I’m the first to encourage you to set goals and get your goals written down, but without a clear action plan, your goals are likely to remain incomplete.
A clear action plan is at the heart of consistently achieving your goals.
So let’s start off with goal setting.
SETTING EFFECTIVE BUSINESS GOALS
There is no one way to set yourself effective business goals. You really need to find a way that works for you, but I do want to share a few tips with you to help.
Keep your Goals Simple This in no way means small goals. I’m all for big goals. What I mean by this is make sure you clearly know what your goal is. Vague goals get vague results.
Write your goals down. I’m a firm believer that goals that are written down and focused on (not just written down never to be looked at again) get done.
Set SMART goals Specific – Measurable – Achievable – Realistic – Time-Based. For me specific and measurable are the most important. A good clear goal with a completion point is essential. If it’s not measurable, you never know when you’ve actually achieved your goal.
Break your big goals down into bite-sized goals. So many people get so overwhelmed with a big goal, that they don’t take any action to move closer to achieving the goal. Breaking the goal down into small chunks makes tackling the goal much, much easier.
If you struggle to set goals and achieve them. Check out my online Goal Setting for Business Success Course
Okay, so let’s get onto the Action plan.
A CLEAR ACTION PLAN TO HELP YOU ACHIEVE YOUR BUSINESS GOALS
Take your goal and write it down at the top of a sheet of paper or do it in a word document.
Next, brainstorm using this question. “What action do I need to take to achieve this goal?”
Take the action plan through from start to finish.
A good example of this is writing a book.
This is a very basic action plan (the reality of writing a book is a little more detailed)
- Decide what you will write about
- Plan out the book in sections/chapters
- Write your author bio
- Write the back of the book blurb
- Write each section of the book
- Edit first draft…
Or a smaller goal of writing a blog post.
- Decide on topic
- Decide on title
- Write the post
- Add image
- Check SEO
- Add a category and tags
- Edit and reread
Now this is a small goal, but I often talk to people who want to blog on a regular basis, but put this off for weeks, months… Never get it done.
When you have an action plan with clear things you need to do, it takes away the overwhelm and each action can be done in a shorter time.
Of course, your action plan will depend on your own specific business goals.
One of my big goals for this year is to make my blog more profitable. I intend to be making £1,500 per month from the blog by the end of the year. Now that’s not just going to happen by accident. I know to make that happen I need an action plan.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU CAN’T SEE THE BIG PICTURE
I often get people saying to me that they can’t see the big picture and they don’t know what they will need to do to achieve their big goal. That’s okay. Here’s what to do.
Ask these two questions.
- What can I do this week to move me closer to achieving my goal?
- What can I do right now to move me closer to achieving my goal?
Seriously, these are powerful questions.
When you consistently ask these questions of yourself, you will find ways to achieve your goals.
WITHOUT AN ACTION PLAN
Without an action plan, you almost ask to fail and you leave yourself wide open to distractions and procrastination.
Now I’m the world’s worst for getting distracted. In fact, when I used to run a private nursery school (my first managerial job), my boss said “The reason I was so good at the job was that I got bored before the kids did.”
I have a head full of great ideas and used to find it difficult to complete things because I wasn’t focused and didn’t have clear goals or an action plan.
I’d move onto the next idea before I ever got around to completing anything. Now anyone in a successful business will tell you that’s not good business sense.
So for me, it’s effective goal setting and a clear action plan all the way.
So what about you. Do you struggle to achieve your goals? Do you have an action plan already in place? If not, are you going to follow my tips and give it a try?
I’d also love to hear your own tips for goal setting, creating an action plan and actually achieving your business goals.
by Terilee Harrison
Successful people are always looking for new ways to grow their business. What works today may not work tomorrow! Here are 5 powerful ways to grow your business now:
- Visit a Referral Network Meeting
Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective, low cost ways to grow your business. Referrals are an effective way to grow your business, and they are a fun way to do business as well. When you visit a quality referral network meeting like TEAM Referral Network, you will give a one-minute commercial about your business and be able to pass out your business cards to the other members.
- Get Involved in your Local Chamber
You need to join a great local Chapter and become INVOLVED! To get started, attend a networking breakfast, lunch or mixer. When you attend, tale your business cards.
- Visit a Service Club
Do you love to give back to your community? Consider joining a Service Club. Participate in a Service Club First. The referrals will come later. Service Clubs are not necessarily about networking to grow your business, but there are amazing, giving individuals there who own businesses. These are some of the people you want to get to know and build a relationship with. People want to support their other Service Club members.
- Attend a Business Workshop
- Follow Up. Follow Up. Follow Up.
How are you doing on your follow up with your current and prospective clients? There is always room for improvement, right? Doing better on your follow up with your current and prospective clients will help you grow your business now.
Have you figured out how to even out your cash flow the rest of the year?
Realtors have their busiest season during the summer, when children are out of school, fish are jumpin’ and the movin’ is easy. Life insurance people usually find their busiest season from September through December. Health insurance happens mostly in November and December. Retailers sometimes base their entire year’s success on the bump in sales around the winter holidays.
Florists live for Valentine’s and Mother’s Days.
What are you doing to even out your cash flow during your NON seasonal high spots?
By: David Spellman, President of South Pasadena Chapter, Transamerica Financial Advisors – I help individuals and families reach their financial goals and protect themselves from unforeseen circumstances. I start with a comprehensive and detailed look at where they are now, listen to where they want to be in the future, and help them map a detailed route with a written plan to get there. And like a good GPS, I help them with course corrections when life’s detours intervene.
Within the macrocosm of life there are pockets of microcosms that reflect the bigger picture. Sometimes the bigger picture gets a little too fuzzy or ambiguous to grasp or be motivated by or to learn from. What we can learn from a moment’s contemplation of some of the more familiar areas of our lives can have value in figuring out the bigger picture.
Like some of you, I have been a “gym rat” my entire life. Going to the gym at least five days per week whether I’m in L.A. or out of town is simply what I do. Here are some observations I’ve made. Even if you don’t exercise (What?!), see if these work for you:
Gym: Mental Preparation- Have a better attitude before you begin and you will have a better workout. Endorphins make the miles go faster and the weights lighter.
Life: Mental Preparation- Going into a selling presentation or a college test with a positive anticipation allows the memory to work better and to perform at higher levels.
Gym: When someone is using a mirror for focus or to see their posture, have the courtesy to not walk in between them and the mirror and break the train of thought.
Life: When someone in the office is “on a roll” or a friend has created a great relationship, be supportive or at least get out of the way and shut up.
Gym: Use a towel to clean the bench after you have left your sweat on it. It’s your responsibility.
Life: When you make a mistake, apologize. It’s the right thing to do.
Gym: Re-rack your weights when you are done with them. Don’t leave your mess for someone else.
Life: When you make a mess, clean it up. Why should someone else have to see or deal with it? It’s your job.
Gym: Neuroscientists have discovered that when you focus on the muscle being used, there is an increase of 20%+ more circulation going to that muscle to grow and tone it.
Life: When you stay on task (focus on that activity being done-not multi-task) you get more done efficiently and need to apologize less.
Gym: Keep the loud grunting sounds to a minimum.
Life: Keep the loud grunting sounds to a minimum.
Gym: Spot the person who asks for help. That doesn’t mean lift the weight for them. It means let them exert themselves to their maximum and add your vocal and physical support to allow them to grow.
Life: Show the way if you know it, but let the discovery, wonder and growth be experienced by the other-for everyone’s sake.
Gym: Read the body language of the other person. Get a sense of whether he or she is moving quickly and is time constrained and less conversation would be appropriate. Be attentive to the whole picture.
Life: Read the body language of the other person. Because more communication is non-verbal than spoken, add your senses and instincts to see, hear and feel an experience or encounter. This is not to say make assumptions, but rather, to prompt you to ask a clarifying question if you find a difference between the words you hear and the message you feel.
Gym: At the time you are experiencing the greatest muscle exhaustion, you are gaining the greatest results. Stay with it a little longer. You’ll lift and do more, easier, the next time.
Life: When you’re frustrated and feel you are at the end of your patience or abilities, stick with it a little longer, look “outside the box” for other options. That’s where the greatest life skills are grown. You’ll handle things more easily without feeling the stress the next time.
Gym: Vary your workout routine every 4-6 weeks by using barbells, dumbbells and machines to keep up mental interest and to develop greater strengths by stimulating muscles from different angles. Set goals of accomplishment.
Life: Plan to periodically learn something new, go someplace interesting or set goals that are bigger than your present abilities to create an interesting life and to force your own personal growth. Take a risk once in a while. Interesting people do interesting things and are generally more fun to be around.
Gym: Pay your dues and get your money’s worth.
Life: Show up, pay attention, take positive action every time.
Gym: Take a shower!
Life: Take a shower!
I hope you have enjoyed this. Please do pass it along.
Make it a great day!
Barry Eisen, www.barryeisen.com
Next time you’re pressing for something you want – whether it is a salary increase or the last pineapple in the produce section – here are 10 words that can help you get it.
BECAUSE – “Because” is the conduit you will use to explain your motivation for every element of your request.
THANKS – If you start your conversation with gratitude, you’ll start everything off on a good note.
YOU – Don’t make it about yourself. Make your listener the center of the conversation.
IF – “If” gives you the opportunity to break a situation down to its most basic terms by exploring hypothetical outcomes.
COULD – Using the word “could” implies openness, unlike the word “won’t” or “never”.
WE – Like the word “you”, “we” takes some of the focus off your own self-interest.
TOGETHER – “Together” works much better the same way that “we” does. It implies a degree of familiarity and cooperation.
FACT – Using more facts in your dialogue will help you strengthen your position.
OPEN – Don’t shut down requested with “no” or “never” and try being “open” to further negotiation.
WILL – Stating that you “will” do something provides a clear vision and mitigates the possibility of miscommunication.
By Kendall SummerHawk
Have you tried to get an almost-client’s attention lately? It’s tough! I just read in Fast Company magazine, that the only sure-fire way to get business right now is through word of mouth. Seems that with the assault of marketing messages flying at us, we only respect what our trusted friends and colleagues recommend.
But what if you’ve had little luck getting good quality referrals? Here are 3 tips that are guaranteed to get the right kind of attention, and plenty of it!
Tip 1 Ask For The Referral
Don’t mince words. Simply say, “I work best with __________ kinds of people.” Then follow it up with the results you’ve achieved. “The people I work best with have experienced ________ (name the results using numbers – time, money, efficiency, there is always a way to quantify a result from working with you, no matter what your business). Continue with, “Their experience was a direct result from working with me.” Then finish by asking, “Who do you know that may be open to experiencing a similar result?”
Easy, right? I could stop there, but tips 2 and 3 are great too.
Tip 2 Do A Super Job
Focus your time on maximizing the results your clients receive from hiring you and your name will be passed around for years!
Tip 3 Leverage Your Time With Their List
They have a list of people who trust them. You have a valuable service. There is a multitude of ways to make this work. Start by creating a “hot list” of at least 5 people who you would love to have referring others to you. Leverage your service through them and you just opened a door of never ending referrals, for very little time spent.
Some members cringe when it is their turn to be the featured speaker at their networking meeting, others eagerly look forward to it! Whichever category you fall into, as effective networkers, we know the importance of getting the word out about our business. Seize the opportunity to speak whenever possible! Some of you may even be looking for speaking engagements as a referral, if so, share this information with your chapter members during your One Minute Business Commercial!
1). If you are looking for speaking opportunities, let the members of your networking group know that you accept speaking engagements as a bona fide referral.
2). Ask your networking partners to refer you to the program chair of other organizations (who have outside speakers) that they belong to.
3). If you are asked to speak at the last minute, or to “pinch hit” for a speaker who did not show up, be prepared! Always have an outline or prepared presentation with you. Use your TEAM Presentation worksheet as a guide.
4). Don’t worry that you will be viewed as aggressive in your approach, know that you will be looked upon as a business person who can present their business in a professional manner at the drop of a hat!
Remember to have your presentation be a topic of interest for your audience and to deliver an effective message about who you are and what you do!
By Rene Godefroy
Do you attend business-networking events in order to collect business leads that can open doors for you? Well, you may be wasting your time. Let me explain.
In my book, No Condition is Permanent, I talk about being a small fish in a big pond. I even share some excellent tips on how to swim with the big fish. But, my first advice to you is to rethink your business networking strategy.
You should ask yourself the following questions: “Can the connections I am making really help me to get ahead? Am I swimming in the right pond with the right fish?”
Now, I am not saying that some of the people in the circle may not turn out to be a good resource for you. But you may want to reach for a level where those contacts have never been before.
So, avoid networking with people who are hassling you to get your business, or those who just want something from you. Networking is truly about creating long-term relationships that can pull you up. Now, notice I am talking about making connections versus getting favors. All relationships should be a two-way street, both personal and professional.
You should seek out influential people who can swing some doors open for you, and help you get where you want to go. You need to push forward in order to get ahead.
Here’s how to do so:
- Do something to get on the radar of those in a position to assist you.
Speaking for the National Speakers Association automatically put me in touch with Les Brown, Mark Victor Hansen, and the like. Okay, you may not be in a position to write a book or keynote a big conference yet. But I’m certain there’s something you can do to move your own career along. All it takes is a little thinking outside the box – a little creativity.
- Instead of attending business networking events to collect business leads, become a private investigator.
Do a little investigating to find out what challenge the people whose radar you are trying to get on are facing. Then write an article about the challenge or problem and offer some solutions. Send the article to a key player in your field. You only need one key contact to introduce you to the rest of the people in that group. Does that make sense to you? You may even have an idea to help raise money and awareness for a cause that you know is important to the people you are trying to reach. Contact them and let them know about it.
- Brainstorm for ideas.
Here’s a clever way to come up with ideas that can help you contact a key influencer: Take a piece of paper and write your goals across the top of it; then jot down every way you might be able to make the connection. Be outrageous. Go for it!
But remember, as you strive to make those meaningful contacts, definitely be available to be a meaningful contact to someone else. And I am dead serious about that. Success is also a two-way street. You must have one hand reaching for the top and another reaching to help pull someone up from the bottom.
By Stacey O’Byrne, Pivot Point Advantage
By understanding the common types of sales objections, or how about their buying concerns you can recognize the real issues sooner. This understanding will allow you to quickly apply a strategy to understand, address, discuss, and ultimately overcome sales objections – getting you closing more deals before you know it.
Remember if you consider a different mindset that looks at “objections” as “concerns,” you too may find that they can turn into gateways instead of roadblocks.
How to Handle Objections in Six Easy Steps
- Listen to the Objection.Don’t jump all over the prospect as soon as he says “But what about-.” Give him a chance to explain exactly what’s bothering him. Don’t just tune him out, either – listen.
- Say it Back to the Prospect.When you’re absolutely sure the prospect is done talking, look thoughtful for a moment and then repeat back the gist of what he’s said. Something like “I see, you’re concerned about maintenance costs” is fine. This both shows that you were listening and gives him a chance to clarify.
- Explore the Reasoning.Sometimes the first objections aren’t the prospect’s real concern. For example, many prospect don’t want to admit that they don’t have enough money to buy your product, so they’ll raise a host of other objections instead. Before you launch into answering an objection, ask a few exploratory questions, like “Is product downtime a particular issue? Have you had trouble with it before?”
- Answer the Objection.Once you understand the objection completely, you can answer it. When a customer raises an objection, they’re actually expressing fear. Your task at this point is to relieve their fears.
- Check Back with the Prospect.Take a moment to confirm that you’ve answered the prospect’s objection fully. Usually this is as simple as saying, “Does that make sense?” or “Have I answered your concern?”
- Redirect the Conversation.Bring the prospect back into the flow of the appointment. If you’re in the middle of your presentation when the prospect raises his objection, then once you’ve answered it quickly summarize what you’d been talking about before you move on. If you’ve finished your pitch, check if the prospect has any other objections, and then start closing the sale.
Step 7 – Ask for Order/Continue Discussions
This step ensures you move discussions forward, for example, “Are you ready to go ahead now?” or “Shall I go ahead and prepare the paperwork?” If your prospect says “No” then you’ve either not handled their objection to their satisfaction or they have another objection.
It’s also a valid point to remember that resistance from a prospect is usually a sign of insufficient rapport. Therefore, check that you are matching or mirroring the prospect and go back to Step 6. If they are satisfied with your handling of their objection, then ask “So, what’s preventing you from moving forward with this?”
- Practice makes perfect
- Practice in front of a mirror
- Rehearse answers to possible questions
- Redirect your nervousness
- Channel your energy into something more productive like being more expressive in gestures to boost your confidence
- Scan for friendly faces in the crowd to imagine your entire audience in a different light
- Force yourself to act confidently
- By acting confidently (appropriate eye contact, body language, facial expressions and tone of voice) you can direct your mind to eventually follow
- Ask yourself “What’s the worst thing that could happen?”
- Whatever possible negative outcome isn’t such a big deal…this is your TEAM
- Practice breathing techniques
- Take deep, slow breaths to improve blood and oxygen flow to the brain thereby increasing mental alertness and function
- Prepare your audience
- Start with a joke, amazing fact or detail to break the ice and get their attention