How to Use Strategic Planning to Slay Your Goals

profitLast week we talked about the simple step you’re skipping when setting your goals for 2016. What I am going to show you today is a very simple way that you can take your big goals and break them down into actionable steps to keep you focused on achieving those goals on a daily basis. No more setting goals and forgetting about them or allowing life to happen to you, rather than making the things you want to happen, happen.
Furthermore, you need to stay focused on your goals even when shit happens. Because shit happens, right? If you are in business long enough, you are going to wind up in a legal dispute eventually. You are going to have to fire an employee eventually. Things will happen but we can still stay focused on our goals even when the excrement hits the wind machine, so that we end the year feeling proud of what we’ve accomplished instead of disappointed.
Planning for business goals is something that I have been doing for the last six years. I have been able to achieve consistent growth despite a myriad of setbacks in both my personal and professional life over the years. For example, this year my company has experienced two huge setbacks that cost me a ton of money and time and just sucked in general.

Despite those big, big challenges, my team and I have achieved 24% growth over our revenues last year. In addition to that our profit margins and mailing list have grown significantly.

We launched three new legal kits this year, created five courses for Creative Live, established a lucrative partnership for another legal kit with Paul Jarvis and launched a new mastermind program + retreat called Prime. We acquired our most successful and most well-known clients in the past year and raised our prices by 50-60%. And I was able to increase my own personal salary by about 25% enabling me to provide for my family in a way that I have never been able to before.
In fact, I have seen significant growth in my business since the year I started, doubling my revenue in 12 months twice over the last five years.
Regardless of setbacks and not executing perfectly, you can still accomplish so much in 2016 and get very big results for yourself, for your clients and for your family.

So let’s dive into the Strategic Planning That Gets Results Framework that I have been using to get big results:

Step 1: Look back at the goals you set at the beginning of 2015. But do it in a way that creates context and builds confidence. Not in a way that makes you feel deflated and like you are not capable of getting results. As entrepreneurs, we really cannot afford to walk around with a woe is me attitude.
I talked about this in detail in last week’s article but I want you to remember: you are entirely responsible for your results. Period. One of my favorite sayings that I learned from Marie Forleo is “Some people have reasons, other people have results.” Be the kind of person that has results.
And remember, when you evaluate what you’ve accomplished in the last year, you want to do so with a mindset of “Damn, look how far I’ve come!” rather than “Damn, look how far I still am from getting to where I want to be.” The first mindset builds momentum, the second mindset builds slumps.
Step 2: Alrighty, now that we’ve looked back in a positive way it’s time to look forward. The next step is easy: set the revenue goal that you want to hit in five years.
Five years is too far away to realistically plan for anything else besides a target number. On a day to day basis it is hard to stay motivated for something that is 5 years away, some people can do it, most can’t. So let’s just come up with a number that you want to reach in five years.
One of the ways that you can come up with that number is to calculate the expenses of your dream lifestyle. Think about what you have now that you love and what you’d want to add to make your life even more fantastic. Whether it’s travel, or a fantastic school for your children, or that crazy car you want. Or maybe a dream home in your favorite city. Do the research and find the tangible numbers you’d need to make these dreams a reality. Add these numbers together to get the annual cost of living you would have and then divide by 12, now you have the number for your monthly dream salary.
Then do the same for your business based on the kinds of salaries and benefits you want to provide for your team, the office you would have, the annual retreats, the charitable giving that you want to be able to do, the technology that you want to build, events you want to host, etc.
Add your monthly dream salary and the monthly cost of your dream business number together to come up with an estimate of the revenue that you want your business to generate in five years.
Pro tip: dream big. None of this “I want to be making six-figures in five years.” Six-figures is not a lot of money to create your dream life and your dream business. Even if you’re just starting out, you can get to six-figures in less than five years, so allow yourself to dream a little bigger.
Step 3: Alright we have our five year number, now this is where it gets fun. Next I want you to create a Painted Picture for your three year goals.
The Painted Picture comes from a great book called Double Double by Cameron Herold. Cameron was the COO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK and is currently a business advisor to Fortune 500 CEOs. I heard him speak recently and I can tell you with certainty that Cameron knows business. He’s also a really likeable guy because he’s Canadian and we all know how awesome Canadians are. I highly recommend that you read Double Double, even just the first two chapters will change your perspective around business and planning.
Spend a day away from your office or desk where you usually work and really spend some time thinking and dreaming and creating the vision for what your business will look like in three years. Don’t focus on the “how the hell am I going to make this happen?” Just focus on what you want to make happen. You can figure out the how later.
If you want to see an example, you can check out the Rodgers Collective Painted Picture on our website and this RRTV episode.
Step 4: Now you have an amazing vision for your future, but how are you going to get the results and make it happen?
Here is where you drill your vision down into actionable steps that you can accomplish over the next three months. Select three sub-goals that are directly related to your Painted Picture and focus on those for the first quarter of 2016. I implore you, DO NOT CHOOSE MORE THAN THREE. Three goals that you will actually achieve is way better than eight goals all of which will be half-assed and unfinished at the end of the first quarter.
Choose the goals that will get results. RESULTS. You want something that you can actually finish in three months and measure whether it happened or not.
For instance, if you want to grow your mailing list by 30,000 subscribers by the end of 2019, then an obvious goal is to obtain 2,500 subscribers in the first quarter. That’s the three month goal.
Once you set the goal, decide how you want to make it happen. You can pitch 50 high-trafficked websites a guest post with the goal of succeeding on 10 of them. Or, you can plan out six webinars over the next three months to grow your subscribers.
Here’s another example: let’s say you want to increase your revenue from $20,000 per month to $30,000 per month. That may mean creating a new program that costs $1,000 per month and obtaining 10 clients for that program. Or it may mean launching a new product, with the goal of having a $10k launch. And then devising a plan to generate $10k in sales per month, perhaps through affiliates or by doing webinars for other people’s audiences over the next several months.
So you get the picture. Three actionable goals that get you closer to the results that you want to have achieved by the end of next year, which will get you at least 1/12th of the way towards your three year goals.
The reason you don't want to map out a plan for the whole year is because it’s pointless. Things change, life is dynamic and efforts compound. Most importantly, it's hard to stay motivated towards a goal that is one year away.
Instead focus on your goals for the next three months because it is exciting to know that by April 1st you would have grown your list by 2,500, grown your revenue by $10,000 and maybe increased your salary or hired a new team member. Three month goals are better than pretty much any other kinds of goals. The role of the three year Painted Picture is to ensure that you are choosing the right three month goals that move you in the direction you want to be going in.
So there you have it, a clear plan to creating strategic goals that you will slay. Look back at what you’ve accomplished this year with context so that you can have an “oh, shit, look how far I’ve come attitude.” Calculate your five year revenue goal. Create your Painted Picture. Choose three high-impact goals that you will accomplish in the first quarter of 2016 and on April 1st, rinse and repeat.
So what are some of your goals for the first quarter of 2016? Comment below and let me know! I’d love to hear about them and be part of your virtual cheering squad!

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