Planning for Your Future

On December 27, 2013 by Karen

Planning Your Future

As the year ends and you look back, one of the most important steps you can take toward future success is to make a plan. You must know where you’re going to determine how to get there. You must have a written plan so you can modify what’s working, eliminate what’s not, and to see the difference.

Get started today. Write out your goals for the next one, three, five and ten years. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just dream. You won’t know the “right” answers because you don’t have a crystal ball, but dream. In one year, do you still want to be at your same job? In your same home? With the same person? In three years? In five? This is the perfect time to decide if what you’re doing now is or isn’t working.

What year do you plan to be financially free? If you don’t write down what you see today, you won’t know:

  1. if you hit it accurately
  2. if you’re able to move faster than you anticipate
  3. if you’re not moving fast enough and need to make adjustments.

Once you’ve thought some things through and written them down (your partner should do their own), sit down together and discuss. Just like when planning for marriage – where do we want to live? are we going to rent an apartment or buy a home? do we want children? – future goals need to be discussed and a plan laid out. Are you and your partner on the same page?

Write out what you want to accomplish in the next 12, 24, 36 months and then a vision for five, ten and fifteen years from now.

Once you have the vision, you can break it down into small steps to get there.

This is exactly where we started. We had never written, discussed, or laid out a plan. We’d talked about doing it; we believed it had power but had never done it. What we learned is that WRITING IT OUT IS SO POWERFUL! It showed us our strengths and our weaknesses. As I’ve written before, we accomplished our one, three, and five year goals in the first six months! Since we’d never written it out before, had never measured or tracked our performance, we had no idea what we could accomplish in a year.

Tracking also gives you opportunity to celebrate accomplishments instead of missing them in the rush of daily life.

If you have or wish to have your own business, then next is the business plan. After you’ve completed writing down goals, start working page by page on a business plan. We did a very detailed, in depth plan which we worked on A LOT over a period of three months. We even guessed at and plugged in the numbers it asks for. (We purchased a plan online through BusinessPlanPro.)

All of it was speculation because we had no idea. However, it made us really think things through and we asked a lot of questions we would never have considered if we weren’t doing this exercise. This business plan was and still is the foundation of our company. Many things were missing from that original plan -  i.e., we never expected buying houses to turn into a real “business”, we have no mention of an out-of-the-home office, we have no mention of employees, we have no mention of coaching students. We had a vision but no crystal ball.

This is actually a very fun exercise as you will see when you get into it. You gain so much clarity of intention and are able to really focus on your outcome when it’s done. Raise your focus to a successful path and make it happen!

Have you written plans and goals before? Please, let me know what you do and how it works out.

Here’s wishing you tremendous success!

3 Responses to “Planning for Your Future”

  • First, I want to thank you for sharing your story on BiggerPockets podcast! That was a great episode and I saved it to listen to again! I’m also excited about looking around on your site for more information!

    On the podcast, you mentioned purchasing a business plan. Do you mind recommending where to get a business plan or some where that would be helpful in putting a plan together on your own?

  • Hi Ashley:

    I think you can find plenty online for free.

    We used BusinessPlanPro.com and paid for one, thinking we wanted to start out with all of our ducks in a row!

    It was tough. The hard part was that we were just starting out so there were so many unknowns, especially the dollar amounts. But, we persevered! We guessed at numbers and kept making things up as we went along just to fill in all the answers and see where it would lead.

    In the end, it was fabulous. The plan asked so many thought provoking questions that we would never have known to ask without it. We spent weeks (literally) working on it and discussing options and pros and cons. It forced us to make a lot of decisions and think things through that we had no idea were a part of running a company.

    Even though we guessed on a lot of the answers, it gave us a framework and a point of reference. It was very interesting later to see if we guessed high or low and why our ultimate numbers worked out that way.

    All that said to say…. a business plan is important for more reasons than just the obvious. Get one, work it, and learn!

    Thanks for asking me and here’s wishing you tremendous business success!

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