems as if nothing you do is right. I have experienced this quite often over the years and have failed and learned a lot during the process. I have learned that there are a few things that we as business owners can focus on that yield us the greatest results. Over the next few weeks we are going to look at three areas in which I used to struggle and have found that they had the biggest impact on the success of my business. Today we start of with…

Planning

     This seems self-explanatory but you would find it surprising how many people take a reactive approach to their business instead of a proactive one. How many times has growth happened and we haven’t been prepared? Or perhaps an opportunity presents itself and you are unsure of the decision you need to make. Benjamin Franklin said it perfectly “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” This is true in every area of our lives but especially with regards to business.

     Once I started to take a proactive approach to planning and growing my business things really began to change. With planning came understanding and confidence. It allowed me to focus on what I wanted most and provided motivation to see my goals achieved. Let me ask you this, if tomorrow your business doubled would you be prepared to make the most of it and reap the benefits? What if an amazing opportunity presented itself? Do you have confidence in what your goals are and your ability to assess whether or not the opportunity will bring you closer or further away from what you are trying to accomplish? Do you even know what you really want or expect from your business? Too often we set our sights low. Far too often we expect minimum results and have a minimum attitude. Set your sights higher and dream bigger. Please listen carefully and accept this next statement as truth: You are worthy of more! We typically get exactly what we plan for and expect out of people, our businesses, and our lives. So expect greater things and plan accordingly.     

     Planning is not just writing down broad generic things you would like to see. It is taking the time to evaluate where you are, where you want to be, and what needs to happen in order to see those things come to fruition. It takes focus and commitment to properly plan out the direction of your business. In my experience success is always a planned event. Some people will look at others and say “They were so lucky.” or “They catch all the lucky breaks.” but consider the words of Thomas Jefferson “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”

     Here is my recommendation; if you wish to be successful and grow your business set aside time every week to plan. Make sure the actions you are taking are inline with helping you achieve your goals. What I have found that works for me is to take about an hour every Friday and map out my next week. I then take roughly 30 minutes every day at the end of my work day and plan the next day. This allows me to more accurately manage each day while having an understanding of what I want to accomplish. Let’s face it last-minute meetings arise so plan accordingly. Leave space in your calendar for these changes. Trust me it will leave you with less stress when things do come up. Understand It will take some time to find out what works best for you but in the end it is well worth the effort. Attack your dreams as if your life and your family depends on it because quite honestly they do.

     Remember, those who fail to plan are planning to fail. Next week we will look at how your network is equal to your net worth and how to best cultivate and develop your spheres of influence. Until then prepare for it by taking the advice of John Maxwell and his 30 second rule. “Within the first 30 seconds of a conversation, I say something encouraging to the other person. Giving out compliments focuses me on the value of the other person and prevents me from being self-absorbed.