I want to share with you one of the easiest ways I have learned to strategically plan for things in general. Whether it is a three-year forecast on my business or to plan a project effectively and successfully implement it to the end, I use these 5 simple steps.

1. State your goals

2. Create a time frame

3. State your results

4. Divide and conquer obstacles

5. Identify the people who will help you and by when

State your goals: People talk about goals all the time. Specifically a goal must have defined an outcome or objective that you can either count, check off that it happened or it didn’t happen, or it exists in some physical reality. It is something that is hard and objective and there is no fluff allowed. No expression of feelings.

For example, I want to serve 50,000 customers by November 1st. This is very objective. It is measurable. By November 1, I can determine if 50,000 customers were served. Where most people falter is they include an emotional element or intangible characteristic here. They include words like ‘good,’ or ‘many,’ or ‘better.’ A well-stated goal will have very hard measurable tact components.

If goals include some kind of feeling or if they include some kind of intangible characteristic, then go back and refine the goal further. Anyone needs to be able to read the goal and understand precisely what needs to happen. There can be no room for interpretation.

Create a time frame: How long to the completion of the goal? How long before we can determine whether it is a success or not? Do not be fearful of adding a timeline. Some people hesitate to apply a timeline because they do not know if they are being realistic or worry that if they miss the date, they have failed. The purpose of a timeline is to give you something to work towards. To create a feeling of urgency, so that actions must occur.

State your Results: This is where you can get fluffy. Now you get to talk about what your goal feels like and what your goal means to you. Express what exactly achieving this goal means to you and the impact it will have on your life or business. Recognize that the results portion is an incredibly important part of the goal process.

Make sure that you limit and focus your goals and then make sure that they really matter to you. When the night gets dark, things get scary, and your business does not make sense anymore and you want to quit, the desired results you stated are going to be the compelling reason for you to be able to strive through. These results are going to be the thing that allows you to find that motivation when you no longer have any juice left.

Divide and Conquer Obstacles: Where there are goals, there are obstacles.

To reach your goals it is imperative that you accept there will be obstacles. By acknowledging there will be obstacles to your goals, you can overcome your fears and limitations.

Once you have identified your goal, get fearful. Hunch your shoulders, lower your head, and frown. Access that part of you that harps that you can never achieve anything. You are not going to live in this negative space for long, but you need to access it briefly.

Look at each of the goals that you have written down and write down every obstacle in achieving that goal. Aim to write five to 10 obstacles that stand in your way. Do this for every single goal that you have. Once you are done, sit up straight, smile and shake off the negativity that you just accessed.

Look at what you wrote. You should have five to 10 things that are likely going to stop you from being able to successfully achieve each of your objectives and your results. One at a time, review each obstacle and come up with five to 10 ways to overcome it. If you wrote down that you do not have enough money, come up with a strategy for coming up with enough money. If you do not have enough time, then come up with a strategy for being able to have other people do the work, or for you to be able to reschedule your life so you have more time, etc. The idea here is to divide your problems and conquer them one by one.

Most people confound their own thinking by not separating their problems and solving them individually. Instead, they get overwhelmed because they look at two or three problems at the same time and then run out of desire or become fearful.

Identify the people who will help you and by when: Once you have your success strategies identified from your obstacles, go ahead and schedule the action you are going to take on each one of your success strategies and when they are going to happen. Identify who is going to help you. Many times people feel very alone in their strategic planning. They do not realize they have more help than they know.

A resource that I use that helps with this is the Strategic Coach’s The Strategy Circle software.

It is one of the best tools we have used in our business to get through multi-million dollar problems, and to get through hundred dollar problems. I strongly recommend it. Strategic planning is very simple if you break it down into its component steps and make it a part of the way you do business.

Author's Bio: 

Hugh Stewart is a business coach committed to helping those who are ready to move their business to the next level. His confident solution coaching will enable you to…

○ Cultivate a personal culture of change
○ Optimize how you spend your time and focus
○ Design workflow around your most profound talents
○ Develop masterful delegation and outsourcing habits
○ Work on developing and streamlining your work processes
○ Create the clarity, focus, action & results you deserve

You will discover how to...
• Master time and attention management
• Maximize income and rewards based on your best talents and abilities
• Hire and delegate effectively
• Develop business systems
• Create a sustainable and referable experience for your customers

The Confident Solution Cycle is a unique process that uses your current skills and abilities to achieve a clearly identified objective. The process serves to cultivate a personal culture of change and success with specific areas of focus listed above.