Once a quarter, I comb through my business plan.  I read through it, skimming over the pages and focusing on the items that have eluded me so far in the quarter, in the year … in my life. Now and then, I notice something that I have not gotten accomplished. I consider if I am making any progress at all in this direction. It’s in the plan because at some point that goal made sense to me.  Now, I question, “Do I care if I accomplish this goal?” If it has ceased to inspire me, I scratch it from the plan. 

So, my business plan is getting slimmer. I’m pruning it. Interestingly, the fewer goals on my list are getting bigger and bolder. That’s exciting. At least to me, and that’s the idea. I get fired up reviewing my plan and focusing on the few things I am absolutely going to make happen. 

Pull out your business plan and look at your mission, your vision and your goals for this year. How’s it going?

What? No plan? No problem. Just consider how last year went and that’s what will probably happen this year. Only a little worse, or a little better. If you want a quantum leap, or at least a major change of momentum, putting a plan together may help you think in dramatically different ways. Those thoughts of what you would rather have, what you really, really want, are what’s required to revolutionize your life.  Writing down what you want, from your business and your life, is a business plan. Easy enough! 

Did you put a plan together once upon a time, and then stuffed it in a file somewhere? Maybe the plan was required to get a bank loan, or your wife’s consent, to start your business. Before you started your business, the plan was perfect, a home run. Once the first shot was fired in biz battle, that plan might have gone into the file cabinet without another thought. 

That’s one of the tricky things about a plan. You must launch your intentions in the uncharted waters of the future. Still, it is worth doing a plan, and updating that plan, because it is a powerfully positive tool for making what you want happen. 

So grab your plan and a pencil… and start pruning.

Where do you start?    

Start with your Mission. Put your hand over the words. Do you have it memorized? I thought not. Count the words. Are there more than a dozen? Start pruning. Answer this question, “Why are you in business?” in under 12 words.  Work it over a few times until you really care about your Mission.     

Now, who really cares about what you do? Who would be willing to pay you for it? Nail down your target market. Imagine your favorite customer. What does she drive? Where does she shop? What does she want from you? You might ask and find out. Put together a succinct paragraph describing your target market. 

What do you really want?

Next, review your goals. Do you really “want” what you have listed? Do you believe in your goals? Cut the list down to the five most important Goals. Include a financial goal and be specific in dollar and due date. Re-craft your goals using words that reflect your intention. Be specific. “More money” is not a goal. “Sales at $100K per month for 1st Quarter of this year” is a goal. Create goals that double as affirmations. Get rid of every goal that someone else wanted you to put on this list, if it doesn’t mean much to you. Add a biggie, one that really gets your blood pumping. Why not? Let yourself get fired up!    

Now it’s time to do some pruning 

On to the organization chart. Take your pencil and cross through the name of the person who needs to go…now. Shake off the denial and allow that person to go be a winner elsewhere. Next, look for someone who is not quite ready for a promotion, but shows willingness and has “fizz.” Promote him now, and see if he can fill in the gap between what he has and what he needs to do the job. Take a risk. 

Look at your Top Projects list. If you have a stalled-out project, why not prune it?  If you have delegated this project, ask, “What’s the hold up?” Then, listen for the obstacles. Be willing to sit in silence until your team member comes up with something. Does the project need to be cut into smaller pieces? Consider what a next step could be and set the due date. You might move the project forward, or learn what another step could be. Consider also what would happen if you just aborted mission on it? If it is great opportunity and you really want it to happen, then make it happen. Otherwise, scratch it from the list.  

May your pruned plan provide new focus and energy as you pave the way for next week, next quarter…the rest of your best year yet! 

Ellen Rohr is president of ZOOM DRAIN, a drain & sewer franchising company. She’s the author of four business books, including “Where Did the Money Go?” – accounting basics and "The Weekend Biz Plan.” Ellen’s a member of the EGIA faculty, sharing her snappy, helpful, and usually irreverent insights on business planning and financial clean-up. 

EGIA Contractor University has assembled the most experienced and dynamic faculty ever put together. Faculty members have personally built some of the most successful contracting companies in America. During Contractor Leadership Live, Ellen will be leading an Exclusive Workshop, Tuesday, Sept. 12, From 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. This Exclusive Workshop is only available to the first 500 Contractors who register for the All-Access pass. Visit Contracting Business for more information and to learn about the Contractor Leadership Live event. Reach Ellen at www.EllenRohr.com