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Business Planning: Create Your Vision, Follow The Roadmap

I recently posted an article on goal setting titled “Five reasons why your goals are stupid”. It’s a great primer for today’s post so if you haven’t read it, feel free to check it out HERE!


We are spending this month exploring business planning, but to create a plan the first thing you need to sort out is what you want.


It seems obvious, silly even, but I think the biggest goal setting mistake people make is often made before they even get started. Setting ambiguous or random goals every year is an exciting process but it doesn't put you on a path to live the life you want. Alternatively I see people set incredible goals and even achieve them, but they do it at the sacrifice of their health or family.


The root problem lies in that most people don’t take a moment to pause before setting goals each year to consider what they really want to do with their life.


Here's the thing: People tend to overestimate what they can achieve in 1 year and underestimate what they can achieve in five years or a couple of decades. What happens is we end up in a cycle of constantly setting huge goals, missing them and wondering where we went wrong.


The opposite problem is that five years, or a couple decades for that matter, is a very long timeline to try to sort out what life will look like. Markets are constantly changing, life is changing, the world is changing, and you change as well. So the idea that you can know what life and business will look like in five or ten years is goofy. We can dream, but it’s too far out to understand with any perspective.


So what’s the sweet spot?


I’ve found that 3 years is the perfect balance between something that is distant enough you can really move the needle, while still being close enough that you can have a bit of an idea of what your world will look like at that time. Its been proven to me not just in goal setting, but also in observing my clients as they bought and sold homes. When someone tells you their goal is to move in 5 years, often it takes them 7, 8 or 9 to get around to it. When someone says they are moving in 2-3 years, it tends to happen. We have a much better grasp of what the next few years will look like than something as far out as 5 or 10.



A women journaling outside

3-2-1 Year Vision:


STOP! Slow down. I’m sure you are already busy thinking of how many hundreds of thousands of dollars of profit you want your company to make. Or maybe tallying up the number of sales or agents you will have on your team. That time will come, but right now we need to start with the important stuff.


Sit in a quiet place where you can have 15-20 minutes without distraction. That’s all the time you'll need. Grab a sheet of paper and a pencil, sketch a rectangle within the page and split it into two halves left and right and three equal parts from top to bottom. Place the pen and pad beside you and rest your mind for a moment.


Settle into a peaceful state. Relax your breathing and observe your surroundings. Imagine that you left the time and place you are now and you went to visit the home of your future self. Imagine yourself knocking on the door and being greeted by them,

  • How do they look?

  • What does the home look like?

  • What does their living space tell you about them?

  • How is their nature, their energy?


Imagine they invite you in and offer you a drink. You sit with them and enjoy it and ask them about their life, the past 3 years?

  • What do they tell you?

  • What do they spend their time doing?

  • What are their priorities?

  • What does their family look like?

  • Who are they spending time with?

  • What do they do for leisure?

  • How about their business, what are they focused on?

  • What have they achieved?

  • What is their role in the business?


As you learn more and more about them, they pause and offer you a piece of advice. What did they tell you?


After a moment, you prepare to leave and as you go they offer you a gift. What is it?


Take a moment and sit in your thoughts as you relax and return to your pen and pad. Start top left: your life in 3 years and put down everything you want.


Neat isn’t it?


But what about your life?


Usually when people do this exercise they are surprised with what they learn about themselves. Was business the only and most important thing in your life? I’m guessing it wasn’t. Maybe you don’t even need as much as you were planning to go after, and that’s okay!


What did you put into your “Life” side? Are you planning to take care of yourself and your health once the business gets what it needs? I hope not. Don’t expect your business will fix other things you ignored once it “gets where it needs to be”. You’ll find yourself chasing something that you don’t need at the expense of living your life, or worse, giving up on your health.


The funny thing is, when you focus on yourself, it tends to bleed into your business. The more you fill your cup the easier it is to share with others. Each time I raise the bar on caring for myself, my loved ones and my close friends, I find I’m rewarded in other unexpected ways.


Call me a dreamer… I have this silly belief that it’s possible to build an outstanding business doing the work you love AND enjoy good health, time freedom, relationships and adventure. Why wouldn’t you at the very least BELIEVE the same thing?


A statue of lady liberty holding a scale

Now, let’s talk business


Your business is what provides the fuel for you to live the life you want to live. That’s all.


Does that make it wrong to want to create an incredible business? Perhaps you have a vision of creating something huge and disruptive? Should it be more simple?


Not at all.


Wanting to create wealth for your family or a legacy to outlive you is something that I think a lot of people crave and you should not be apologetic for.


So what does your business need to look like in 3 years for you to have what you want in your life?


Aside from revenue, did you consider what role you want to be playing in your business? Often we realize that our current role isn’t something we want to do indefinitely. You don’t have to quit in 3 years, but there are a lot of steps you can take to move towards the role you want.


What do you want your work hours to look like in 3 years?


This is one area that most people don’t put any thought into and it’s a big part of why so many agents burn out. If you're setting goals in every other part of your life, why wouldn’t you work towards working less as your business grows? Start small and work your way up to it over several years, if it’s a constant priority you will amaze yourself at how much time you can take back while still having your business do exactly what you wanted it to. Why not add this to your goals?


Work left to right while moving down the page


I find the rest of this typically flows really quickly if you take the time to think before you start.


By now you likely have a lot written in the top row. All that’s left is to move down to the next row and ask yourself “What do I need to be doing 2 years from now in order to have everything I just put into year three?”


It’s okay to expect that your business will gain a bit of momentum. So if you want to do $500,000 in revenue in 3 years, it likely would make sense that your first year would be $100,000 and your 2nd year would be $250,000. Things tend to pick up speed when they get off to a good start.


The same goes for your personal life, you might choose to push really hard for a year so that you can get ahead a little and roll even faster the following year.


A family on a rollercoaster

Enjoy the ride!


Ultimately the most exciting part is that you get to choose your path. We all do. We get to design our lives and it's up to you if you want to create your life design yourself, or let it be created by the circumstances you find yourself in.


Be purposeful and you’ll learn to love the process. It’s exciting and rewarding to constantly focus on how you can grow yourself, your business, your wealth and your personal fulfillment. There is no reason you can’t have it all!


As always, I’m grateful for your time.


Your partner in success,

Sean


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