Do you like to wing it or plan?
Last week I had a great idea. I was going to take my family to a local holiday event, Zoo Lights, where thousands of visitors attend the zoo to see the lights and share in the festivities.
I told my husband the day before what I was thinking (planning ahead right?). That evening we were running behind, had starving children and arrived to the event later than I had anticipated, only to find the main parking lot full and the overflow parking also full.
UGH. We discussed plans B and C, but in reality by the time we got inside the zoo it would have been near bedtime. We decided to pull the plug, head home and try again another night.
I don’t know about you, but my kids are NOT happy when I change course on a fun event. So there were meltdowns in the car and I ended up bribing them with a show to soothe their broken hearts.
I started thinking - how could this night have gone better? It all came down to planning. I knew planning has helped tremendously in my business but it has taken me a while to embrace it in my personal life.
I could have looked online (even just 1 day ahead) and found that there was a whole list of “how to have a great zoo lights experience” that included when to arrive, buy tickets early, take public transit, food is available…. All the info that I needed.
I am often resistant to planning. I love to have flexibility and be spontaneous and thought I would have to give that up if I planned. But I've found that it isn't one or the other.
There is actually freedom and flexibility within the structure of a plan.
This holds true in parenting and in business.
When I owned a cafe, we had a retail portion and I was always amazed that other businesses planned their holiday promotions MONTHS in advance. I was the one sitting down to decide on the promotion the day it was going to go out to people. Yes - a professional procrastinator.
I embraced planning in my business about 5 years ago. For years, I lead my business life “winging it”. If I planned, it was one time per year and the goals were “grow revenue.” The ambitious me would even attach a percent of growth I wanted.
But then I found a framework for planning that I decided to try. Once we embraced the planning we were amazed that it actually works! Our employees LOVED it (cuz people like to know what is going on!) and we found that things ran much smoother, growth was stronger, and (gasp) we got way more done! (oh and our profits increased!) Whoa - this shit works!
There are many levels to planning. Starting at high level, long term goals down to planning each day of what to do. And I’ve learned that ALL of them are important.
But for today since we are nearing the end of the year, let’s talk higher level planning.
Give yourself and your business the gift of time and intention.
Think through where you would like your business to be one year from now.
What does that look like?
What needs to happen to get you there?
What things will you try to move your business towards its goals?
Once you set your bigger goals you have a filter. Every time you have a great idea you can run it through the filter - does doing new idea get me closer to my goals? Or is it a distraction?
If you know where you want to go, you can make sure to take on projects that support you getting closer to getting you to your destination.
If you get flustered planning - let me know. I lead both individual planning session and group sessions. You’re not alone!
I'd love to hear if and how you plan! Drop a comment!