This episode is about 90-day business planning
Are you struggling to get organised and stay focused in business, procrastinating, or simply feeling a bit stale? Developing a 90-day Plan is the secret to staying on track, fired up and productive. In Episode 5 of this podcast, I helped you create a foolproof 30-day plan. Today, I’ll reveal how I do one of the bigger picture steps, and how this helps me get more done, more effectively and efficiently.
Why a 90 Day Plan?
You might be wondering why a 90-day plan matters, and why not just a one month, or one year, or five-year plan? Or do you even need to make all these plans?
In this episode, I’ll talk about
* Why a 90-Day Plan?
* My 3-step, 90-day Planning Framework
* 30-Day Plan
I consider myself to be a good planner, but for a long time, I planned mostly for other people and less for myself.
While I was getting some good results in my business and life, I found that by planning, my productivity, efficiency and effectiveness went to a whole other level.
I went from dithering around checking emails and wondering which task to start, getting scrambled and switching from task to task, to a very focused workday with clarity, clear focus and execution through the use of planning.
As a result, I was able to 10x my output, smash procrastination, create consistent revenue and achieve my goals more easily.
Saying this aloud sounds like a sell job – but I’m not selling anything except the benefits of good planning.
The 90-day plan is a subset of your bigger plans, like your 5-year, 3-year and 1-year plans.
The reason you create 90-day plans each quarter is so that you are super clear on what you are aiming for in the next little while, and all of the steps required to execute and achieve those outcomes.
But the REAL value of a 90-day plan is that you get to map out the medium-sized steps so that you can schedule enough time for the smaller steps within.
Think of it this way. You start with your vision, which is the outcome you want to achieve. That sounds easy in the big picture. But as you drill further down into the individual actions that you need to take to get there, you end up going from a simple vision statement into a long to-do list.
In other words, if you work backwards from an outcome, the planning tends to become more and more detailed as you get closer to the current date, and the number of tasks tends to balloon out into a huge list.
That’s why I think it’s good to keep your bigger-picture goals and your 90-day planning very simple and focused so that the weekly to-do list you’ll use to get there is achievable, not overwhelming, and very clear and possible.
My 3-Step, 90-day Planning Framework
Step 1 – Map Out One Year
Every financial year, create a 1-year plan. For each quarter in that year, establish one key outcome that is a milestone towards your longer-term vision.
These higher-level plans should be simple, less detailed, and focus on one key thing. This is the secret to your success because doing it this way feels less onerous. What I mean is, that it gives you a feeling of flexibility to make changes during the year as needed.
Also, rather than bogging yourself down with 1000 things to do and feeling overwhelmed, you feel 100% in control and organised if you just add the right amount of detail to the next 90 days ahead.
What I’ve noticed is that when people write super detailed 1 – 3 year plans with specific actions for every month, they feel like they can’t change it, or it feels to overwhelming, and they give up. I have never seen anyone succeed this way.
For example, my overall purpose is to bring the impact of coaching – and especially the skills of critical thinking and self-responsibility – to the world.
As part of my bigger 5-year plan, my one-year goal for this financial year is to establish a certain % of leverage in my business, so that I can work fewer hours, work more effectively, maintain my income and help many more people to become empowered and take charge of their health.
I have then mapped out one key milestone for each quarter, that will be broken down further in my 90-day plan.
See how simple that is?
Here’s what that might look like.
Your one-year outcome goal might be to secure three corporate clients who buy a package of health and wellness coaching programs or services for their organisation.
Let’s break that down into a single outcome for each of the four quarters. And let’s assume you are starting from scratch in your business, with a few existing relationships in the corporate space.
In the first quarter of the year, your outcome goal might be to complete the research required to develop the framework of your offerings and develop the framework.
In the second quarter of the year, your outcome goal might be to develop your sales strategy and content for your corporate wellbeing strategy and program, and you’d be getting opinions from people in your target market along the way (co-creating) to make sure it’s what the market wants and sees as valuable.
In the third quarter of the year, your outcome goal might be to develop a marketing campaign based on core strategies and tactics, and then, start implementing the campaign.
In the fourth quarter of the year, your outcome goal might be to convert prospects to leads and leads to sales according to the sales strategy and tactics you outlined in your campaign.
In this example, and assuming you were starting from scratch and had some people in your network, if you were to focus on these four outcomes in this sequence, then you have done what is required to secure three paying clients.
This is just an example, but hopefully, it gives you an idea of how to map out the steps. Best of all, you have only laid out a high-level outcome for each quarter, so you have plenty of flexibility to change things if your circumstances change.
Step 2 – Map Out the Next 90 Days
Just before the start of each quarter, create your plan for the next 90 days.
Start by defining the outcome for that quarter. If you’ve completed the one-year planning step I just mentioned, then your outcome for Q1 could be copied straight across from that 1-year plan.
Write that outcome at the top of your page.
Now, break it down into an outcome for each month.
Let’s use the example we just discussed. Let’s say that your 90-day outcome goal is to complete the research required to develop the framework of your offerings, and then develop the framework based on your research.
You’ll start by creating an outcome goal for each month. These are high level outcomes that describe what you need to achieve each month in the quarter to reach the 90-day outcome.
- Month 1 might be: Complete 20 hours of research
- Month 2 might be: Map out the core components of your corporate well-being strategy, programs and sales process based on your research.
- Month 3 might be: Develop the outline of your corporate well-being strategy and programs.
From there, you break the first month down into a 30-day plan.
Now that you know the outcome you want to achieve for your first month of the quarter, let’s map it out in smaller steps so you can schedule them.
We break the first month of the quarter into weeks, then describe actions to be taken in each week. You’ll notice here we are no longer talking about outcomes, but actions. Make sure you allow enough time for each action.
In our example, we discussed the Month 1 goal of completing 20 hours of research (toward developing your corporate wellbeing strategy and program, and sales cycle).
You might think this sounds like a no-brainer, but as you unpack this, you’ll find there’s more to the task than meets the eye.
Ask yourself some questions like – what sort of research will I do? Where do I need to look? Who would I refer to?
Then you’re clearer on how to allocate those times, and what the tasks are. Here is an example of how it might play out, based on the example I’ve described already:
Week 1 of Month 1: Schedule in your diary:
- 1 hour to develop a project plan where you will keep track of your research, outcomes and processes,
- 1 hour to identify similar competitors and write notes,
- 1 hour to review legislation or guidelines, and
- 30 minutes to list 3 people you could speak to about their experience with corporate well-being strategy and programs – then reach out to them to book a catch-up.
When it comes to legislation or guidelines, some industries are regulated or work with specific codes of practice, so you’d want your program to be aligned with those.
Week 2 of Month 2: Schedule in your diary:
- 3 x 1-hour meeting times with contacts you reached out to in week 1.
- 2 hours to reflect on and document your findings.
Week 3 of Month 2: Schedule in your diary:
- 4 hours to research competitors online and make notes about their processes, promised outcomes, fees, where they promote online, their target audience, types of messages they use, which posts/messages are getting the most engagement
- 1 hour to speak to governing bodies on the phone about their codes of practice and any new legislation.
Week 4 of Month 2: Schedule in your diary:
- 1 hour to review your brand guidelines and business position
- 2 hours to map out a draft corporate well-being strategy
- 2.5 hours to map out your corporate well-being program or programs
- 1 hour to map out the sales strategy you will use.
As you can see, we’ve fleshed out all the tasks within the 1-month goal across 20 hours and created scheduled, bite-sized steps that will lead to the achievement of that goal.
Now you have an actionable schedule of tasks to work through to achieve the goal. If anything comes up that changes the trajectory, you can easily rework your schedule and the tasks.
For example, the tasks you complete in week 1 might identify that some of the week 2 tasks are not relevant and need to change, or are redundant. Great! Simply review your outcome goal for the month, and if necessary, change it and/or rework the remaining week’s goals.
Today we walked through my simple process of 90-day planning to help you achieve business goals.
When people make complex, detailed, long-term plans, they get attached to following them even if things change. That’s why in my method, I intentionally keep it simple and focused on outcomes except for the first month, where you get specific on actions. Doing it this way saves planning time and allows for adjustments to be made.
Need help with 90-day planning? Hit me up on my contact page – I can offer a one-off session to help you solve this and get on with your quarter!
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