New Year, New You.
You’re determined 2017 is going to be different. It’s going to be the breakthrough year.
The year when you finally smash your goals.
You’ve made all the resolutions, set all the objectives, so let’s go for it right?
First day back
It’s the first day back at work and reality dawns.
The inbox is full of belated best wishes for the festive season, interspersed with the first bills of the new year (note to self – always ask for bills to be dated 3rd Friday of the month so the first day of January isn’t so depressing).
You desperately search for signs of orders, but nobody’s been buying over the holiday – at least not your stuff.
All of a sudden, those 2017 targets and goals seem a lot further away and if you are not careful, January will be gone in the blink of an eye and you’ll only have 11 months to achieve them. Well, ten and half really because everything stops mid-way through December.
Don’t get depressed
To paraphrase an often quoted saying, I’m not saying this to depress you, but to IMPRESS upon you, that it doesn’t have to be that way.
You can have a New Year, New You, but it takes a bit of realism and action to achieve it. None of us have developed super powers over Christmas that have transformed us from the business person we were to a combination of Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Alan Sugar. That sort of instant transformational change just doesn’t happen.
But with a bit of planning and determination, a gradual, incremental change can. And that is how your 2017 goals will be achieved. Not in January in one big bang, but incrementally, month by month throughout the year.
A realistic plan
Most plans that I see business owners create are idealistic rather than realistic. They set out what they would like to achieve, often ignoring the reality of business life. As a consequence they start to fall behind the plan quite quickly and become disillusioned with the whole process.
So the reality of week 1 for 2017 is most likely that there will be a lot of cr@p to sort out. So put sorting it out as the number 1 task in the plan. Attack it with gusto and get it dealt with. Clear the decks within the first day or so that the rest of the week, and then the rest of the month become clear.
The number 2 task is to set up (or refresh if you already have one) your default diary. These are the regular diary entries for activities you need to do to grow your business and hit your 2017 objectives. Here’s a screenshot of mine for mid-February.
There are no client meetings or client work activities booked in, just activities and time slots for me to work ON my business rather than IN my business. In my example,
The Hub meetings are aa combination of networking, business promotion and personal development and the connections meetings are networking sessions. These are important for me as they keep me in touch with my target market – other small businesses.
The 90 minutes sessions are the key to driving my business. I separately plan out what I am going to work on in my daily 90 minute sessions 1-3 weeks in advance. Here’s my 90 minutes plan for the first week in January:
- Monday – Write Motorhome Heaven website copy (I know – it was a bank holiday, but we need to get the website live)
- Tuesday – 1st draft of content for Customer Avatar module for LinkedIn Mastery programme
- Wednesday – Finalise content Customer Avatar module for LinkedIn Mastery programme
- Thursday – follow up old leads
- Friday – Weekly engagement e-mail and blog post for next Tuesday
This 90 Minutes plan is a mixture of stuff to develop new business opportunities (Motorhome Heaven website and Customer Avatar module of the LinkedIn Mastery programme) which will deliver my longer term 2017 goals, immediate business generation (follow up on old leads), and keeping me front of mind with my target customers (engagement e-mail and blog post).
Your plan needs to deal with today’s reality and then have a similar mix of tasks that will:
- Deliver stuff to move you towards your longer term objectives
- Deliver immediate business
- Keep you front of mind in your target market
By setting aside chunks of time each day to work on something specific that will deliver against one of the three points above, you will move your business forward every single day, one step at a time. If you do this and then look back in three months’ time, you’ll see the impact has been transformational. Transformation through increments.
A lasting change that keeps on giving
Making this change to how you manage your diary – your time – and starting to regularly work on your business is a change that will keep on giving. It keeps on delivering benefits to your business and to you. You’ll find you have more time because you are planning and delivering the important stuff that will deliver your goals first, rather than trying to squeeze things into marginal time, the evenings or weekends.
Another change you should consider making very early in 2017 is how you use LinkedIn.
Most business owners have a LinkedIn profile, often a left-over from a previous corporate life. They read just like an outdated cv and do nothing for their business.
The problem is LinkedIn is not like Facebook or Twitter so business owners struggle to understand how to use it effectively. That’s great news for the business owners that are prepared to find out how to use LinkedIn, because they can steal a march on their competitors. They can do things their competitors can only dream of.
Two key aspects to success with LinkedIn
First and foremost, LinkedIn is a professional networking site so you should have a powerful profile that clearly demonstrates your expertise and authority in your filed of business. That way when a potential client, supplier or employee checks you out on LinkedIn, your already over half way to convincing them to do business with you before you have even met them.
Once you have that powerful profile, you can then go prospecting. Because LinkedIn is populated with people’s CVs, and CVs are stuffed with keywords about their jobs, roles and responsibilities, it’s very easy to find potential clients. With LinkedIn’s powerful search engine you can search not just by keyword, but also by industry, role, location and much more.
What’s more, all those great existing clients you have are probably connected to former colleagues and contacts in the same line of business at other companies. So connect with your clients and you will have an instant insight into a wealth on potential new clients, especially if you get your clients to add a recommendation to you profile.
The LinkedIn Mastery programme that I mention in the planning section above is a 5 week programme where I help my clients create that powerful personal profile then use it to prospect for new clients that tightly fit their target market.
Revamping your profile and learning the process is a one-off task and if you then build using the process into you 90 Minutes plan – it only needs a 30 minute slot once a week – it’s a task that will continue to pay dividends throughout 2017 and beyond.
There are group and 1:2:1 options for the programme and some January special offers if you act fast. Follow the links below to find out more:
Using LinkedIn properly could be the one action you take that does enable you to smash your 2017 goals. In 5 weeks, 5 incremental steps, you could transform the way you find and win new clients. Click on the links now.