Part 2 of my strategic planning blog, Plan the Dive and Dive the Plan
What if you could ask 1000 of the world’s top entrepreneurs anything?
My friend and fellow entrepreneur and coach Govindh Jayaraman did just that for a book he wrote with sales guru Jack Daly, called Paper Napkin Wisdom: Your 5-Step Plan for Life and Business Success. Govindh found that one key thing successful entrepreneurs had in common is that they were relentless about execution.
“They plan deeply and truly take time to understand and become an expert in the market, seek the counsel of others who are smarter than them, to help them build a unique and robust business model that’s industry, situation, and opportunity-appropriate.”
Success = Strategy + Relentless Execution
In my recent blog post, “Plan the Dive and Dive the Plan” I drew a parallel between scuba diving and business strategy, where planning the dive is like setting your strategy and diving the plan is like executing your strategy. We’ve already covered the importance of strategy in that blog, and now we’re going to talk about the equally important execution part.
When it comes to executing your plan, there are three key factors to think about:
1. What can you achieve in a year?
If you look back at your prior year and compare the goals you had for your business at the beginning of the year with what was actually accomplished, you will likely find you achieved more than you thought you could. It’s like my friend and scaling coach, Bruce Eckfeldt always reminds me, “People tend to overestimate what they can get done in a day and underestimate what they can accomplish in a year.”
Many entrepreneurs try to jam as much work as possible into a day when the key is to set the few big annual goals (BHAGs) that will make a real difference in growing your business. Then you “reverse engineer” your annual goals into quarterly goals. This means you figure out what you need to accomplish each quarter to hit the yearly goal. Then you “reverse engineer” the quarterly goals to determine what you need to accomplish weekly, and then your weekly goals into your daily goals. And suddenly your BHAGs don’t seem so big or hairy or audacious. They’re manageable action items that can be put into a planner or calendar. They’re just what you work on every day.
2. Communicate your strategy with other key players
The reason so many companies fail to hit their goals is that they set the intention and fail to follow through in the execution. No one is held accountable for taking the actions that move the goal forward and the priorities get lost in the daily grind.
By communicating your plan with your key players—whether that’s your accountability group or the team you’re building—you ensure that you’re held accountable for what you want to accomplish and that everyone else on the team understands the goals and sets their priorities for the day, week, and quarter so that they are always in alignment with your goals and focused on the actions that are going to take the company further, faster.
In order to communicate around your strategy, you’ll want to:
- Get feedback: Share your plan with advisors and mentors and ask them to help you make it better.
- Stay accountable: Keep your strategy top of mind by reviewing it at least weekly. I recommend printing it out and hanging it somewhere you’ll see it every day. This will help keep you focused on your plan and what your priorities are as other opportunities, ideas, and emergencies surface.
- Develop a strategic meeting schedule: Have a monthly team meeting where you look at your Strategic Plan and review benchmarks toward your goals. You could even implement 15-minute daily huddles with your key players to touch base on priorities, what’s been accomplished, what still needs to be done, and identify any areas where you or your team feels stuck and in need of support to ensure that you stay on schedule with your weekly, quarterly, and yearly goals.
- Enroll new team members early: If you bring on a new team member, showing them your plan will help you get on the same page more quickly. Be clear on their accountability and what they’re responsible for in the execution of the plan.
3. Having a plan will help you know when to say “No” and what your big “Yesses” are
Having a plan gives you that North Star to follow. You’ll know which new ideas to squash. You’ll want to take on more of what truly drives new business, and is not just busy work. The most successful entrepreneurs take the time to get super clear on what their goals are and what it’s going to take to get there. Remember, Success = Strategy + Relentless Execution.
When you’re executing your plan, you’ll need to set priorities and stick to them. Is the opportunity that event provides necessary to move your goal forward or is it a “would-be-nice-to-attend”? Relentless execution means you can decide what events to attend, what opportunities to pursue, and which ones will take you off track. You can separate the YESSES from the PASSES with ruthless efficiency and focus only on what’s going to drive your goals forward.
A strategy that led to millions
One founder who is dedicated to relentless execution of a carefully thought out strategy is Chantel Waterbury, CEO and Founder of Chloe + Isabel, a successful costume jewelry company.
Chantel spent many years developing a 21st century version of the Avon model. Working with women across the country who market her products to other women via Pinterest, Instagram and micro sites is key to her strategy.
Chantel could have gone about her business like everyone else—selling her jewelry online or in a store. Instead, she came up with a unique strategy and relentlessly executed it. Now she has a multi-million-dollar company and has helped dozens of other women make millions too.
Need help with strategic planning and execution?
Are you thinking, “It’s already January and I have sales to make and marketing campaigns to execute and bills to pay,” or “How am I supposed to develop a strategic plan when I have never done one before?” or “Who has time for that?”
It’s like that riddle where you’re given six hours to chop down a tree. Do you just start chopping and hope for the best? Or do you spend the first few hours sharpening the axe so you can get through the tree quickly with minimal effort, within the six-hour timeframe?
Relentless execution isn’t so much about working harder, but working smarter.
Many of you reached out to me after reading my last blog about strategic planning seeking help with creating your strategy and execution for the year. Some of you have already been creating annual strategic plans for your business but want to do it better, and some of you are just tackling strategic plans for the first time. Here’s how you can work smarter:
Schedule a Free Accelerate Session with me here.
I’m offering a limited number of these sessions, to help women get clear about what they need in order to develop a strategic plan, and to see if the next cohort of Masterclass is a fit.
If you’re in NYC, join me for an in-person Strategy Planning Workshop on January 16th.
Whatever you decide to do, do something! The year won’t plan itself : )
P.S. While you’re planning your year, don’t forget to add to your top priorities attending the Million Dollar Women Summit on April 5th & 6th, 2018 in New York City. Go to www.milliondollarwomensummit.com to see our keynotes, interactive workshops and female founder coaches.
To learn about how you can scale up faster, schedule a Free Accelerate Session with me here.