The 3 Step Business Plan

There’s an old saying…

“Success leaves clues”. Basically it means that if you want to achieve something you can follow in the footsteps of somebody who has already done it. It’s amazing what you can learn if you pay attention.

So, a couple of weeks ago I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about our business plans for the new year. Now I should take a moment to give a bit of background on my friend…

This guy is no slouch. He has built and sold very successful businesses during his career and it’s been a long time since he has had to work a day. Honestly, the guy could walk away from working and live off the residuals if he wanted to but he loves the challenges of working and building too much. He also loves being able to offer value and help others (<= there’s a HUGE key to success right there if you spotted it).

When I asked him about his plans for the new year he sighed a little bit as though he was about to make a confession. “Well…” he said, “this year I plan to do a lot better with my business. The company has been rather successful and for the last few years I allowed myself to get a little lazy.”

I was kind of shocked. I didn’t know the specifics of his business or income but I knew that, by most people’s standards, he was doing pretty amazing.

“Yeah…” he went on, “Since things were going well with the company I let myself get kind of sloppy, especially with where I was putting my time. This year I’m going to do an overhaul.”

“Do you know what you’re going to do, like, specifically?” I asked.

“Well,” he said as he chuckled to himself, “If you don’t know what you’re going to do specifically then you don’t know what you’re going to do at all. Here’s the plan…”

And with that, over the course of about 10 minutes, he gave me some great business advice that I believe is the bedrock of success. Sure, lots of people will read them, say that they “already knew that”, and then not follow the advice. I’d think twice before I’d dismiss these 3 tips, though… Like I said, this guy knows what he’s talking about.

So what were the top 3 lessons?

Focus on IPAs – Avoid getting lost in the jungle of busy-ness because that’s as much distraction as it is work. He said to break activities down into IPAs (Income Producing Activities) and NIPAs (Non-Income Producing Activities). Don’t get caught majoring in minors… Focus on IPAs.

Focus on traction points – You know the rule… 80% of your results will come from 20% of your activities. So much business activity is window-dressing… Makes a pretty show but has little impact. Learn to focus on the 20% that gives the greatest return. Build your offer. Build your team/contacts. Build your sales. If it doesn’t support those things it might not be worth your time.

Focus on a plan – Know the structure of your business then prioritize and make a plan. There’s an old saying: “If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.” Your plan has to reflect your IPAs and your traction points. Don’t just work on random pieces of your business and hope that it all fits together at some point. Be intentional. Hope is not a strategy.

The advice may seem simple but they take some thinking. Besides, who said steps toward success had to be complicated. I’ve been taking his advice to heart… I hope that you do to.

Here’s to your success!

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