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I talked yesterday about why I dislike New Year resolutions so much. Today I’d like to look at some tools that are much more useful, sustainable and longer-lived than New Year resolutions.

You can call them goals or whatever you want to call them. I know a lot of people don’t like talking about ‘goals’ because they find the word too limiting and their creative processes seize up. The fact is that writing down what you are intending to achieve gives you an 87% higher chance of reaching them. Personally, I like those odds!

Decide what income you would like your business to bring in this year. Break it down into a monthly figure (divide it by 11), then a weekly figure (divide the monthly by four) and a daily income figure (divide the weekly by five). Write these figures down in big letters and place it where you will see it regularly. I have mine written on a huge page with my product funnel on the wall direcctly above my desk. Every time I lift my eyes from my laptop I’m looking at my product funnel and my income figures.

The other constant reminder I have written in front of me that does more to keep me focussed than anything else is the words “Is what I’m doing now making $$$$$ now or in the future? Or will what I’m doing not make me any $$ at all?”

Have someone to keep you accountable, motivated and growing. A Business Coach like myself is fantastic, if your budget doesn’t stretch that far yet use a friend or business mentor. A Mastermind group is also great.

A flexible, usable business plan (NOT the business plan you use to keep the bank manager happy) is another essential to keeping you on track and focussed. A three ring binder with loose leaf pages that you can add to, change, organise and carry around with you is ideal. This business plan should be a dynamic, growing, ever-changing and evolving document that you read and refer to constantly. Included in it should be as many of the following as possible (listed in no particular order):
– Your business mission and vision.
– A word picture of what your business ‘looks’ like, what it does, how it does it, a description of the absolute ideal of your business.
– A list of possible products and services you can provide
– Description of your ideal client, what they like, what they buy, where they buy it, where they hang out online and offline, as much information as you can possibly gather about your ideal client.
– Forecast budget. Kind of. Because you can never know exactly what is going to happen financially. However you need some idea of what your expenses for the year will be and what you expect your income to be. A tip that I was given very early on when I started my business was to take my expected expenses for the first year, double it and then double it again and that’s how much I should expect to spend! Strangely enough, it wasn’t far wrong!
– Pages for brainstorming and rough planning ideas that you have.
– Plans for both expected and unexpected happenings. How are you going to manage your kids during school holidays or sick days? What happens with your business if you are sick for a week? How are you going to manage your business when you go away on holidays?
– Keep an envelope or some means to collect interesting articles, ideas, notes, newsletters, and anything else that you think you might want to refer back to later.
– Monthly and weekly statistics of your business. (I actually keep these on my computer on an excel spreadsheet) Measure as much as possible in your business. How else will you know how you’re going?
– Marketing plans for how and where you’re going to market your product/s.
– Anything else that you can think of that relates to your business!