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How To Plan for the Future as an Entrepreneur
As an entrepreneur, it’s very easy to get caught up in the endless flow of day-to-day tasks. If you’re anything like me, no matter how much you get done in a day, your to-do list keeps filling up. This is one of the great things I love about being an entrepreneur.
However, it can also lead to a lack of focus on the ‘big picture’, as well as not having a plan for the future.
It’s important to remember that as an entrepreneur, your business is your baby. It’s something that you’ve nurtured and grown from the ground up, and you want to see it thrive in the long term. This is where planning for the future comes into play.
If we’ve learned anything these past few years, it’s that the future is uncertain, and no one can ever predict what will happen.
This is why it’s of vital importance to plan for the future because it gives you a sense of direction and purpose, and helps you navigate the uncertainty. It gives you a roadmap to follow and helps you stay on track. Planning for the future also helps to keep you motivated, as you can see the progress you’re making and how far you’ve come.
In my recent talk with Adam Weissenberg of Deloitte, we talked a lot about how a 50 billion dollar organization has changed through covid, how to consistently find the best talent, and how to leverage your team for success. We also discussed how important planning for the future is as an entrepreneur.
In this newsletter, I want to explore this idea further and really dive deep into how to effectively plan for your future as an entrepreneur. I will give you exercises and strategies to develop a bulletproof plan, as well as discuss the key areas you need to consider when it comes to developing your plan.
Let’s get into it!
How To Develop an Effective Plan for the Future
Planning for the future matters because not only will it help you to navigate devastating world events when they occur, but also because it will make your business run smoother and more efficiently.
There are a few things to consider when developing your effective plan, and it all starts with your goals.
Goal Setting 101
Setting goals is an important step in planning for the future as an entrepreneur. It helps to provide focus and direction for your business and gives you something to work towards.
Having proper goals will make your work much more efficient and streamlined, as they serve as a guiding light for us in all of our decision-making. Once we take the time to set effective goals in place, they do the rest of the work for us.
There are three types of goals that every entrepreneur should have. These can be broken down into three categories, long-term, medium-term, and short-term.
I like to use a modified version of an outline from Steven Kotler’s book “The Art of Impossible” which includes a massive life mission, high-hard goals, and daily goals.
1. Massive Life Mission
The first step to setting proper goals is to set the big, guiding light at the end of the tunnel.
You need to know why you are setting all of these goals in the first place. What is it that you are working towards? What is your life mission? What do you want to be remembered for?
These are all the questions you need to ask yourself that will help you with step one, which is setting your massive life mission.
Your massive life mission (MLM) is a long-term goal that is both ambitious and meaningful, and that also has the potential to transform the world in a significant way. MLMs should be inspiring and motivating, and they should provide a sense of purpose and direction for your work.
Your massive life mission is the mission statement for your life, and it should be the guiding factor for every other goal that you set.
2. High-Hard Goals
The next step is to break down this MLM into what we will call high-hard goals.
These are specific, measurable, and time-bound objectives that are challenging to achieve, but that are necessary in order to reach your MLM. High-hard goals are the sub-steps that will allow you to achieve your MLM.
Setting an MLM and working towards high-hard goals can help you to drive innovation, increase productivity and achieve success. By focusing on a long-term, meaningful goal, you can motivate yourself to work towards something bigger than yourself and to achieve things that may seem impossible at first.
For example, if your MLM is to eliminate world hunger (ambitious, inspiring, and transformational), then your high-hard goal could be to increase food production by 50% within 10 years (specific, measurable, and time-bound).
3. Daily Goals
These high-hard goals might take years to achieve, so they must be broken down into actionable daily steps that you can take to get there. Your MLM and high-hard goals are the horizon you are pointing towards, and the daily goals are the single steps that will take you there.
Breaking them down will help to make the goal feel more attainable, and it will also help to keep you motivated and on track. It also makes it easier to measure your progress, to ensure you are getting where you want to go.
To set a proper daily goal, first Identify the key tasks or actions that need to be completed in order to achieve your high-hard goal. These might be specific tasks or milestones that will help you to make progress toward your goal.
Then prioritize these tasks based on their importance and the time and resources required to complete them. This can help you to focus your efforts on the most important tasks first.
By breaking down your high-hard goals into clear daily goals, you can make progress toward your long-term objectives in a more manageable and focused way. This can help to keep you motivated and on track, and can increase your chances of achieving your goals.
Now that you have the outline for setting goals, we need to make sure you are setting your goals properly. This comes down to using SMART goals.
Smart stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. For a goal to be effective and work as intended, it needs to have all five of these aspects.
For example, instead of setting a goal of “I want to grow my business this year,” set a goal of “I want to increase website traffic by 20% in the next quarter by implementing a social media marketing campaign and improving search engine optimization (SEO).”
Areas of Focus When Planning for the Future
There are a few key areas you must prioritize when you are building your plan for the future. Since you now know how to set proper goals and break them down into actionable steps, you must know what areas to focus this goal-setting in.
- Finances: It’s important to understand your financial situation and plan accordingly. Make sure to set aside enough money to cover expenses and plan for any unexpected costs. Additionally, make sure that you have enough funds to invest in areas that will help your business grow.
- Growth: Plan for future growth by investing in areas that will help your business grow. This could include hiring additional staff, expanding your product offering, or investing in technology or marketing. Always be projecting your business’s capabilities and needs into the future, and plan accordingly.
- Networking: Networking is an important part of any successful business. Make sure that you are actively networking with other entrepreneurs and building relationships that will help you in the future. Creating a plan for how you will grow and nurture your network is crucial.
- Marketing: Plan for the future of your business by laying out a solid marketing strategy. This might involve a detailed plan for increasing brand awareness, generating leads, or improving customer satisfaction.
- Operational: Ensure that your business is keeping up with the competition by planning for the future of its operations. This might include streamlining processes, improving efficiency, or expanding into a new market.
- Flexibility: It’s important to be open to change and adaptable to different situations. The business world is constantly evolving and things can change quickly. Being flexible and willing to change direction when needed will help you stay ahead of the curve.
Planning for the inevitable curveballs that will get thrown at you due to climate events, political events, or world disasters is crucial to a successful long-term career.
One of the most important ways you can plan for your future as an entrepreneur is by being proactive.
Being proactive in your business means looking for potential risks and challenges that may arise in the future, and finding ways to mitigate them. It also involves seeking out new opportunities for growth and innovation.
Being proactive means you don’t wait for problems to arise and simply react to them; instead, you actively spend your time planning, preparing, and executing new strategies that will prevent problems.
By being proactive, you can stay ahead of the game and position your business for success in the long term.
Here are some ways you can be proactive as an entrepreneur:
- Monitor industry trends and developments: Stay up to date with industry trends and developments, and be aware of potential risks or challenges that may arise. This can help you to be prepared for any changes or disruptions that may impact your business.
- Anticipate customer needs: Keep a pulse on your customers’ needs and preferences, and anticipate changes in the market. This can help you to stay ahead of the competition and position your business as a leader in your industry.
- Experiment and test new ideas: Don’t be afraid to experiment and test new ideas. This can help you to stay innovative and find new growth opportunities.
- Look for partnerships and collaborations: Seek out partnerships and collaborations that can help you to expand your reach and grow your business.
Planning for the future as an entrepreneur is no easy task. It requires focus, discipline, and a lot of hard work. But in the end, I guarantee it will be worth it.
Having a solid plan for the future in place will help you to stay on track to achieving your goals. It will give you the clarity and focus you need to make the best decisions for your business. It will also help you to navigate the challenging and unpredictable global events that will inevitably occur.
So take the time to set up proper goals, break them down into actionable steps, focus on the key areas, be proactive and start planning for your future today.
If you want to hear more about this, check out my conversation with Adam.
If you enjoyed this article, I’d love to hear from you.