Accomplishing your business goals just got a lot easier.
Why are some financial advisors able to achieve so much in one year while others work hard but never see the growth they want?
Successful advisors will tell you that it’s the deliberate and consistent time they put into strategically planning their year before it happens.
They all agree that the time they invest at the end of each year to planning their goals for the upcoming year is the single greatest return on investment they can make.
If you’re like me, then you have a continual desire to grow and expand your business.
You know it’s important to set goals but you’re pretty sure traditional goal setting just doesn’t work anymore.
And when we do set goals, we always seem to start out strong, but it doesn’t take long for us to waver and lose sight of our most important objectives.
If you’re looking to create a breakout year and accomplish your most important goals, read the following to make 2017 your best year ever.
It'll take you through a year-end strategic planning process that will help identify the areas to focus on and how to create goals that you're gonna achieve.
STEP ONE: Review Your Year
In order move into the future, we first have to reflect on the past.
This step helps you focus on what you should be doing more of and what you should be quitting completely.
If you skip this step, you might not realize you’re of course until too much time has passed.
It’s important to learn these lessons now or else we’re bound to repeat them.
We’re going to identify your successes, and where you came up short? We’ll discuss what worked, and what didn’t? Which were good decisions, which were bad?
To properly reflect on the previous year, you must answer these questions;
- What did you accomplish this past year that you’re most proud of?
- What did you do to earn this accomplishment?
- What disappointments or regrets did you experience this past year?
- As you look back, what was missing from last year?
- What are three things I want to STOP doing next year?
- What are three things I want to KEEP doing next year?
These questions are meant to bring up various emotions. Take 1 minute to think about the emotions you’re feeling answer these 2 questions.
- What’s your most positive thought right now?
- How can this thought help you create your best year ever?
By answering those questions you successfully acknowledged what happened, learned from your past, and identified a few ways you will gear yourself for success moving forward.
Now we have to decide what areas of our business are the most critical to focus on next year.
STEP TWO: Define Areas of Attention in Your Business
There are 7 main areas of your financial practice. These are the areas, that if run properly, should produce a successful firm.
We want each of these 7 areas to be in optimal shape in order to see breakthrough success.
If you were to rank each area on a scale of 1-10, It’s very common to see that there are 3 areas that rank below a 5.
These are the places to focus on improving in 2017.
Below are the 7 areas of your business.
Read through them and rank them on a scale of 1-10.
Identify the 3 that are ranked the lowest.
- New Business and Client Acquisition
- Are you talking to enough qualified prospects and turning them into clients?
- Marketing and Branding
- When people get introduced to you or your brand, can they quickly identify how you can help and benefit them?
- Do you have all star employees that are easy to manage?
- Client Service and Experience
- Are your current clients receiving the right amount of contact and care from you so that there’s no reason they would ever leave you?
- Do you have the systems and processes set up so that the office can run even if you’re not there?
- Time Management and Productivity
- Are you spending time only on $1,000 per hour tasks rather than $10 per hour tasks?
- Expertise in Planning and Investment Management
- Are you continually increasing your knowledge so that you can offer the best advice and recommendations to your clients?
Take the 3 areas that you ranked the lowest and answer the following statement.
This area would be ranked an 8 if…..
STEP THREE: Create Your Future.
Here's where we'll take those previous 3 statements and turn each on into a 2017 goal.
Write down everything you’d want in each of these areas. You're not writing goals yet, just wants.
Then start narrowing in on the “wants” that you believe would bring the greatest improvement your business next year.
Here’s the framework to follow when identifying your goals.
- Write it down
- Research shows that written goals are much more likely to be achieved.
- Suspend reality
- Don’t filter yourself. You’re not committing to anything yet. You can decide later if the goal is realistic. Keep thinking in the mind of “What If” rather than “How”.
- Think Big.
- You want your goals to be challenging enough to demand your full effort
- State in the Positive
- Focus on what you want to move towards, not away from.
- Actionable: State in the ”I am”
- Write your goal as if it is already achieved. Ex- “I have hired 1 new all-star employee that handles all paperwork prep and processing by 6/30/2017”
- Time bound
- Make sure there is a date of completion
- Don’t make the goal to broad. The more specific, the better.
Using that framework, identify 5-7 goals you’d like to achieve next year.
STEP FOUR: Bulletproof Your Goals
After you create your goals and start taking action on them, it’s a guarantee that you will face resistance throughout the year.
There will be times that you waver or fall off track. And It’s completely normal to do this.
If we want to accomplish our goals, we’ll need an easy way to pull us back to the center so that we can continue to make progress and real change in our firms.
There’s a big difference between the number of advisors that make goals and the number that actually achieve those goals.
The ones who achieve their goals have are the ones who are the most motivated to do so.
They have a compelling reason Why this goal must be achieved. Sometimes they’re in enough pain to motivate them in the tough times.
If you’re like me, you’re not in that much pain, but you still really want to achieve these goals.
So what you can do is create powerful motivators for each of these goals. This is going to greatly increase the chances that you’re going to complete them.
Here are the step to take to create powerful motivators for each of your goals.
- Write down each goal from the previous section.
- Connect emotionally and logically with each goal by answering these questions for each one
- “Why is this goal important? What is at stake both positively and negatively?
- Write down the top 3-5 motivators
- Review them regularly. I keep mine right next to my goals in my journal.
STEP FIVE: Take The Next Step
Just by completing the first 4 steps, you’ve already made more progress than 95% of the advisors out there.
You’re almost finished preparing yourself for your best year ever.
The last step is where we start to take real action to start making our goals a reality.
This is the most important step of the whole process.
This is the Step where you begin to plan the How.
Here are a few recommendations before you start to plan the how.
- Don’t over plan.
- We naturally are attracted to planning. But sometimes it turns into a fancy way to procrastinate. We want to make sure we get started on our goals as soon as possible.
- Work backward and Break up your big goals
- Imagine you're in the future and it’s the day that your goal is complete
- Think back in one-month increments. What has to be completed each month in order for you to get the final goal? This helps break it down into more manageable actions steps.
- Schedule your goals
- Calendar time specifically for goal work.
- Set a weekly time on your calendar to review your goals, motivators, and progress.
- At the end of each one of those, answer the question, What’s the very next thing I need to do to reach this goal
- Celebrate the small wins
- This helps provide more motivation. If you don’t, you’ll lose energy
- Start now
- Take the goals you just made and answer the question
- What’s the very next thing I need to do to reach this goal?
What Your Next Action?
Re-read this post and complete each of the 5 Sections so that you can make 2017 your Best Year Ever!
Good luck in 2017!