It may seem like goal setting, sabbaticals and referrals don’t have much in common but for me they do.
I didn’t arrive at one – the sabbatical – without the other two – goal setting and referrals.
But first let’s back up and let me ask you a question…a super important question…have you spent any time over the last month or days planning for 2017?
Business planning is very important and in the rush to “get it all done,” or “hit your numbers” before the end of the year, business owners can overlook the need to plan.
I take my clients through a Reverse Goal Setting Process™ where we look far enough out to connect the goals we are setting for next year to the vision we have for the future. It can be powerful for those who go all in and make bold statements for themselves.
Most people know the importance of setting goals (something to shoot for, hold ourselves accountable to, move us in the right direction, etc.) but there is an overlooked factor…when we set goals we actually put ourselves in a position to accomplish our goals ahead of schedule.
And that is an incredible feeling.
When I set my 5-year vision at the end of 2014 I committed to taking my first 4-week sabbatical from work with the goal to make it a yearly happening. To hit the goal the sabbatical had to happen by the end of 2019 (and 2018 was my stretch goal). To do that I knew that my business had to be at a place where it could handle the sabbatical – from an operational and revenue perspective.
I am happy to report that it is happening TWO years earlier and is set for 5 weeks versus 4.
I am pumped!
By setting the vision for the type of company that I wanted to have…I put focus around it. I took time to understand what that particular goal meant for my business…not just how much I would love the time off but the actual details of making it happen. I didn’t just set the goal and hope for the best. I referenced that goal as I continued to design the type of business that was my ultimate aim.
I put the plan in place. I thought through best case and worst case scenarios and came up with a way to deal with any possible issues. There were a few moving parts…my business had to have a different type of assistant, how revenue was collected had to be tweaked to have cash flow 12 months out of the year versus just 11 months, and I had to communicate the sabbatical to my clients.
Yes, it was scary. But running a business is all about making scary, tough decisions.
Yes, it could backfire (of course it could…it hasn’t happened yet – here’s looking at you June 2017).
But like everything I do – I will learn from what works and what doesn’t work.
One thing for sure is that I will not give up on my goal of having a business that can handle a 4-week (or 5-week) sabbatical.
So back to my original, super important question…
Have you spent time as 2016 ends to plan where your company is headed?
Have you thought about where you want your company to be in the future?
I advise you to go 5 years out and then work backwards to figuring out what you need to accomplish next year to be on pace for the 5-year vision to become a reality.
And if you are wondering what referrals has to do with my goal setting and sabbatical reality…well, by making the decision many years ago, to build my business sustained by referrals and not cold calling, incessant networking or LinkedIn stalking…I have comfort in knowing my business won’t shut down or even falter during this break. Referrals are at the core of my business development strategy.
Referrals have been the number one reason why I have been able to build my business by design.
Referrals allow me to run my business versus having my business run me.
Referrals make me more money and save me time.
What are referrals doing for you in your business?
Isn’t it time you found out?
A referral generating plan must be a part of your business next year – and every year after. If you aren’t following a system to generate referrals then make sure as part of your action plan for 2017 you set a goal to build, execute on and automate a referral generating plan.
Let nothing stop you.
You can do this!
Let me know if I can help.