There is a veritable avalanche of information about 90-day plans online. These plans usually include basics such as establishing goals and trimming the business fat. Unfortunately, so many 90-day plans either never materialize or they fall by the wayside and ultimately fail.
What I have found to be the main reason why they fail is that the motivation for having one in the first place is weak. In other words, you should be really clear about why you want a 90-day plan for your business in the first place.
There is a fairly simple way of keeping motivation and following a plan: creating your overall business strategy, such as a SOAP (strategy on a page). The execution of this strategy is really the 90-day plan.
The important element here is that the motivation: your 90-day plan “why”, all come from your strategy. Without a strategy in place, it can become hard work sticking to your 90-day plan. Creating an effective strategy is a subject for another day.
In this article, I’m going to help you get answers to some of the most common questions about creating a 90-day plan. I will also share with you how you can get access to a 90-day plan template I built and use in my own businesses.
3 must stick-to strategies in setting your 90-day business plan:
1. Identify no more than three core goals
Identify three top goals that you want your business to focus on for the next three months. It can be difficult not to create more, but just imagine if in one year you could completely nail 12 higher level goals. If you create more than three, there is a tendency to start creating a task list rather than a goal list.
Of these three goals, ensure they are S M A R T!
Be bold and ambitious yet realistic! Oh, and another hack here: we all tend to overestimate what we can achieve in the short term and underestimate what we can achieve in the long term. This is the magic of consistently creating 90-day plans.
So remind yourself about this habit, and rather limit your goals to just three. Give them all your focus and energy and make them work for you.
Need tips Setting goals? Read:
2. Get your team Involved
Once you have identified the top three goals for your business, it’s time to get your team involved. Open a discussion and ask how they feel about focusing on those goals for the next quarter.
Do they think the time frame given is doable but will be a stretch to achieve?
Do we agree that they will make a big difference in the performance of the business?
With their insight and feedback, do any of these goals need to change, making them even more relevant and valuable to the business? Make the decision to keep them or improve them.
But let’s not create an environment where we put all this effort into only writing company-wide goals. Goals on a piece of paper count for nothing unless they are actioned by people. Create your 90-day goals that tie into the company-wide goals and share them with the team, then help them create theirs, and make them visible to all.
3. Break each goal down into actionable pieces
A goal is an endpoint, but over time you will find that when you are setting many goals, they can be a little ambiguous in terms of whether they have been achieved or not. The best way to manage this is by introducing OPA’s or outcomes, projects, and activities.
For each goal clearly describe what the outcome of this goal is. In that way, there is no confusion about achievability. Next, identify what are the key projects to achieve this outcome. Like setting goals, try to limit the number of projects to around three. Lastly, and this is where the rubber hits the road, what are the activities that need to be done, and by whom and by when.
90-days is the perfect length to see measurable results with very little space for procrastination. But alas, without a commitment from you and the team, your 90-day plan could become an exercise in futility. There is only one way to avoid this.
The company, the leaders and the employees’ individual 90-day plans HAVE to be visible. They have to come alive, they have to be discussed at weekly team meetings and progress has to become the focus for everyone.
Be honest: how do you think your business goals are looking right now?
I sincerely hope that you will take on board these 4 pointers in creating and executing your next 90-day plans. With hindsight, how do you think you have managed your previous goals? Were they limited to 90-day chunks? Were there too many?
Were they relevant and embraced by all? Did everyone have their own that also tied into the company’s overall goals? Or maybe you did not have any clear goals: you not alone if that is the case.
Get your free template here
So, the last nugget of wisdom regarding your 90-day planning.
Unless it has value, the chances of success are low. So, what is the value? We have spoken about how to create and execute on your goals, but the last missing piece in the jigsaw is the emotion. Just like you would have heard that buying decisions are based predominantly on emotional decision making (and most of this is unconscious emotional thoughts), so is it with 90-day planning.
Achieving your goals needs to be “black or white”: you have either achieved them or not. Do not make compromises that we achieved our outcome at 90%. That is a fail. The reason why we need to be strict about this is we want the success of achieving a goal to be of even higher value. When we achieve “mission accomplished” it needs to be deserved, and when we achieve this we need a reward. So, when setting out your plans right in the beginning, agree on what the reward will be. When you achieve it – celebrate, and do it big!