So the sixth month has passed and we are just over half way through the year. Although a review of progress can be done at any time it seems appropriate to do one now. So here is a process I went through over the past couple of days. I hope you find it useful.
Step 1 Progress To Date
You should have a set of goals that were due to be achieved by this time of the year. The first step is simply to review how well you have met those goals. What steps were completed, were they completed on time, and how much of each goal was achieved?
You should end up with an honest review of your progress in the first six months of the year. Include how far adrift you are from meeting goals that have not been achieved yet. How many weeks behind, how much content is still to be produced, etc.
Step 2 Two important Questions
That snapshot of reality may lift your spirits or it may inspire disappointment. Whatever your reaction, put those details aside for now and ask yourself the following two questions:
- What are the biggest opportunities to grow your business in the next 12 months? There may have been developments since you last considered your action plan. You may now be able to access new resources that open up new possibilities. These changes may mean you could abandon some goals, be more ambitious with others, or consider a change of direction.
- What content does your audience need to see to know, like and trust you? This is particularly important if you are solely based online and use social media. Yet your answer can also involve producing blog posts and/or products to help establish your expertise and trustworthiness. Don’t answer in general terms. If you aim to publish more blog posts what topics would work best to increase your audience’s awareness of you, or convince them that you are trustworthy?
Step 3 Your Guiding Sentence
Next try to summarise your main goal for the next 12 months in a sentence. If you need help with this try completing the following:
In the next 12 months I will focus on …
State your main focus and add what benefits you will gain from completing the goal. If you have lost focus in the past six months and your course has drifted away from your goals, reading this sentence should remind you of where you should be heading.
Step 4 Project Ideas
Next list all the projects you currently have underway. Then add any projects you could start in the next six months. Don’t judge how practical or successful they are, just list them. Then compare them with your guiding sentence. Remove from the list any that will not help you achieve your main goal for the next 12 months.
Step 5 Identify Your Roadblocks
Now it’s time to return to your review of the past six months. If you have not met goals consider your journey towards each one. What have been the top problems in reaching the goals? What have been the main roadblocks?
Write down a numbered list of as many roadblocks as you can. The more thorough and honest you are the more helpful the next step will be.
Step 6 List The Solutions
Now you need to brainstorm solutions for the roadblocks and list them. Use a numbered list so that the appropriate solution has the same number as the roadblock it solves.
This step may need some research. Some solutions may mean committing yourself to learning a new technique or putting in more effort to your business. If you are reluctant to invest the time and effort maybe you’ve identified another roadblock.
Step 7 Identify The Best Projects
Once you have completed step 6 it’s time to look through your list of project ideas and identify which ones solve the most roadblocks. The best solutions should be the projects you focus on for the next 12 months.
You may find that you are already working on some of the best solutions while other projects will need to be started and replace ones that are currently in progress.
You may find this process indicates you should drop projects that you are heavily invested in. If you are reluctant to abandon any projects take the time to think through why it would be better to continue with it, even though it has not been identified as one of the best roadblock solvers. If you can’t convince yourself then the project has to go for now, no matter how much you’d prefer to keep it.
Step 8 Plan The Next 12 Months
Having worked through the above steps you should have a short list of projects you will implement in the next 12 months. It’s likely this list won’t exactly match what you are currently doing. Set aside four weeks to make adjustments. In this time aim to close down or complete the projects you are not going to continue with and start planning when and how to implement you first new project.
Your 12 month plan does not have to be detailed right now. Just enough to know when you will start each project during the coming year with time built in to prepare for its implementation. Once you have this outlined the last task is to build in reviews so that you can repeat the above steps at least once every six months.