Want a simple, cheap and easy way to increase profit? Increase how often people buy from you!

It is very common for business owners to be so caught up in trying to find the best ways to gain more customers, that no one is thinking hard enough about how to increase their current customers’ average number of transactions. Yes, gaining new customers will most definitely increase profit, but think about this… your existing customers clearly already like what you do, which makes it about six times easier (and cheaper) to get a past customer to buy again than to acquire a new one.

Now, I want you to ask yourself this question…

How many times a year do your clients buy from you? How can you increase this frequency? And what will you increase this average to? It’s time to start devising the ways you can encourage past clients to buy from your more often. Get brainstorming!

Need a few ideas? Consider these…

Hairdressers often end their appointments with asking their client when they would like their next appointment to be. Not only does this lock in their next sale, but it also gives the hairdresser a great opportunity to build a relationship with their client and to get to know them more.  When you’re with a customer, be sure to position their next purchase as well.

Boost Juice is a company which any business owner could learn from. They have a very simple and easy-to-use membership program which gives their customers a free boost for every 10th visit. As well as that, they make sure to say thank you to their client by using the name that comes up on their membership card. This is a great incentive to encourage clients to come back and buy, as well as making them feel good by knowing their name.

Imagine how much your cash flow would improve if all your customers bought once more from you each year or quarter. You would be steps closer to your financial goals!

So here’s a note to leave you with… Have a good think about creating products and services that encourage clients to buy off you more often. Then be sure to proactively trigger more purchases.  It is a great way to build your business more quickly.

Need help brainstorming some ideas? Click here or call me today on (02) 9146 4439 to book an appointment with one of our coaches.

Till next time…

“Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back…”

conversion rate

Improve your conversion rate with these 5 simple tips!

Are you frustrated with how many of your leads never turn into customers? That is a quite common stress for small business owners. You’re doing all the marketing activities you planned, and are sticking to your target market, but why isn’t your customer base growing?! Unfortunately, the businesses who experience this challenge more than often ‘wing’ their sales process and hope for the best. I am here to tell you… that isn’t good enough! If you want to see a great conversion rate, you must build, follow and track a documented sales process.

“Conversion” is the percentage of leads which actually end up becoming clients. So I want you to think about this… of everyone who calls you, or walks into your shop, how many end up buying something? By tracking your conversion, you are already one step forward to increasing it! Once you understand your current conversion rate, it is time to start improving it.

There are around 80 different strategies that can be used to improve your conversion rate. Out of those, here are my favourites:

  1. Sales Process: When you get a lead, do you follow a clear, step-by-step process through which you lead your prospects? A sales process allows you to interact with your leads in a way that builds trust, that identifies their needs and that communicates the right messages at the right time. As well as this, by implementing a sales process you are able to track the stage that your leads are at, and measure the success of your process, allowing you to recognise the biggest areas of improvement. Many may think that constructing a sales process is a timely task, however it is not only among the cheapest ways to improve your conversion but you will also save time as through converting prospects in the most efficient way possible.
  2. Sales Scripts: A sales discussion consists of a number of important sections including the opening, the questioning, and the close. Many business owners believe that they are skilled enough not to follow a script. However, many of those business owners have not tested nor measured the response from script use. If a script is not used, how can you ensure that you employ rapport-building and persuasion techniques? Following a sales script not only allows you to feel in more control, but ensures that you are getting the most out of your sales discussion. Furthermore, this is the only way you will ever get multiple sales people all converting prospects at a rate that will truly grow your business. And once again, it requires little-no cost, saves time and increases your conversion success.
  3. USP: Your Unique Selling Proposition should be clear, tangible and differentiated. You want to give your prospects complete clarity about how their lives will improve as a result of working with you. If your USP does not communicate this, it is time to make some adjustments. After all, prospects become more emotionally interested when they are told about how it will help THEM.
  4. Guarantee: Now that you have a clear, tangible and differentiated USP, is it backed up by an effective guarantee? A common factor contributing to losing a potential customer is the prospects fear of making a wrong decision. How do you overcome this, you ask? Give them a guarantee that makes them feel safe and confident in buying from you! With an effective guarantee, they won’t have a reason to say no!
  5. Testimonials: As technology expands, prospects look for reasons to buy through researching the internet. So take advantage of it! Are your prospects receiving sufficient evidence of the quality of your products or services, of how many people are using them and just how much they have benefited from them? Make it a process and ask your current clients to make a testimonial following their purchase. You will be surprised as to how much it impacts a prospects buying decision.

Whilst these are my personal favourite conversion strategies, there are countless more that may fit into your business better.

Any lead who has failed to turn into a customer has used up some of your time, effort and money… so why not increase your conversion rate with simple, easy, and cost-effective strategies! Can you afford to have a low conversion rate?

Click here to register for a FREE 1 on 1 meeting with our very own coach, or call me today on 9146 4439 to discuss the best strategies for your business!

Here’s a thought to keep in mind…

“Every touch point in your sales process is an opportunity to delight…”

marketing plan

Get your marketing plan into shape with these 5 easy strategies!

Have you ever felt like your marketing activities just aren’t generating enough profits for your business, so you just give up on them? Or do you pause your marketing plan in order to save more money? Well consider this…

…If you put an end to your marketing plan, will you really save money? Yes, you will… in the way that stopping your wristwatch saves time. In other words, don’t kid yourself.

A marketing plan needs to be clear, simple, and most of all, consistent. Then you have to actually stick to it and, rather than halting its use, update it and make it better. If you let it go after 3 months of not seeing any results, you are guaranteeing that you’ll never see results.

Most business owners think that you must be a marketing guru to generate and implement a strong and profitable marketing plan. Well this should be music to your ears… there are only 5 key areas of marketing and sales that you need to focus on to build your business!

Over the next few months, I will cover each key area in detail. Here is a summary to start your journey to becoming your own marketing guru:

Number of leads – This area is all about how many potential clients you attract. Unfortunately, being unable to generate leads is one of the main reasons that so many small businesses fail in the first few years. The lead generating strategies we will teach you are both simple and mind-blowingly effective.

Conversion rate – Now that you are generating enough leads, how many of them do you convert into clients? Many business owners ‘wing’ the sales process and hope for the best. If that’s you, how is that going for your business? Having a detailed sales strategy will not only improve your conversion rate, but make it much more reliable.

Number of transactions – How many times a year do your clients buy from you? Increase this frequency by devising the ways you can encourage past clients to buy from your more often. Think about this… your existing customers already like what you do, which makes it about six times easier and cheaper to get a past customer to buy again than to acquire a new one! Get brainstorming!

Average dollar sale – How much do clients spend with you each time they buy? Imagine what would happen if you increased the value of each sale by 10%. That’s not a big jump, but it makes a big difference. By executing only one well-implemented price increase strategy, you could make a big difference to the bottom line.

Margins – What is the gross or net margin your business achieves? Improving your margin is one of the quickest way to improve your cash flow. Our clients are often left shocked when they learn that this, the easiest part of a marketing and sales plan, is the fastest and least costly to implement and will have the most immediate impact.

If you are thinking ‘this is too much to work on right now’, remember that all you need is a slight 15% improvement in each area, and that will be sufficient to double your profit! These 5 areas provide you with more than 350 different strategies to explore. All that’s left for you to do is to select the ones that are right for you, implement them effectively, and watch your business soar.

If you feel like you are investing in expensive marketing; that being, marketing which you do not receive a profit from, and just aren’t seeing the return, join one of our coaches for a coffee to discuss the ways in which we can help you.

Can you afford any more expensive marketing? Register here or call us today on (02) 9146 4439.

In my next blog, I will dive deeper into Lead generation and share with you my favourite strategies which will help you increase the number of quality leads attracted by your business. Till then, here’s a thought to take with you…

“…Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans”

cash flow

Take your cash flow on a date and get to know it a bit better

Now that you have set your goals and are planning out your days, weeks, months and years to achieve those goals, it is time you become a master of your money. Money mastery is not necessarily about making a lot of money. It’s about knowing where your cash flow comes from and where it’s going.

In the end, your financials will tell the story of your business, just like reading a novel…. what sort of novel would yours be?  A drama?  A comedy?  A horror???

To discover your level of Money Mastery, consider these questions:

  1. Do you have a monthly profit and loss statement that you review? Is it understandable?
  2. Do you have a weekly cash flow forecast that looks at least 3 months ahead?
  3. Is your balance sheet up to date?
  4. Do you know what your breakeven point is each month, week or day?
  5. Is your cash gap under control?
  6. Do you issue invoices quickly? And follow them up quickly?

If you answered anything other than yes to any one of those questions, then you don’t know your money well enough. It is easy to form bad money habits early on in business, when there isn’t much money to deal with. Business owners often learn that managing cash flow and income only gets harder as the business grows…and, unfortunately, they often learn it the hard way – when they have a money disaster! But larger cash flow is not the cause of your money problems. It is purely due to the way you approach your finances.

Many business owners are mistakenly under the belief that more money means more headaches, but they’re the business owners who haven’t set the right foundations in place or mastered their money activity early on. But it’s simple!

It personally takes me a total of 10 minutes per Monday morning to update my weekly cash flow forecast. This means that I only invest 10 minutes per week to update and understand what my cash flow in the business will look like for the next 3 months, allowing me to identify possible issues and to make the most of my cash balances too! Do you have a spare 10 minutes to spend a week?

According to American Psychological Association, more than 70% of Americans consider themselves financially stressed.

Join the minority and become a Master of your Money by booking a FREE 1-on-1 consultation with one of our very own Business Coaches who have helped several businesses gain complete control of the money flowing in and out of their business.

My next blog will be posted in 2 weeks, and will teach you the secrets to how to get raving fans, but till then, here is a thought to take with you…

…“If you expect your money to take care of you, you must take care of your money.”

business systems and processes

Use business systems and processes to build a business that works without you there

It’s already a little late for New Year’s resolutions, but do you always promise yourself to work smarter, not harder on January 1 and then feel you never achieve this at the end of each year? Don’t worry, you’re not alone by any stretch. The reassuring news is that there is a way. Have your cake and eat it too during business hours by implementing business systems and processes.

It’s normal to want your business to succeed (and often the thinking is that it’s then you can relax) but smart business owners learn to cleverly incorporate business systems and processes to achieve this goal far quicker.

The key to business success is to combine a profit-making strategy with a vision of personal fulfilment, meaning that the business generates profits while the business owner is enjoying life elsewhere – and this involves relaxing!

So what’s the best way to achieve this? We know from experience that some of our clients achieve this in mere months. We will examine the steps necessary to get there.

The first three steps are about vision, mission and culture. For the vision, answer in just one sentence;    why does your business exist? Your mission goes into more detail about who you are as a business.  The culture covers something essential; that your staff know a set of values in line with what you want from your business.

Another step is about being SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, a Result and Time-scaled). Think about your goals for the business and where it’s headed, and use them to set the compass direction. Plan clear….and make sure your team members have theirs clear too.

This next step is one business owners often overlookhaving an organisation chart might sound obvious, but it is surprising how many businesses don’t have one in place. Does everyone working for you know their reporting chain? Your chart should provide clarity around each person’s role in the company and what they’re accountable for.

It’s astonishing really, how many companies don’t have procedures set out for their business, let alone having manuals in place to show people how they work.  If the knowledge is in your head or in the head of a few key people in the business what happens if they are no longer there?

All these steps lead to a final one, and in some respects it’s the most critical. That’s the implementation of management systems, it’s the glue that holds it all together. This is a detailed and vital step (it’s the one that will finally give you more time for yourself). You can read more about it in our eBook on Making Your Business Work without You Being There.

Rest assured, if you invest in the steps briefly outlined here you will be able to grow your business so it can work well without you there.

Do you want to have your best year in business in 2017?  Speak with one of our business coaches today.

 

unique-selling-proposition

Is your Unique Selling Proposition strong, clear and effective?

You will have heard the saying “it’s a jungle out there” and never more so these days than in business which is why you need to determine: is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) strong, clear and effective?

When you are trying to work out your Unique Selling Proposition, a helpful process is to think about it in relation to your competition within your industry or another comparable industry which is making impressive inroads in the market. There are many questions you can ask to determine how strong it is, whether you need to make it stronger and how to best articulate that.

These questions cover a number of important areas and considerations for your business goals and they include: your competition; industry trends; perceived standards in sales and marketing; your average customer now and in the future; what problems do they have that you can solve; what particular capabilities your business has; and so on.

When you think of your competition, for example, who are your main three? What do they do well and what’s unique about them? What do they do poorly? How do you separate your USP from them? What is the perceived standard of customer service in your industry? What do you guarantee about your service? What would customers have said about your business 12 months ago? What would they say today?

What you are trying to achieve with your Unique Selling Proposition is to stand out from your competition in a way that is specific, tangible and of value to your target segments.

It’s actually not that difficult to get your business into shape, it does take a bit of time and forethought, though. To build yourself a bigger or better business there are only five key areas of marketing and sales   you need to focus on. While we won’t be examining all of them in this blog, having a strong Unique Selling Proposition is key to all five of them.

Another great question to ask in defining your Unique Selling Proposition is: what is the one thing that if you could guarantee it, would make you the market leader? It is an excellent question and one that goes to the heart of finessing your USP. After all, isn’t part of this process working out what makes your customers come to you rather than another business?

 

To find out more about what makes your business different and the many sales and marketing activities that will help you grow your business, download this free eBook called Working with your Niche so you don’t have to compete on price here.

time-management-tools

4 Time Management Tools to help you work 10 fewer hours each week

Want to get some time back for yourself, but afraid that your business’ productivity or profits will suffer?
We hear this from so many business owners who don’t have the strategies or time management tools to confidently step away and enjoy some free time to recharge or think about their next business idea.

Ironically and unfortunately, most business owners are so busy making a living that they do not have time to really make a significant amount of money. But surely you didn’t leave your old job, take risks and devote your time to building a business only to earn yourself a monthly wage by working harder than you ever have before? So let’s find you some free time.

ActionCOACH is highly experienced in assisting business owners to work less and make more. Here are four time management tools anyone can use to make more money in less time.

Tool One: Fire Extraneous Customers

Customers who are a waste of time are like shoplifters who specialize in stealing our valuable time. We need to get rid of them or transform them into paying customers. You know who they are. The ones who don’t pay their invoices on time, never stop complaining or can’t be satisfied, those who tie up sales reps, customer service personnel, supervisors, and managers.

How do you get rid of them? You can either delete dead-end leads from the client database or send selected clients to a more appropriate business that matches their price demands.

Also consider whether you need to eliminate the magnets that are attracting those unwanted customers in the first place. Freebies for signing up might be a great plan for attracting new business, but might not be attracting your ideal customer. Remember, profit is the goal and the most important barometer of success.

Tool Two: Double the Conversion Rates of Transactions

The key to increasing profits is to convert unprofitable interactions into profitable ones. While most people crawl toward retirement on the same income, increasing profits in a business can be done in a matter of days or weeks. To prepare for a profit-boosting initiative, gather accounting data and metrics to get a clear picture of where profits come from, how many contacts are made with customers each month, and how many customers make actual purchases. Next, launch a marketing and advertising push in order to generate new customer leads, encourage existing customers to buy more, and to promote the most profitable products or services in the inventory. Let’s look at an example of this business tool in action: Assume that the business is open 40 hours per week, or approximately 160 hours per month.

To gain 10 hours per week (or take 10 hours off without losing money) it is necessary to reap 40 hours’ worth of extra profits per month (10 hours a week times 4 weeks = 40 hours). One week is 25 percent of a 4-week month. So to gain 10 hours per week it is therefore necessary to increase conversion rates – in other words, sales and profits – by a mere 25 percent. Do this by attracting more customers; by making an extra quarter of profit margin on each dollar in sales, or by lowering overhead by 25 percent.

Apply enough effort and energy to the task and it is possible to double profits in a single month. Then an entrepreneur can afford to take an entire week off every month.

Step Three: Run Businesses on Autopilot

Now the business owner has enviable options. One possibility is to close down the business for 10 hours each week, take time off, and settle for making the same amount of money per month that was generated before boosting profits by 25 percent. Another alternative, however, is for the clever entrepreneur to leverage that newfound success for progressive changes and forward momentum. They will maintain the same hours of operation, capture the extra 25 percent in profits, and then wisely reinvest those profits in greater time saving initiatives.

By working smarter, not harder, through organized systems, cutting-edge technology, innovative advertising, and dynamic employee training, the entrepreneur can prepare to put the business into the hands of capable others – which is the next step toward personal freedom. Bill Gates became the richest man in America not by making computer software, but by inventing a system for selling software around the world without having to be physically involved in each of the transactions.

Those who keep enhancing that approach and applying that kind of formula are soon retired from the business completely with a steady stream of monthly income to live on, invest in new ventures, spend on hobbies and vacations, and fulfil lifelong dreams.

Tool Four: Activate the Passive Mode of Making Money

Most people work an entire lifetime to accumulate enough assets and savings to let them enjoy passive income. Many work a lifetime and still don’t achieve it, so they are never truly free to retire or do whatever they please. Real success and wealth is only realized by those whose money works overtime for them to generate passive income. When investments and businesses are generating positive cash flow and net profits, they add to one’s bank account constantly and continually.

But you need free time (start with the extra 10 hours per week) to expand profit centres, open new businesses, sell them for a profit, and launch into other investments. The key to early retirement or rapid wealth is to build passive income throughout life, rather than trying to simply accumulate a portfolio of assets. If passive income is there, then the potential to acquire assets is made possible.

Putting it All Together: Time and Money with More of Both to Spare

Enjoying one’s ideal lifestyle becomes a fulltime occupation, thanks to the fact that it is possible to easily work 10 hours less each week without giving up productivity or income. Repeat the formula and reap 20 free hours a week. Double that and soon the nine-to-five schedule of most workers becomes transformed into 40 liberated hours of free time each week. Using the four tools outlined above will allow you to quickly reach full time retirement with plenty of money for a pleasurable and rewarding lifestyle spent with family and friends.

More information on time management tools can be found in our eBook called The Real Guide to Productive and Effective Time Management Skills here.

For advice unique to your business circumstances, call ActionCOACH today, on 02 9146 4439.

Build your dream team: the secret to attracting and retaining talent.

Brilliant people don’t just appear in your office one morning and start working perfectly in your business. It takes some skill and a proven process for attracting and retaining talent (great talent!). Rest assured, you don’t need an HR degree or a great deal of recruiting experience to attract a winning team. ActionCOACH has a five-hour recruitment process that will bring in the talent but first you need to ensure that your business is one that will appeal to great talent – they have to be attracted to work there and to stay there!

Why must a business be attractive to talent?

Good or bad, the people you get and retain are the people you deserve! And, if you want a great business, that doesn’t depend on you being there all the time, then you need a winning team.  The more work you put into becoming really good at recruiting and retaining talent, the better the result will be for you and your business. Never underestimate the potential of a team that works well together towards your company vision… especially if they can do it while you’re on a beach somewhere with no internet access.

Six keys to a winning team that will attract and retain talent:

Key Element One – Strong Leadership. Your Team will look to you for guidance, growth, decisions and development. No matter which leadership style you have; strive to hand out praise, champion the team’s new ideas, teach people, make timely decisions, listen to your team and be enthusiastic about the business. These are the actions common to history’s successful business leaders.

Key Element Two – Common Goals. The company Vision, Mission and Goals should be shared with everyone in your team (new and existing). Before anyone signs up to a job, they want to know what they are getting involved with, what you and the business stands for and how you are all going to reach the said objectives. When recruiting team members – whether from inside the business or from outside – the vision statement is emphasized, explained, and delved into at great length.

Key Element Three – Rules of the Game. When it comes to business operations, employees and teams are often left in the dark about what they are actually required to do! Just like a professional football team has a playbook which defines the boundaries and areas of measurable responsibility for each team member – your business also needs a rule book so they know their unique and specialised roles, and the team keeps winning.

Key Element Four – Action Plan. Everyone in your team needs an action plan for success. Give each person a title, a job description, KPI’s and a clear plan for their success. Explain how others will support them in their role. Supporting the team with tools, training, technology, and systems ensures that the talent stays motivated, and means the owner or entrepreneur can run the business without being run by the business.

Key Element Five – Support Risk Taking. If you are not open to some degree of healthy risk-taking within your business, it is almost impossible for your team to succeed. Every new product, new way of marketing, new niche or internal business process seems too risky… until it works. To build effective teams in your business, led by example, and be open to change, calculated risk and new ideas.

Key Element Six – 100% Involvement and Inclusion.  The best teams have everyone in the team doing their job and doing it well.  Sometimes, team members even need to go ‘above and beyond’ their exact role.  It’s a wonderful experience to work in a team where everyone really does deliver to their responsibilities and just a little more beyond.  Make sure, as the leader, that you’re inclusive in your management style and also make sure that individual team members actively involve themselves – this is a two-way street!

How will I know when I have a great team?

The end result of a successful team is synergy. This means that the sum of teamwork is greater than the separate parts of the team. In business terms, this means that the return on an investment is greater than the contributions made to that investment. People have innate chemistry. If we combine that natural chemistry one way we get an explosive, disastrous outcome from opposite polarity. Combine it in another way and we get increased energy, vitality, and success from magical magnetism.

Register to Attend our Free Workshop

6 Steps to Building a Better Business

The five steps to ensuring your business plan is an effective one

When you’re starting a new business, there are probably many things that you are really good at. After all, passion and talent are what spark most business ideas. You might be really good at selling, really creative, or can spot the latest trends a mile off. Conversely, one of the things most new business owners are not great at is creating a business plan. But there is no getting around it – a business plan is a necessary tool for success. MOST businesses fail without a plan, and some will still fail if they have written a plan that’s not effective. Its ok, writing a business plan is something anyone can get better at, with a little help.

We’ve made it somewhat easier to get familiar with how to create the most effective business plan that will set you up for success and give you the confidence to handle anything that comes along during setup or operation.

 

Here are our top five steps to ensure your business plan is effective:

  1. Start with the end in mind, and outline your end goals first. This might be the early retirement or the house deposit. Think big! Then following from that end goal, decide your goal(s) for the financial year. They must be SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, a Result and Time-scaled).
  2. Make sure your SMART goals are exciting to you and don’t conflict with one another nor with where you’re heading longer term or in other parts of life. The last thing you want to do is work hard all year, achieve all of your goals and then realize you don’t really care about them or that they were not aligned with your longer term goals.
  3. Outline the smaller steps needed to reach your goals. These should be steps that are small enough to achieve (which gives you confidence) but big enough to make a positive leap forward toward the overall plan. For example, ‘complete marketing plan’ is very broad, and not specific enough to know the time or steps needed to get it done. With large tasks like this, break them down into smaller bite sized chunks!
  4. Ensure the plan is realistic. Have you considered holidays, conferences and other things that might “get in the way” of doing the actions in your plan? Have you listed too many tasks for one time, which means you’re unlikely to be able to complete them all? You need to be able to look at the steps in the plan, as well as their timing, and feel a reasonable level of confidence that they can all be completed. Your business plan should make you feel excited, not overwhelmed!
  5. Ensure that you can track and monitor the progress of every goal within your plan. To do this, ensure that each and every step in the plan is SMAT (different to SMART). That is, Specific, Measurable (so you can see when each step is completed), Achievable and have Time allocated to them. In an annual plan, this will typically be monthly.  In a 90-Day Plan, weekly.

Our clients who have used these recommended five steps when creating a business plan, have grown in confidence, reduced their ‘entrepreneurial anxiety’, set goals and planned for success. You can too.

If you are starting out or trying to grow a relatively new business, here are some of the components of business that ActionCOACH can help you with:

Business planning, goal setting, time management, sales and marketing, increasing leads, improving conversion, implementing systems, building a great team, effective leadership, financial control, cash flow techniques and preparing your business for sale.

ActionCOACH is here ready to help! Please get in touch with our coaches on 02 9146 4439 or download a copy of the new eBook Planning for a successful new financial year here.

time-management-and-planning

How Time Management and Planning go Hand in Hand

We all know that time management is an essential part of running a successful business, and without a doubt, one of the keys to successful time management is planning. Planning your time is crucial if you want to be more productive, get more done in less time and achieve your goals, no matter how large or small. This is true for all areas of your life, not just in business.

Why is planning your time so vital?

Making a plan and sticking to it has many benefits; important tasks won’t be forgotten, you’ll use your time more efficiently and you’ll be less frazzled with everything you need to do in a day. Of course it’s only possible if you know what you should spend your time on and that means that a good plan is a necessary pre-requisite to being able to manage your time properly.

Planning also includes a couple of psychological benefits. Two of these are that having a clear plan and managing it:

  1. Gives you a sense of being in control – this gives you confidence and reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed. It reduces your stress levels and lets you think more clearly.
  2. Highlights the progress you’re making – you can tick off the steps to move towards your goals.

Being in control and making progress towards a goal are strong human motivators. You’ll be more organised, will achieve more in the same amount of time and you’ll be far less likely to procrastinate (a major productivity killer!).

How to ensure your plan works for you

When you’re putting your plan together, be sure to:

  1. Start with the end first

The goals you set need to be SMART ones – that is, Specific, Measureable, Achievable, a Result and Time-scaled. You won’t know where you’re headed unless you look at the finish line and work backwards.

  1. Make sure your goals are exciting to you

Do your goals excite you, and are they aligned with your long term goals? If not, you’ll find it hard to stick to a plan.

  1. Use as many steps as necessary

Outline the steps needed to achieve your goal. This makes the overall goal more manageable and structured.

  1. Make sure the steps are realistic

Including too many things to work on at once, or not leaving yourself enough time is going to be a goal killer. Look at the steps in your plan and determine whether they can realistically all be achieved in the time you’ve allowed.

  1. Monitor your progress

Make sure each step is SMAT – specific, measurable, achievable and has time allocated. It’s similar to SMART goals, yet because they are just steps in a plan, they are not each a result.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” so with this in mind, start planning today! For more information about time management and planning, download your free eBook “The Real Guide to Effective Time Management” here.