🖊 This article was last updated on October 3, 2019
I come into contact with many solopreneurs who find it hard to meet the business goals they set out at the beginning of the year. No matter how great our best intentions or how clear our objectives are, it is very easy to lose momentum as we strive towards our end goals.
But there is an easy way to make sure you stay motivated and on course. Instead of having just one overall master plan for the year, break it down into four 90-day action plans. Here’s how it works:
How Does a 90 Day Action Plan Work?
While every business needs an overall business plan and a goal, those alone are not enough to steer you on your business journey. You need a more defined plan to get you from where you are now to where you want to be in one, two or even five years’ time.
Yes, you need to know WHERE you want to go but it’s almost meaningless unless you know HOW to get there.
Think of it as climbing a mountain. The peak, your goal, is far in the distance. Without planning or without a map, you’re likely to get lost, wander aimlessly, and lose sight of your goal.
Without pacing yourself, chances are you’ll burn out and give up. In order to reach the summit, you need to take it slow and plan stages with their own small goals with each one leading to the ultimate objective.
This is exactly what a 90 day action plan does.
The Stages of an Effective 90-Day Action Plan
By breaking your ‘summit’ into stages of 90-days you give yourself momentum. In a short amount of time you can achieve small successes which give you that feeling of accomplishment to spur you on.
Start with an Overall Vision
Ask yourself, “What is your overall vision for my business? What is it that I’m working towards?” Think about how you want your business to look in a year or in five years’ time. This is your ‘summit’.
Work backwards from your summit to where you are right now. You can do this by considering what are the five top, high-priority projects you could complete in 90 days which would help you achieve your overall vision?
The Break Down
So, now you have your summit and the five projects that will get you there. Now, break these projects down into smaller, actionable tasks, like this:
- What can I do this quarter, that will help me to achieve my 5-year goals?
- What can I do this month, that will help me to achieve this quarter’s goal(s)?
- What can I do this week, that will help me to achieve this month’s goals?
- What do I have to do today, that will help me to achieve this week’s goals?
It’s a really simple way of goal-setting, but also a powerful tool to give you focus.
Stay on Track
Scheduling project milestones throughout the 90 days will give you that little motivational boost when you need it more. Like an energy bar for the climb ahead! They allow you to track your progress and ensure you’re on the right path.
Also, it’s a good idea to make it a daily or weekly habit to check in with your overall plan. This keeps your eye on the ‘prize’ of your ultimate goals and gives you the chance to reassess and make any necessary adjustments.
Starting out as a solopreneur can be scary. You have a goal, but sometimes the distance between that goal and where you are right now can just seem so overwhelming. Instead of looking at the big picture, the 90 day action plan breaks it down into more tangible chunks.
It narrows your focus on just a few things, and allows you to see, at a glance, exactly where you are. It takes the fear factor away and enables you to reach your goals in a more effective and efficient way.
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I think 90 Day Action Plans are great – they create the right mix of urgency and space – so you get more progeess on your goals.
Well said, Narayan! Goal-setting is about finding the right balance between the internal pressure to meet your goals, and the space to actually achieve them.