By Robyn Lee
Nothing compares to working from home. When we think about working from home, visions of spending more time with children, two-hour lunches, and occasional trips to our favorite coffee shop with our laptop usually pop into our head. Everything seems to work out perfectly because “you are your own boss.”
We tend to think less about what makes a business work. It is called an action plan. Having an action plan should be the #1 step in your plan.
I know all too well, about how much fun, going with the flow can be. And usually going with the flow means doing all the fun things in our business and kind of forgetting about, or procrastinating when it comes to tasks that take some real thought or will take our business to new heights. And let’s just face it, the actual task of planning can be overwhelming! And isn’t there more pressing things to do than to actually construct a plan?
If you have ever worked for a successful company, one thing that was always present was a good plan. In fact, you were part of their plan. Your job was created to help complete the goals for the company.
So why is an action plan so important?
I remember when they first built the Target Store in our neighborhood. I would drive by and see a huge red sign that said, “Coming In March 2008”. At that time it was the mid-year year, 2007.
When I saw that sign, I would always think, “What will be built in my life by March 2008?” I started to think about the detailed plans that had to be followed each day leading up to March 2008 for the end result to be an operating Target Store in March 2008. They would have to hire employees, buy merchandise, put up store fixtures, plan a grand opening, etc..
Every time I passed the sign, I just thought about where I would be March 2008. Well, eventually 2008 came, and little had changed in my life besides there being a new place to shop in the neighborhood, Target. And I wondered why.
I soon realized that I had not written down any plans of my own to reach my goals or even noted down what my actual goals were! Life had kept on moving, and people and corporations with plans continued to reach their goals.
The world didn’t stop and wait for me to create an action plan.
Have you ever gone to the grocery store without a list? Chances are that you picked up a bunch of things you didn’t need and maybe left out a thing or two that was crucial to your recipe.
Just like a pre-written grocery list serves the purpose of keeping you focused on the right items and keeping you on a budget, an effective plan will serve as a guide to make sure you are on track to reaching your business and financial goals.
Planning neither has to be boring or take long hours.
Here are three strategies to help you plan effectively and to make it fun:
1. Decide What You Want
The first step in planning is deciding what you want. What do you want your result to be? Write a list on a peice of paper of what results you want for your business. Do you want 5,000 followers on Pinterest in the next six months? Do you want a 30% increase in your income? Whatever it is, write it down. These are your goals.
Remember: Do not overwhelm yourself. Start small and achieve smaller goals which will give you the confidence to achieve your larger goals.
2. Write Down Action Steps
For each result you have written down, write down 3 – 5 action steps that can be taken to achieve the goal. For example, if your goal is to build your email list to 3,000 subscribers in the next three months, your action steps might be to create a free giveaway for new subscribers or to ask followers from your twitter to join your mailing list.
3. Make Your List Visible
Post your goals list somewhere you can see it regularly. I have mine posted right above my desk, so I can frequently view them to make sure I am on track. Be creative, take out a magic marker and poster board and write your goals in large letters and decorate it. This is not just for fun and games. When you can see your goals frequently, you can stay focused on what you want. Copy your action steps into a binder that you often use, so you are never twiddling your thumbs trying to figure out what to do next. You will have an ongoing to-do list to work from to reach your goals.
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Robyn Lee is a romantic relationships blogger living in Chicago, IL. She has owned her online relationship business for 2 years and has provided helpful information to thousands of women on how to attract men and how to maintain positive and healthy relationships with the opposite sex.