Plan Your Way To Success — Helpful Planning Tips.

Once you’ve spent months, or even years deliberating on what you want to achieve from your company, the next step focuses on how you achieve these results. If this is your first attempt expect there to be many learning curves and things will never go according to plan. You’ll experience your biggest tests of character and throughout those times it’s important not to panic, tick as many boxes as you can and keep in mind that your plan, your schedule, everything you’ve put together is still there and you need to keep on top of it.

Being a new company or a reformed company I would suggest checking your marketing, operational and overall company plans on a monthly to quarterly basis (depending on the amount of content) in order to see whether your planned activities are still needed, in date or relevant at all. It’s important not to waste time on things that won’t produce results, especially during a time where every decision is the key to future successes.

Just to help you on the way to success, here are a few little tips that may come in handy:

Review, Improve, Repeat

Your plan isn’t something you create on day one and never revisit. You need to have your plan to hand for the majority if not all of the first 1–3 years. You need to know what’s next and it’s important to manage your time well in order to be successful, if you didn’t plan to spend 14 days creating social media accounts don’t do it.

Every month, 14 days, etc. sit down, look at your plan and reflect on what went well, what didn’t and how you can apply the lessons you’ve learned to the rest of your plan moving forward. Did you originally plan something that is no longer needed? If so, don’t be afraid to make the change (After you’ve made your change it’s important to read back through the entire plan to ensure it still flows well and that all of your goals are achievable).

Monitor Everything

Whether it’s just you or there are multiple people working on things, you need to have assigned roles and assigned tasks to follow, from those tasks it’s vital to track your results in order to decipher where your plan currently stands (are you ahead of schedule? Behind? Was the task critical to your development? Etc.)

It’s important that you don’t completely do away with the tasks you haven’t finished by your deadlines. If you can, work on multiple tasks in order to get you back up to scratch, or perhaps complete it at a later date if it isn’t as important.

Calendars Are Critical

This one may sound a little obvious, but visually aided calendars are critical. Spreadsheet Excel plans are brilliant, planned tables/graphics are far more effective. Simply create a table with as many months, days, weeks as you need to complete your plan (colour code if you wish) and off you go.

The visual impacts help you find errors and missed opportunities throughout your schedule making corrections that bit easier to establish.

Pro Tip: Offer two types of deadlines, the safety net deadline (which you will work towards) and another deadline which is the final final deadline. This allows you to keep on top of your tasks and correct any errors or complete any unfinished tasks before the ‘real’ deadline passes.

The Past Can Hold a Presence

I mentioned earlier how reviewing your previous tasks are important to development. Well in this case the same applies but in a far deeper situation. Take time to look over your previous plans, experiences and knowledge of the market — perhaps even look at previous marketing plans and over the course of a period of time (which is down to you) evaluate the area of focus which will benefit your plan and your company greatly.

Consider things like:

- How much did this cost?

- How time consuming was this task?

- Did it represent a real ROI?

- Was it worth the initial efforts?

And ultimately, the big question…. ‘Would you do it again?’

Other areas of consideration include whether or not you enjoy the task itself. If you go into something half-hearted then your ROI will be poor, it will consume more time and energy and ultimately you will not be happy either during or after the task (with the results). If they need to be done but it’s not something you wish to do then bring in an external party to complete the task for you.

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE PASSION…

Keep It Simple, Stupid.

You may have heard the age old life lesson of ‘KISS’ (keep it simple, stupid).

Okay, so by this stage you should have already drafted your plan, you have your goals defined and you’re ready to move forward. For start-ups and inexperienced business owners in particular it’s important to keep things simple. Simple doesn’t mean easy and it certainly doesn’t mean poorly planned as some will lead you to believe. If you keep your tasks simple, then they will appear far more achievable and thus more enjoyable as the plan goes on.

The obvious idea is to break your plan down into further sections and focus on independent sections as you work through. A helpful tip with this is to look at your end goal and break it down into sections which will help you achieve your end goal (marketing ROI, lead generation and sales, social media engagement, etc.) Work towards every area that will help your business grow and ultimately help you towards achieving your final goal.

Keep it simple, break it down into small achievable sections, do not over-think or over complicate methods and you will be well on your way to success.

So there we have it, my top little planning tips which will help you on your way to achieving your goals.

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