December found my newsfeed littered with business planning inspiration and exuberant sales managers encouraging you to kill it in 2017. If you are like most entrepreneurs, the end of January results in a reality check. It comes in the form of the daily grind and habits decades in the making. Your big plans for 2017 seem just a bit grandiose, and your business plan lies beneath a stack of far more significant paper.
Entrepreneurs are especially susceptible to the February Funk because we lack institutional accountability that keeps teams moving. While not ideal, it is the reality and the cost of freedom. Our challenge is to revisit the clear vision we created for our year between the turkey and Cabernet. These three simple disciplines can help you stay away from the February funk:
1. Review your plan every Monday.
An associate of mine that builds companies for a living only considers a business plan complete when it is laminated and hanging somewhere at home, the office and in your day planner. His reason is simple: seeing it every day makes you aware, solidifies your intention, and drives your activities.
I print a small version of my plan and keep it in my Rustico planner. Every Monday, block 15 minutes. Re-read your plan, every word, every line. Don’t just glance at it, actually see it. Remind yourself why this is important. Decide that it matters regardless of the urgent crap that faces you each day.
2. Focus on the small stuff.
I can count on one hand the number MLO’s I know that consistently hit their plan year after year. The cause is a lack of discipline around the small stuff. You can’t double your referral partners without making double the calls.
Review your plan on Monday then put it away and focus on the small stuff. One of the MLOs that hits his plan summed it up well: “The thing that matters is 40 realtor calls a week, 10 open houses per month, 25 annual reviews a week and five referral partner coffees per week. I don’t worry about leads when I do that.”
3. Toss the stuff that doesn’t fit.
December was great. You were inspired, and you set some goals like the following: Double your volume, lose 40 pounds and run two marathons. Oddly, your plan looks the same last year as it did the year before, and the year before that. You are not alone. There is a multi-billion dollar self-help industry because we are horrible at setting the RIGHT goals.
Take an hour to look at your plan. Fix it. Eliminate the stuff that doesn’t make sense. Free yourself of the things you aren’t committed to. Push yourself and acknowledge your willingness to change.
When you win the first quarter, you win the year. To win the quarter, you need to win the month. To win the month, win the day. Right size your plan, review your plan and win today. Magically, the year will take care of itself.