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Have You Started Planning for a Successful 2010? Here’s How!

Have You Started Planning for a Successful 2010? Here’s How!

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    The New Year is fast approaching. Do you have a plan for your business? Do you know what you’re going to do for 2010 to make your business grow and see your income dreams realized? If not, use these guidelines to plan ahead, so you can make 2010 your year of success!

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    1. Look back and analyze.
    First, take some time to look back on 2009 and analyze your business activities. What worked? What didn’t work? Look back and only take the activities that generated the top 20% of your income into 2010 with you. That way you’ll put the bulk of your efforts in the next year into the most profitable activities and make the most of your time and energy.

    Analyze how you spent your time. Did you use your time as efficiently as possible? If not, consider outsourcing and put plans in place now to get your outsourcing team in place.

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    Look at how you spent your money. Did you spend thousands on expensive products and workshops that didn’t give you a personally effective return on your investment or did you invest in things with a solid ROI, where you actually saw your business grow as a result? Did you find yourself choosing several inexpensive options or a few more expensive items that might have been higher in quality? Start looking at how and where you spent and look at the return you saw on everything you spent.

    2. Do a “now” check.
    Take some time to think about how you feel about your business now. Are you frustrated? Excited? Discouraged? Encouraged? Gauge how you feel and think about where those feelings are coming from. Has your enthusiasm waned? If so, why?

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    Sometimes when people start businesses, the initial stages are so exciting and they’re thrilled with any results. But when time passes and the business doesn’t grow the way they thought, or they realize how much effort a successful business takes, enthusiasm can decrease. If that’s happened to you, don’t despair! What you really need is a solid plan, the tools to implement that plan, and the support to help you get there. That brings me to….

    3. Look ahead and get your plan in place.
    Now that you know where you’ve been and where you are now, it’s time to get a plan in place for the future. You’ve analyzed how you spent your time and money in the previous year, and you have a clear picture of where you are now.

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    Before you can create a solid plan, you need to figure out where you want to be at the end of this coming year. This is a lot like travel: once you know where you’re going, you can figure out how to get there. Once you know what your goals are, you can determine the best strategies for getting there. If you’re struggling with your goals and your roadmap, find a pro who can help you get things clarified and cleared up so you can make your business a success in 2010, without hesitation!

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    Last Updated on April 8, 2019

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

    Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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    1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
    2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
    3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
    4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
    5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
    6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
    7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
    8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
    9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
    10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
    11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
    12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
    13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
    14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
    15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
    16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
    17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
    18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
    19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
    20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
    21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
    22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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