by James Butler, Your Business Your Future Tutor And Coach

We’ve also been turning our thoughts to plans for 2012. So, I thought I’d give you some pointers for how you might go through the same process.

Many of you will be familiar with our Seven Pillars of a Better Business. When reviewing them recently, I was reminded of the Army’s acronym of the Seven Ps of PlanningProper Planning and Preparation Prevents Particularly Poor Performance. The Army uses a word other than ‘particularly’ but I want to ensure this blog gets through any email filters!

How can you prevent particularly poor performance, and achieve particularly positive performance, in 2012?

Past Year: – What are you proud of that you achieved in 2011? Pat yourself on the back for your successes and analyse what went well. Penetrate the detail of why and how you were successful and consider how you can build on or repeat that performance next year.

Ponder Areas to Improve: – What didn’t go so well last year? Where did you fall below expectations, what did you fail to complete or not even start? What problems underpinned that lack of success, are those goals still relevant to you, and what can you learn to give yourself a better chance of success next year?

Purpose: – Know what your own purpose, and that of your business, is. How can you know whether you are achieving success unless you know why you are doing what you do? Why does your business exist, what is your personal purpose within it, what impact do you want to create in the world, professionally and personally? Make sure that your goals and aspirations for 2012 are aligned with your overall purpose.

Parameters: – What are the factors that are likely to affect your business in 2012? What are the market and other trends that will make it easier or harder to sell, or will lead to better or worse profits, supplier costs and customer expectations. How will your landscape change in the next twelve months?

Positive Outcomes: – What goals do you want to achieve in 2012? State clear, positive outcomes as fully as possible. Ensure that each outcome has some form of measurement, so that you can know when you get there, and some form of timeframe. Do you want to achieve that positive outcome early in the year, or is year-end OK?

If your desire is to stop doing something, or have less of something, look for the positive equivalent of that negative goal. Our brain is happier, and more successful, when working towards positive goals. (For example, aim for 100% customer satisfaction, rather than zero complaints).

Periodic Targets: – Parcel up your annual positive outcomes into periodic targets for the year. If you want annual profit to be £100,000, break that down into more regular targets – should that be £8,333 a month, or ten months at £8,500 and two at £7,500 to allow for seasonal dips? If you want customer satisfaction to be 100%, and it is 88% now, can you increase by 1% each month?

Plan: – Knowing your periodic targets should give you a clearer idea of what actions you need to take to achieve them. This can then form your plan for the year – what will you do each month in order to fulfil your purpose and take you closer to those positive outcomes? Persistence in taking your actions will improve the probability of success.

I had great fun putting in as many words beginning with P as possible into this posting on the 7 Ps to prevent particularly poor performance. Perhaps you have been pushed into proactivity by your perusal of the points above.

Whether you choose to follow my seven Ps, or whether you choose to remember the Army’s mnemonic, or whether you choose to ignore my message (how could you?!), I hope that your plans and aspirations for 2011 have been fulfilled, and that your 2012 objectives will also be achieved. If we, at Your Business Your Future can help you in anyway to achieve that, we would be delighted to do so.

And as John Lennon’s Mum once said over the dinner table, “Give peas a chance”.

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