Just as you wouldn’t be successful in building a home without a set of blue prints, it’s doubtful you would be successful in achieving any significant goal without having an action plan. A well-designed action plan clarifies the things you need to do in order to achieve your goal, outlines a prioritized sequence of steps and serves as a method of measuring your progress to ensure that you are on the right track.
I would like to share with you two personal examples that demonstrate the connection between well-thought out, written action plans and the achievement of specific goals.
My Plan To Earn $400,000
In January of 1990 I set a goal to earn $400,000 from selling residential real estate. In reviewing my sales numbers from the previous year, I determined that if I wanted to make $400,000, I would need to sell 117 homes at an average sales price of $115,000.
Rather than working with a lot of buyers, I spent most of my time identifying sellers who wanted to sell their homes, because of the control it gave me. Based upon my previous year’s prospecting results, I knew I would have to meet with 252 prospective sellers in order to reach my goal. I then divided this goal of 252 appointments by 52 weeks and determined that I had to set a weekly goal of five appointments, or one per business day.
Once again my record keeping helped me assess how many phone calls I would need to make each day in order to get one appointment. At 27 years old with little credibility and no friends who could afford the purchase of a house, most of my efforts were focused in the cold market, which meant I had to make a lot of calls.
By the end of the year, I had met with 250 prospective sellers- two short of my goal and I had sold 115 homes- two short of my goal. But due to appreciation in the market, my average commission was slightly higher than the previous year and I earned $401,000.
If I had started out the year by saying, “I want to make $400,000 and I will work hard to do so,” do you think I would have accomplished my goal? No way! If I did, it would have been pure luck. Do you want your success left up to luck or do you want a plan?
The key to this action plan was a break down of daily activities. By tracking my results, I knew where I stood relative to the weekly goal. If I was behind schedule, I picked up the pace. So many people fail to reach their goals because they fail to carve the goal into daily activities and therefore never know if they are on the right track.
My Plan for the Little Things Matter Blog
When I create an action plan for new projects, the first step I take is to open Microsoft Word on my computer and go through a process of draining my brain. I compose a list of everything I can think of that would go into achieving my goal. After a complete brain drain, I organize my list. After organizing it, I set priorities and assigned deadlines to the key elements.
When I contemplated launching this blog, my list included categories such as website, podcasts, potential profit centers, budget, business formation, social media, organization of my list of little things, marketing, etc.
Then within each category I listed sub categories. For example, the social media category contained such things as: “Learn from and follow experts in the field; join Twitter; get an avatar; establish my Facebook fan page; complete my profile in LinkedIn and learn proper protocol in the social media sector.”
Once I was satisfied with the action plan, I reviewed it with my mastermind team that I had assembled for this project. This team is a group of people I respect and have expertise and experience in this arena. Based upon their suggestions, I refined my plan and got started executing it.
The end result is I launched my blog just as I had planned.
What’s Your Plan?
Let me encourage you to take the concepts I have shared with you in this lesson and put together a prioritized daily action plan to achieve the goal that is most important to you. Once you have drained your brain and created your prioritized plan, identify five people who have been successful in your chosen endeavor. Ask them to review your plan and offer you feedback.
People who have been successful are the very people who will be happy to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask or let your ego get in the way. Most successful people gain fulfillment by sharing their experience with others. One of the smartest things you can do to achieve any goal is to learn from those who have already achieved the success you desire.
Once your final action plan is broken out into the daily activities you need to take, get started! Be disciplined and be sure to track your results. From time to time, share your progress with your mastermind team and continue to seek their advice.
If you have experience with the creation and execution of action plans to achieve your goals, please contribute to this post by sharing your ideas and tips in the comments section below this post.
To achieve any important goal, you must first develop a prioritized daily action plan. Then using your self-discipline, execute your plan with excellence.
About the Author: Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 30 years and founder of Little Things Matter. To receive Todd’s daily lessons, subscribe here. All Todd’s lessons are also available on iTunes as downloadable podcasts. (Todd’s podcasts are ranked #27 in America’s top 100 podcasts and #1 in the personal and development field.)