We’ve all heard the saying, “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.” But what if rather than just hoping for the best, we planned for it?
Yes, you should have a contingency plan in place, but what about if things go right? Julian Placino, a podcaster, recruiter, and keynote speaker, talked to us last year about how, so often, we plan for failure but fail to plan for success. What things do you need to have in place to secure your success and reach your biggest, boldest goals?
We thought this was a perfect topic to tackle as we enter a new year (and a new decade!). It’s a time to start fresh. You might have some New Year’s resolutions around your business, your marketing, and your own personal development. So, while you’re kicking off those resolutions, why not plan for the success of this year?
Here’s how to go about it.
Define Success for Yourself
The first step to planning for success is defining what success means to you. The answer will be different for each and every one of us. But, the only way to plan for your own idea of success is to know what it looks like.
Do you want to grow a global business or become the most beloved local institution in your hometown? Do you want to do work that helps save the environment or empowers a minority group? Does your dream work scenario leave you ample time to travel the world?
Doing a blue-sky exercise, where you get a clear idea of what success looks like to you, helps you to get clear about the steps you’ll need to take to get there.
Think Realistically About What that Success Means
One thing we’ve seen happen when it comes to marketing success, specifically, is that some business owners don’t have a plan in place for when their marketing works really well. They’re getting more phone calls, emails, and form fills than their staff can handle, and they don’t have the appropriate plan in place to allow bandwidth to follow up with these leads.
It’s important to determine what success can look like in all parts of your business and have a plan in place for if and when that happens. Are you accepting applications now to expand your team if you need more hands on deck? Do you have a lead management system to track all the contacts coming in? Do you know what your business can realistically handle? These are all things to think about when planning for success.
Get Your Network in Place
The best way to achieve your goals is to ensure you have a solid support network in place. This can mean everyone from mentors, who have been in your shoes and can offer guidance and inspiration, to a great group of employees, to your closest family and friends, who are there to cheer you on from the sidelines.
It truly does take a village to start, grow, and run a successful business. If you don’t have a network of supporters to help challenge your ideas, support your goals, and offer the resources you need to get it all done, then you’re making the journey that much more difficult for yourself.
Turn to Your Network for Collaboration & Challenges
Once you have your network in place, you want to lean on them. Ask them for their input. Collaboration is a key part of getting big ideas off the ground.
If you want to launch a new product but aren’t sure how to set up the appropriate supply chain, reach out to your network for suggestions, connections, and information. So much of building a successful business is about asking for help. You’ll never get it if you don’t ask for it.
You also want to make sure you've assembled a network that will challenge your ideas. You could think your new product is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but maybe one of your mentors or employees sees a potential roadblock. Don’t fear opposing viewpoints; encourage them.
The best ideas go through multiple iterations before getting to a good place. Ask your network to be honest and share their real reservations about your plans. That’s how you’ll create your best work.
Create Structure for Your Days
When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re often pulled in a million directions. It can be easy to let the day run you rather than the other way around. But creating a structured approach to your activities gives you more control and agency, and it allows you to make time for those projects that are the most important to you.
Set aside blocks of time for accomplishing those tasks that are integral to accomplishing your goals. Establish times for yourself where you are solely focused on those projects, and treat those calendar blocks as sacred. Don’t let them become overrun by client calls, extra meetings, or other distractions.
Make Time for Yourself
Your business is your baby. You want to give it all of your time and attention so that it has the greatest shot at success. But it’s also important for you to create time to take care of yourself.
The entrepreneurial lifestyle is often exhausting and non-stop. Unfortunately, even if you’re the world’s greatest entrepreneur, you’re still only human. You need to be sure you’re making time to get the rest and exercise your body needs. Make time to do yoga, go for a run, or enjoy a glass of wine with friends or family.
While that 24/7 mentality can feel important when you’re caught up in it, it often leads to burnout in the long run. And when you run yourself down, you can’t possibly give your all to your business.
Running a business is about embracing failure and making mistakes. But when you focus on achieving success, rather than planning for failure, you put yourself in a position where you can be proactive about building the best version of your business.