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Five Strategies for Creating Your 2011 Business Plan

Have you created your written 2011 business plan?

Allyson Lewis, 12/23/2010

Each New Year gives you the opportunity to outline a future reality and create concrete plans for who you want to be and what you want to accomplish over the next 12 months. There is a sense of excitement and anticipation that motivates new resolutions and generates new found energy.

On Jan. 1, 2011, we all start off at the same place in life. But, by Dec. 31, 2011 each of our lives will take a different path. We all have the same opportunities, we will all face the same economy, but each one of you reading this article will end the year as a different person. Who will you choose to be? What will you choose to learn? How can your life be different?

By creating a written plan of action, you significantly increase the odds of knowing what you want to accomplish and how you plan to get there. Here are five must know strategies for creating your 2011 written business plan:

Strategy #1: Know what you want to accomplish--clarify, clarify, clarify.
Every plan must begin with a destination in mind. The more clearly you can see who you'd like to be and what you would like to accomplish, the more likely you will be to reach your goals. In the financial services industry there are several ways to measure success: revenues, new accounts, net new assets and client satisfaction are just a few. And equally important, financial advisors across the country are seeking to discover personal fulfillment and meaning in their daily work.

Therefore, look out 12 months from now to Dec. 31, 2011, and decide what accomplishments and actions will make this New Year a success for you.

Strategy #2: Think of 2011 as precious real estate.
Time is one of your most valuable commodities. If you live an average life span, each New Year represents one eightieth of your life. Your time is much like real estate in that it is limited and there are very specific boundaries which frame each New Year. Think of 2011 is a valuable piece of real estate; now is the time to decide how you will develop the next 365 days. How much time will you spend at work? How much time will you spend with your family? How much time will you spend in other areas of your life? Time is very limited and how you spend the minutes of your day become the life you experience.

Draw a single square on a large piece of paper representing 2011. Inside that square, write down the largest foundational projects and tasks you want to accomplish during the next 12 months. From here, outline what you would like to accomplish each month and place those items on a written 2011 calendar.

With planning and time management you must define which projects and activities are the most important to creating the life you want to live. Then, you must prioritize which of these activities you will focus your attention on first. Make an emotional commitment to accomplish each of these foundational items.

Strategy #3: Understand the psychology of motivation.
Success and fulfillment in life is driven by motivation. Recently, I interviewed Dr. JoAnn Dahlkoetter, a sports psychology expert and coach and the best-selling author of "Your Performing Edge." I asked Dahlkoetter, "Where does motivation come from?" And she replied, "Motivation is basically an inner desire. Regardless of if you are an Olympic athlete, a corporate executive, a salesperson, or teacher you have to be hungry for success, hungry for results, hungry to be the best person you can be--that is motivation. Motivation comes from within; it has to be an inner desire, an inner fire, a willingness to achieve something you're passionate about."

Your motivation for 2011 will be strengthened when you allow yourself to focus on work that is in alignment with what is most important to you. Personal values such as: faith, family, health, love, community, learning, peace, inspiring others, making a difference, and serving often fuel this type of inner desire. Make sure to write down the priorities that you want to focus on in 2011.

Strategy #4: Translate your goals into a daily written plan of action.
Once you have clarified what you want to accomplish over the next 12 months, it is even more important to know how to translate your annual goals into a daily written plan of action. The most powerful tool we can recommend is for you to take "seven minutes" at the end of each day to create your "five before 11" list. Your "five before 11" is simply a list of five high-value tasks that you will commit to accomplishing before 11 a.m. the next morning.

Before you leave the office, review your personal goals and your work goals for your annual plan. Then, write down five specific high value action steps you can accomplish the next day. If you will commit to this single strategy of completing your "five before 11" list for the next 90 days (five actions times 90 days)--you will be able to take 450 positive steps forward toward reaching your goals. This is a very powerful way to immediately impact your personal goal accomplishment.

Strategy #5: Do what you said you will do.
One of the key differences between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people do what they say they will do. Day in and day out successful people continue to do the right things over and over again. They have clarified their values; they know what they want to accomplish. Successful people can see the big picture and focus on what really matters without squandering precious time. They know what motivates them and they find life fulfilling and meaningful. Each day they make a commitment to excellence and they live a life that is congruent with their own personal expectations.

Most of us already know WHAT we need to do to be successful; now is the time to commit to DO what you said you will do.  Much of what separates humans from other mammals is the ability to "think" and "plan" and "execute". There is great anticipation at the beginning of each New Year.  Make 2011 your best year ever!

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