What are your goals for 2021? Is it to double your production? Reduce the number of hours you work? Or just to stay in business? It’s that time of year again where everyone makes lofty resolutions and goals, but then forgets about them before the month is even out.
Back in 1958, a Harvard study of graduates revealed that only 3% of them had written goals. After twenty years they interviewed the same people and discovered that the 3% with written goals were worth more financially, than the other 97% COMBINED!
It’s amazing to me that most people don’t first write down their goals. What’s more, rarely do people tell others about their goals–another crucial step to achieving them. Sharing your goals with others creates a deep commitment that motivates you to follow through.
The main question I hear from agents is: “How do I know what to work on each day, week, and month to accomplish these goals?” It’s easy to get sidetracked just trying to keep up with clients and transactions.
And I tell them… the greatest tool you have to stay on track throughout the year is a strategic plan, where you break down your goals into actionable steps and in the process create a… roadmap for success.
ROADMAP to Success
I’m not talking about creating a business plan. A strategic plan is about taking a good look at your business and what you want to achieve, and then identifying Strategies and Action Steps that will take you where you want to be.
Here are 3 steps to take your abstract goals and get real RESULTS in 2021…
STEP 1: Identify Your MAJOR OUTCOMES
Trying to schedule what needs to be done each week is difficult if you don’t know the major outcomes you want to see happen over this next year. And everyone has different priorities for their business (and life).
Ask yourself three questions: 1) “What am I committed to achieve in my practice?” 2) “What are the most direct, immediate, effective things I can do to reach these goals?” and 3) Where are the opportunities in the market that will help me achieve my goals?
If the year gets off to a sluggish start, it’s probably because your answers to these questions weren’t clear. Writing down the specific OUTCOMES you want to achieve will help you prioritize your time.
- What exact income do you want this year?
- What new markets or opportunities will you go after?
- What new systems do you want to implement?
- What skills do you want to acquire or improve?
- How big do you want to grow your house list (SOI)?
In my own business each year I identify 4 or 5 major outcomes, and then assign a specific revenue or numeric goal to each outcome. The more detailed the better, because it helps me know what I should be tracking, and where to be accountable to reach each goal.
STEP 2: Prioritize Your STRATEGIES
Next, organize and prioritize the strategies you will use to reach each Major Outcome. To do that, you can first identify and list where the MAJORITY of your business came from the last year. Focus on making those sources grow. Then, list out your projected sources of business this next year. Cut down this list and prioritize in order of the impact each strategy will make to your bottom line.
This may surprise you but I take out a pencil and a sheet of paper, write the name of each major outcome at the top of the paper, and then list out the exact strategies I will use to accomplish each goal .
Then, narrow and PRIORITIZE this list of strategies by asking yourself:
- “What strategies can I use that will make the biggest impact?”
- “Where could I best spend my time/money/energy to produce the greatest results?”
- “What are the 20% of activities that will produce 80% of the results?”
The difference between those who succeed in this world and those who fail is…the people who succeed know how to differentiate the important from the unimportant as it relates to their goals – then establish and aggressively execute on the most important tasks. That’s why they achieve so much.
So, here’s a simple framework that will help you. I’ve created a one-page Strategic Planning sheet you can print out to use, not just for your business goals – but also for your personal goals in 2021 and beyond.
STEP 3: Identify Your ACTION STEPS
Next take out a sheet of paper and list out the Action Steps needed to accomplish each individual Strategy (from Step 2 above). Do you see what we’re doing here? We are breaking down the prioritized list of strategies into smaller tasks, or “action steps”… creating that “roadmap” to success that will simplify your life and multiply your effectiveness. Again, you want to prioritize your Action Steps by the most effective, direct way to achieving your strategy.
By the end you’ll have just a few pages revealing the specific tasks to be completed to accomplish your goals. And you can start putting these tasks into your normal monthly and weekly schedule to get yourself on track today.
The only thing left to do is track and measure your progress. Every 6 months, examine your goals to see what you’ve achieved and what still remains. If necessary, take the simple goal setting system I’ve outlined here and make a revised plan for the second half of the year.
If you follow this easy formula, I know you’ll have the direction you need to achieve your goals every single year!.
My warmest wishes for your success in 2021!