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Most days I take the same route home and pass by an Extended Care facility that has a large sign beside the road. I’m not sure when, but I started to notice that the board had very interesting little sayings or suggestions on a regular basis. Last month the message was “A goal without a plan is just a wish”.
Over the next couple of days, I kept thinking about this saying and realized that I have been wishing for a lot of things in my life and business. Now that I’m on the north side of 50, I find myself thinking about “freedom 55”. It’s now one of those things that has become a wish, instead of a goal. I never took the time to actually sit down to understand where I was in my financial life and develop a great plan to achieve this goal. Oh well, I can always buy a lottery ticket right?
In business, I often come across companies or sales leaders that are proud to tell me that they are going to grow their business by 20% this year. When you probe to find out how they are going to get there, you start to hear things like, “the economy has turned around and we’ll get our fair share” or “my staff is going to work harder” or my favorite “because that is what my target is”.
It’s unfortunately the rare owner/manager that can pull out a clear, concise plan that systematically outlines not only the activities they are going to be doing, but also assigns specific responsibilities and has clear Key Business Indicators (KBI), whether that be a ratio or dollar value that they can easily check to see if they are on track or not. They also have built in flexibility to change directions as conditions change. These are the planners, not just the wishers.
A lot of people and companies do strategic/sales plans for the year but then leave them to gather dust in a drawer. In that case, they really have a strategic wish, not a plan. I know that I’ve started to be much better at being able to develop clear plans for the week, quarter, and year so that I can hit my goals for the year (and maybe get a little closer to early retirement)!
You may be wondering what the latest sign says. Well it brought a smile to my face – “Spring – it’s nature’s way of saying let’s party”. Can’t wait for the next one.