Create a five-year plan by answering five simple questions
The thought of creating a five-year plan (for your business, or your personal life) can feel intimidating. But it doesn’t have to. Even a very basic plan is much better than no plan at all. If you’ve never created a five-year plan, give it a try. You’ll likely be surprised at how effective it is. Below I’ve outlined five questions to guide this exercise.
1. Where do you want to be in five years? (Dream)
Visualize yourself (or your business) five years from now. What would make you most happy, fulfilled and challenged? What would you change from the “normal” state you’ve been used to. Think big. Don’t underestimate what you can accomplish.
Write your dreams down.
2. What do you have to do to get there? (Plan/research)
You may end up with one giant, focused goal. More likely, you’ll have several goals affecting different areas of your life (or business). Now figure out what you actually have to do to achieve each of those goals.
Make a list of action items under each dream.
3. When will you do it? (Prioritize)
Put a realistic date on each list item. If you don’t think you can realistically accomplish everything within five years, some dreams may have to be put on hold (until your next five-year plan).
Re-arrange your dreams and action items into chronological order.
4. Are you doing it? (Action)
Whenever you make a decision, ask yourself if it aligns with your five-year plan. If you were honest about where you want to be in five years, this will come naturally. If your actions and your plan don’t align, one of them has to change!
Take your plan into account whenever you make a decision.
5. What next? (Start over)
Once you successfully complete your five-year plan (which most people are surprised to find takes them fewer than five years), it’s time to repeat the process.
Always have a plan!