This is the final post of our business planning series, and today we're going to dig into probably one of my favourite tools. It's really simple, like many of my favourite tools are… but the simplicity of these tools is part of the magic, it forces you to boil things down until they are distilled to the most basic. So you end up with only the key elements.
To recap, we’ve touched on the following models so far. These, when put together, form your business plan:
And now, we wrap it all up by focusing on you and where you need to grow to make all this stuff happen.
Your Business Will Grow To the Extent That You Grow Yourself
Sometimes, people think they're not getting where they need to be because they're not working hard enough. Often, it’s not that they aren’t working hard enough, it’s that they are lacking skills or process which means their work produces at a very low efficiency. The most important way to maximize return on the energy you put into your business is through bettering yourself.
I'm a big believer in constantly working on personal growth because it allows us to grow our businesses faster and more effectively. The more we grow as a person, the more our businesses will grow too. Plus, ultimately, it's not just about being more effective ourselves; it's also about attracting the right people to our businesses. Being the best version of yourself means you attract the best people.
The Key to Attracting Top Talent
As we move past being the sole person running our businesses and start to bring in others, our level of self-development, skill, and knowledge becomes crucial to attracting the right people. The difference between attracting an average group of people and an outstanding group of people is the difference between an average and an outstanding business.
Fortune 500 companies spend significant energy on attracting top talent. The more you develop yourself, the more you act as a magnet for the people you want to work with. Those who choose your business based on growth rather than financial gain are the ones who will stick the longest, contribute the most, and have the most impact on your culture.
Treating Personal Development as an Ongoing Process
One thing which is a root problem in all this is that culturally, we think about personal development as a phase, rather than a lifelong habit.
Many people go through post-secondary education without a plan for personal growth afterward. This lack of a plan often leads to people not getting what they want in life.
Graduation signifies a destination, "I've reached my educational summit. That's it." However, this view defies logic. Life mandates constant progression, just like any muscle in your body… if your mind isn’t growing, it starts to shrink.
From my perspective, dedicating oneself to self-improvement and growth is paramount throughout life. My goal is to grow and develop myself so I’m stronger every year I’m alive. Remember, a standstill in growth often leads to atrophy, a backward slide. If we're not growing, we're inevitably shrinking - a situation that I hope you'd like to avoid in your life as well.
Diversifying Growth Opportunities
Many individuals focus only on one growth area. Such unidirectional aspiration often leaves other facets of their life untouched. For instance, if someone exclusively highlights long-term post-secondary career growth and personal development, they tend to dismiss other opportunities. If you’re like me and you want a well rounded and amazing life experience, I believe that you should pursue ways to better every part of your journey, not just those tied to money.
Spend time searching for ways to manage your personal relationships, your health, and your spiritual journey if you're inclined. Personal growth doesn't have to be restricted to professional development.
While establishing your plans, consider family and relationships, passion projects, physical health and development, and fun. After all, aren’t these the things you are working for?
The Art of Planning Towards Goals
Okay let’s map this out. Go back and review the first exercise we did, the 3-2-1 exercise we conducted at the beginning of this series.
We have a one page document we share with our clients to map this out. Download it below or create your own version if you want something more intricate.
Let’s start by thinking through who we want to BE in three years. Your skills, knowledge, health, wealth and role are all parts of who you need to mold.
Where could you develop the skills you need?
Consider how you could refine yourself through practice and dedication?
What courses or certifications would you like to prioritize?
How can you prepare yourself for the role you want to fill?
Put thought into timing, just like the 3-2-1 exercise, your growth plan is designed to be considered with long term vision in mind:
What do you need to start doing now because the results are needed right away?
What should you start learning so you understand it when it’s needed later?
What will take sometime to assemble or create?
Start putting things down on the sheet as a rough draft. You can always rebuild it if you find it isn’t hitting the mark.
It’s really that simple… but before you’re finished, ask yourself this:
Of all the things you need to master, is there ONE thing which if you mastered it would alleviate the necessity of all others on the list?
Often a singular, primary focus, like leadership for example, can create a shortcut for you to get where you are going without needing to figure everything out yourself.
Utilizing the Planning Tool and Building Personal and Business Goals
When you look at your plan, you should have the bigger picture stuff in the long term. It’s okay for generalities to exist up here in terms of exact details, but try your best to make the goals you set be Specific, Measurable and Simple. As you get closer to the near-term, things should be more specific. In the very short-term get as crunchy as you can. Put the exact names of courses and dates. Set goals to register for things you want to attend. Put deadlines out there so you hold yourself accountable.
Health is one area where we often procrastinate, pushing it back until we have more time, more money, or we tell ourselves we’ll get to it when our business hits some milestone.
Understand that your health directly impacts the quality of your life, so everything you get along the way is tied to your health and energy - give it the importance it deserves.
Another important area people often neglect is wealth building. Finances are complicated, and simply putting money aside and hoping for the best is not a strategy. So, what do you need to learn, and from whom? Maybe there's a podcast you could be listening to, or a book you could be reading, or a mentor you could seek out.
Live Your Growth Plan
By this point, I hope you've started working on your growth plan. Remember, you don't need to fill in every category and every year. Focus on the areas and plans that spark excitement in you. Then, turn your growth plan into a living document, something you consistently go back to and update.
After setting your goals, go back to your monthly action plan. The one-page accountability sheet we did in the last section. Set measurable goals for weekly and quarterly achievements, keep an eye on overarching annual objectives, and set aside time for researching new opportunities.
It's All in The Journey
In the end, I hope you've found this exploration of personal growth and planning exciting. Goals you set in this area are you giving yourself the tools you need to live the best life you can. It's not always immediately rewarding, but a big part of the fun is in exploring and figuring things out!
If you've enjoyed this process as much as I have, I encourage you to continue exploring the other parts of this planning series. Revisit any episodes you may have missed, and make sure to fill out that business plan.
As always, I’m grateful for the time you invested with me.
Your partner in success,