Planning For Growth In 2011

by Brendan Sherton

The end of the year is rushing in as fast as ever, and with each year-end project completed comes a new blank space on the calendar. As nice as it will be to have a break over the holidays, the New Year looms with its thousands of open time slots and opportunities. How can you be sure that when 2011 finally arrives, you’re ready to grow?

Planning Makes Perfect . . . Or At Least Organized

In the online world, it’s not always about practice. So many of us are flying by the seat of our pants on a regular basis they should probably develop a special rewards program for Sweatpants Air. Reactive, frenetic, and distracted, you’re not doing your business any favors when you don’t take the time to plan ahead.

Success is not an accident. It takes mountains of hard work, and all of those hours are just pushing boulders uphill without a focus to your efforts. Even though the end of the year is a very busy time, set aside an hour this week to start focusing on what you want to achieve in the year ahead. Instead of trying to figure everything out in your hour, zero in on your top three goals.

What will do the most to build your business, advance your growth, or make you more money? When the time is up, set your plan aside to come back to in a week with a follow up planning session rather than trying to solve everything in one go.

This break gives your brain time to percolate your ideas and your plans. When you come back for your second session, you will find that your subconscious has been busy. Plumb the depths of your mind to lay out an overarching framework for the year, and then start filling in the frame.

Focus on hitting the big points of the SMART system – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound – and leave the finer details to fill in as you go. With a clear big picture, the day-to-day routine can progress with less reactivity naturally and you will feel more in control of your time and your future growth.

Tweak Your Target Markets

Another key planning measure for success and growth in 2011 is a reexamination of your target markets. Look back at your customers and your experience in 2010. What went well, and what could go better? Adjust your marketing plans and preferred customer contracts accordingly.

Don’t take this as an opportunity to start over from square one if you’re not changing industries. You know the 80/20 rule about 20% of your customers generating 80% of your income. Tweak your efforts to have more opportunity to serve and cultivate customers who could take a place in your top 20%.

Make Milestones to Celebrate

Last but not least, start planning your celebrations now. You know what you want to do to grow, but to stay on track you need to measure your progress and keep topping up your motivations. What better way than with celebrations of success?

Looking back at your overall plan, pick out milestones that will let you know you are on track.

Landing a new monthly retainer client, doing a guest post for a major site, or setting up a new joint venture all represent worth points of progress and celebration, just to give a few examples. By having three or four set times to celebrate these achievements scheduled in advance, you can pull your network into your success and create a team of positive accountability monitors to ensure that 2011 is a year you will remember as a breakthrough point for your business.

Guest author Brendan Sherton is blogs about technology and gadgets at E-Mobile Phone Deals, a UK site that lets consumers compare cheap mobile contracts and features handset reviews, money saving guides, and the latest industry news.