Two Sheets Of Paper That Can Double Your Business
Tell me if this sounds familiar to you…
You have big goals.
Not just pay off the mortgage and put your kids through college goals – no, yours are way bigger.
You’ve got million-dollar and more goals. You are going to be a huge success. You are going to change the world with your company. You are going to retire on a beach with a fat bank account and not a worry in the world.
You get up each morning full of energy and drive and motivation. TODAY is the day you crush your to-do list and make massive progressive on your dreams.
By 10:00am you are already behind.
Email has sucked you into its death orbit.
The phone keeps ringing. People keeping popping into your office to get “just a minute” of your time.
(If you are working from home, it is kids, laundry, errands and friends stopping by, right?)
By lunchtime you’re scrambling to get something, ANYTHING checked off your list so you can feel like you’ve made some progress.
The afternoon isn’t any better… calls, appointments, fires to put out.
So you stay after everyone else so you can get a little work done. But by now you are so tired all you can do is check a few things off your list that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things… but at least you did something.
You head home, drained and a bit demoralized.
But tomorrow, you promise yourself, you’ll do better.
If that sounds familiar, you are not alone.
The vast majority of entrepreneurs are slogging through the same crap day in and day out.
But just because it is common doesn’t make it right.
What if, instead of that life, you had this one…
Imagine walking into your office each morning and grabbing two sheets of paper.
On one sheet you have written an entire strategy for how you’re going to grow your company.
You spend a minute reviewing the strategy, reminding yourself what you’re building and your plan for building it.
You feel inspired, determined and excited to get started.
On the second sheet of paper you write your goals and the things you will focus on today. It’s a short list (you only have a day after all), but it is powerful in its simplicity.
On that paper you also write the three most critical actions for you to take today. Just three things but ones that will, aligned with your strategy, drive your business forward.
Next you make a short list of follow up tasks. You know, those little things that often slip through the cracks if you let them.
Now, you go to work.
Job #1 is to get those three critical items checked off your list. Job #2 is to get those follow up items checked off.
No matter how distracted or pulled away you get, you always come back to that one sheet of paper.
By 3pm you’re done with it. You have accomplished three major actions that will put profit in your bank account.
At the end of the day (well before dinnertime), you pull out that sheet of paper with the checkmarks and spend three minutes reflecting on your day.
You review what you learned, what you accomplished and what you are grateful for in your life.
As you walk out the door to meet your family for dinner, you feel strong and in control. You know for certain you have made the exact progress you needed to so you can hit your biggest goals this year (and beyond).
And you know that tomorrow and every day you can repeat that same success.
From where you sit right now it might seem like a pipe dream but it doesn’t have to be.
All you need are two simple tools…
A one-page strategic plan and a daily success checklist.
You can download samples of both right here.
Or you can create your own. Here’s what you need to put in each.
What To Put In A One-Page Strategic Plan
Think of your strategic plan as a blueprint for building your perfect business. It is a detailed picture of what you are building and how you’ll build it.
It isn’t as detailed as a punch list of tasks (we will get to that) but rather a broader overview of the look and feel of your company and your path to creating it.
The basic strategic plan consists of four key parts:
This is the base of your company, the solid structure that underlies everything else you build and accomplish. The foundation consists of your Core Values and your Vision for what you ultimately desire.
Choose core values that reflect your beliefs about the way business should be done and how your team should behave. A good rule of thumb is to have 3-10 core values, simply expressed so they are memorable.
You vision is your highest aspiration for your company. How much revenue, how many employees, what kinds of business and what you want to give back are all key components of your vision.
Think of the vision as the artist’s rendering of your dream. It’s a picture you can look at and share to bring inspiration and clarity to your work.
Targets and Goals:
Since your vision is likely very, very big, you want to choose milestones to give you more concrete and achievable steps along the path to your vision.
You will set a few (no more than five) long-term, 3-5 year targets and a few (no more than five) short-term, 1-year goals. Don’t forget to write down due dates for them to give you motivation to accomplish them in a specific time frame.
Areas of Focus:
These are the key areas of your business that must change in the next year if you are going to hit your short-term goals. Think about where you need to invest your time, money and other resources so your goals will get done.
These areas of focus will be where you spend your time creating projects and ultimately tasks to achieve your goals.
Change can be hard so you want to add something to your plan that keeps you on track and excited through the change. Having a short list of key metrics to ensure you are on pace for your goals is one of the drivers. An annual theme can also keep you motivated and fired up in the face of challenges and adversity.
Here is what a one-page plan might look like when you’re done
Once you have your basic blueprint laid out, you can then start breaking it down into “punch lists” so you can get everything done on time and on budget.
Start by taking your areas of focus and breaking them into quarterly projects. A quarter is enough time to get big change done but not so long that you get distracted or defeated.
Finally, take each quarterly project and break it into discreet tasks that need to be done to accomplish the project. This becomes your “punch list” that gets done each week to keep you on target for hitting your goals.
The great thing about a punch list is that you can hand parts of it off to other people to do, just like a job foreman hands off work to plumbers, electricians and carpenters on a house site.
Once you have your weekly tasks laid out, you can use a daily success checklist to make sure you are doing the most important actions each day to reach your biggest goals.
What To Put In A One-Page Daily Success Checklist
This one-page tool will keep your subconscious brain attuned to the most critical thoughts that enable your business to grow by quickly and more easily.
A good daily checklist encompasses three time frames: future, present and past.
These three time frames help you connect the dots between
- What you want in the grand scheme of things
- What you need to do today to achieve them and
- What you have done in the past that you can take forward with you
Here are the key items to put in each time frame.
By reminding yourself of the future state in which you wish to live, you create focus your subconscious brain.
When your subconscious is focused, it acts as a filter that weeds out the unnecessary distractions in your day.
It helps you make decisions in the present that will lead you faster and more easily to your ultimate vision.
There are three future-state items to remind yourself of each day.
- The first is your vision. Take a minute to read your vision of your company and program your subconscious to find ways to make it happen.
- Next, spend a few seconds reviewing your annual goals. Remind yourself what you are working to accomplish this year so you can align your day with accomplishing it.
- Finally, review your key areas of focus so you can ensure that whatever you decide to work on today is part of a larger project you want to achieve.
This future-state review will take just two minutes but it will silently run in the background all day long, aligning your decision-making in the direction of your biggest dreams and desires.
This is the list of actions you are going to take today.
The secret here is to NOT overload yourself with endless tasks but rather to prioritize your list so you are focusing on the 20% of actions that will yield an 80% increase in results.
Many studies have been shown that focusing on no more than three critical tasks each day can have a powerful effect on outcomes.
Choose the three most important tasks to accomplish and do them first. Touch no other chores until these three items are checked off.
It can be tough to do when you first get started, as you are likely in the habit of being distracted by email, etc. However, when you master this one practice you will see your profitability explode.
Another crucial daily habit for success is reading (or listening to) educational or inspirational books. Choose one chapter, article, or training module to read each day and you will see an almost immediate increase in your results.
Finally, for the present, it is important to follow up on things you delegated, outsourced or are waiting for a response on.
Whether it is a task you gave to someone else or a sales prospect that needs a reminder, make a short list of the most important people for you to follow up with today.
This little habit will keep things from falling through the cracks for you.
After just a few days of practice, you will find you can accomplish this part of your planning in just two minutes.
As a business owner, it is very easy to get excited about future growth and caught up in present activities.
While these are helpful for your growth, when not balanced with reflection on past progress, they can lead to stress and burnout.
Each day take a moment to revisit the best of the day including what you accomplished and what you learned.
Then take a minute to remind yourself of the things you are grateful for in your life.
When you are striving so hard to grow, it is common to feel disappointed by things you don’t yet have.
When you pause to reflect on what you already have, you calm the stress chemicals in your body and clear your mind to see new and powerful opportunities.
The simple act of creating a daily checklist focusing on your future desired state, your critical tasks for today and your reflections on your success will take you just five minutes.
Imagine starting each day with a clear direction, deep motivation and solid plan.
Imagine ending each day with a sense of accomplishment, completion and gratitude.
Create your own daily checklist or download our version here. The results you see from using it will blow you away.
Here is what a one-page Daily Success Checklist might look like when done
What The Hell? Who Does All This?
If you’ve read this far you might be thinking, “What the hell? Who has time to do all of this?”
It is true that planning takes time. But using a one-page formula means you cut your planning time from days into about an hour.
Thousands of entrepreneurs have used a one-page system to complete their entire strategy in about an hour a year.
Then each quarter they invest just one hour for quarterly and weekly planning.
The daily checklist takes a maximum of five minutes to use each day.
So, ask yourself, is having certainty that you will hit your highest goals worth spending an hour a year on?
Is knowing exactly what to do each and every day to feel successful and accomplished worth spending five minutes a day on?
Invest in yourself, your family and your life by investing in your business planning.
It isn’t hard and it isn’t time-consuming.
And the results you get will make you wonder why you didn’t start sooner.
This time next week, you can already be well on your way to the money, freedom and control you wanted when you started your business.