Business Planning is a process that many people get hung up on. Travis Robertson shares 4 questions that will help you reflect on the last 12 months, and set goals for the next 12 months to make business planning easy and fun!
4 Questions to Rev Up Your Goal Setting
Many people want to know one question: how do you help your clients plan their business or plan their next year? What is the process that they go through? The answer is quite simple. It all starts with four questions to kind of rev up your goal setting. If you’re looking ahead to the next year, depending on when you’re reading this, maybe you want to readjust your goals for the remainder of the year depending on what’s going on. It doesn’t matter where you are, there’s some questions we always have our clients start with. They’re reflection questions or they’re things that are intended to get them thinking about the last 12 months and then look ahead to the next 12 months and kind of see where they’re going. Here’s some insight into how to do this exercise correctly because before you do anything else you should answer these four questions for yourself and for your business.
What did I do right or well this year?
Over the last 12 months think back. What went well? What did you accomplish that was good? What’d you do that was right? Make a list of all the different things you can think of. For all of these questions, come up with at least five different answers or 5 different responses for each one. You don’t have to include everything but really think of those key things that you look back on the last 12 months and go “man I nailed that. I did that right. I did that well.” Come up with at least five.
What did I do wrong or poorly in the last year?
What went wrong? What mistakes did you make? What things did you screw up on? Look, at some point you need to be level with yourself. You’ve got to be honest with yourself and if phrasing it this way stings a little bit, that’s great, because the idea is you don’t want to make the same mistakes twice. We’re all allowed to make mistakes. We’re all allowed to do things wrong or poorly once but if we keep doing it over and over again that’s where we start to have a problem. Phrasing this question this way is forcing yourself to recognize that it was a mistake. Focus on the things that didn’t go so well and write those things down. Really reflect on them.
What do I want to see changed next year?
As you look ahead to the next 12 months, what do you want to see change? By the way, what most people do is they do this: they take the list from number two then they copy it over to number three and they reword it. That’s half-assing this goal. Don’t do that. Focus on coming up with some things that were a mistake last year but don’t just copy and paste it into your goals for the next year and think “well I’ll just do better next year“. Or you could look at it and go “I don’t even want to put any effort our attention there. The mistake was actually putting any attention or effort into this activity and this next year I don’t want to do that.” This list is really evaluating what you want to see change.
When you’re looking back on this twelve month period, what is it that you’re going to look at go “man, this was an awesome twelve-month period! This was an awesome year!” What would make you say that? Is it a certain goal? Is it a certain achievement? Is it a certain way you feel? Maybe it’s a health goal or a financial goal. Maybe it’s something in your business. Whatever it is for you, what would you want to see change next year? When answering these questions don’t just limit it to your business. Think about it from a business perspective or a career perspective and personal perspective. Life isn’t compartmentalized. We don’t go home and shut work out. What happens at home impacts our work life and what happens at work impacts our home life, doesn’t it? Have things on here that are both personal and professional. That’s how you know you’re going to be doing this right.
What must you do to make those changes?
Of all these changes you want to see happening over the next 12 months, what do you have to do to make those changes and what changes in yourself do you have to make? What changes in your business are you going to you have to make? What changes in your approach are you going to have to make? How you answer this is ultimately going to determine what you need to do to make those changes. Start recognizing the steps you have to take to make these changes happen. For example, if you look at this and say “one of the changes I want to make is I want to focus on doing fewer things but doing them more effectively.” How are you going to filter out the essentials from the non-essentials? Write down your ideas and then take those ideas and convert them ultimately into goals.
Answer these four questions. Spend time. You shouldn’t be able to do this in an hour. This is something that should take a little bit of time. Maybe you do it over a couple of days, you brainstorm whatever you can think of and set it aside for couple days and come back to it and reflect on it. “Do I still feel this way? Is this really what I want to do?” Spend some time thinking about it because sometimes we put stuff down because we think we should put it down not because it’s actually meaningful or important to us. Spend some time, answer these four questions and I promise you it’ll make planning your next 12 months a lot more exciting and a lot more interesting.