Kirsten lowis

It’s Planning Time…

I’m in the process of mapping out 2019, and thought I would share with you my October ritual at my desk.

When I begin the process of strategic planning, visioning must come first. I ask, “What is my preferred future?” by using the following parameters:

  • Draw on the beliefs, mission, and environment of my business.
  • Describe what I want to see in the future.
  • Be specific to each division of my business.
  • Be positive and inspiring.
  • Be open to dramatic modifications to who I work with and my current routine, methodology, techniques etc.

My vision must encompass by my beliefs, which:

  • must meet my business goals (ready, attractive, profitable, managed)
  • are a statement of my values (push against my workaholic tendencies).
  • are a public/visible declaration of my expected outcomes (marketing)
  • must be precise and practical (S.M.A.R.T)
  • will guide the actions of all involved (from clients, suppliers and colleagues)
  • reflect the knowledge, philosophy, and actions of all (good management and leadership)
  • are a key component of strategic planning.

Once I have clarified/reviewed my beliefs, I then build on them to define my mission statement which is a statement of purpose and function.

  • A mission statement draws on the belief statements.
  • A mission statement must be future oriented and portray my business as it will be, as if it already exists.
  • A mission statement must focus on one common purpose.
  • A mission statement must be specific to my business – never generic.
  • A mission statement must be a short statement, not more than one or two sentences. In my case, “A community for the business-minded”

If you’ve got this far into my October planning ritual, you might be inclined to view this process as useless, vague and superfluous and way too hard… No?  Well, stick with me. The truth is that my planning is a habit that took me years (and many personal and professional life changes) to implement effectively.  It is a foolproof activity that takes the guess-work out of my year ahead, and allows me to put my thoughts, wishes and ideas down on paper (which a copy sits in the back of my diary). I guarantee you that the long-term benefits are substantial.

Out of all of the business-planning I do, my October planning is the most productive because:

  • October is between the end of FY and Calendar Year
  • Breaks me out of boundary thinking.
  • Provides continuity and avoids the stutter effect of planning fits and starts.
  • Helps me identify direction and purpose mid year
  • Alerts me of areas/people that must change.
  • Improves my interest and commitment to my business.
  • Promotes laser-like focus.
  • Encourages unique and creative solutions.
  • Builds my confidence.

If my planning journey has inspired you to engage in the visioning process, I want to just alert to the following vision killers:

  • Tradition – you must break away from old ways
  • Fear – be strong and fight against your doubts
  • Complacency – planning takes action, and procrastination is not acceptable
  • Short-term thinking – reactive planning leaves time and money on the table

Take the time to sit down and scratch out a one-page plan using this framework.  I just wrote my one line vision statement for 2019.

“It is 5 years from today’s date and I have, marvellously enough, published my “Let’s Talk Business” workbook series and started the roadshow presenting in front of thousands of business owners on and offline.”

Now it is my job to describe it – as if I was able to see it, realistically around me.

“See it in your mind and Let it manifest”

Get planning!




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