First Quarter\’s Over: 10 Simple Steps You Can Still Take to Make This Your Best Year Yet!

By Sheri McConnell
NABBW’s Entrepreneurial Publishing Expert

One – Organize and Purge

Remove clutter for clarity. If you start here first and organize parts of your life, you will be far more productive. Bring in a 3rd party if needed and clear away the old life to make room for the new.

Two – Buy Simple Planning Tools

My favorite CEO planning tools are a giant Write On Wipe Off Board (my idea of being in Nerd heaven) and large Post-it Notes. Both are for planning new ways to work the M’s. Marketing, Money, and Mindsets. I use these tools to work on my own business and my clients’ businesses. For a wall sized board option, try this large inexpensive board you can get at Office Depot.

Three – Plan Now to Step Up and Step In

Here is my method for planning… note I have 4 kids, two weenie dogs, and a team to manage. Having so much on my plate has forced me to cut through to the highest ROI strategies. This method is all you need to get going and get in the trenches, don’t over think everything. People just want to take some steps with you and accomplish small successes one at a time. Get your brilliance out there so they can get started and let them grow while you grow.

Plan what to do next in your business using this method:

  • Pick a theme for the next six months or for the year. Mine this year is: Speaking at Events, last year it was: Do More PR on TV and Radio) I have always found that when I am focused on one theme and take small steps toward that theme, the universe listens because I am very clear. When I am confused, the universe has absolutely no idea what to give me.;)
  • Loosely map out the big projects and events for the year. I do this across the bottom of my big Write On Wipe Off Board. The open months tell me where I have room for the new creations!
  • Now, move and take the next 3 steps in front of you. Speed is money, delegate and choose steps with a higher ROI, and you get to higher profits a lot quicker. Need help, hire a mentor or coach to help you sift through your decisions so you can learn how to do this on your own.

Four – Know the Three Things That Most Often Get in The Way of Your Dreams

Over the years, I have found that the following three areas are the most common areas that hold us back. I give them to you today as a gift so that your blind spots can be illuminated.

  1. Indecisiveness – Decisions are always forward movement even if they end up being the wrong decisions.
  2. Slow Speed – Repeat after me. “I am liquid, I am not rigid and I flow with my business eroding away all obstacles.”
  3. Faith In Yourself – This is the number one reason we don’t make decisions and move to slow. You have to believe it before you can achieve it. The best coach in the world can not help you believe. This happens within you.

Five – Commit to Achieve and then Recommit

Once you have developed faith in yourself and in your own abilities (and there is no other way to do this but to dive into the trenches and do it), then you only need to commit to achieve each goal you set. Once we have faith in ourselves, business becomes a rinse n repeat process… aka, a behavior of you committing and recommitting over and over again.

Six – Create A FUN JOB

Remember, you are the architect of your life and your business. You can change ANYTHING at ANY TIME. Watch out for the times you will inevitably go on autopilot and find yourself not liking something you created. Also remember that you are the mirror in your life and business. Your clients, your team, your vendors are all reacting to the the energy you send out. Be authentic, dependable, fun, and abundant in everything you do and you will find that you have created an incredibly FUN JOB for yourself and those you have chosen to work with.

Seven – Position Yourself

Pay attention to your choices. Subconsciously, everyone is making assumptions about you based on what you say yes and no to. For instance, do you write articles or author books, do you speak at workshops or provide keynotes to conferences, do you run a company of one or have a team… the list goes on and on. People are making assumptions all the time whether we like it or not. You need to be aware of this and you need to leverage this human behavior in everything you do from now on. I have a long list of ways I have my clients think bigger and act bigger in this area.

Eight – Slow Down

The paradox of time in business… Time is money and what I have learned is that the more realistic and balanced I became about the concept of managing and leveraging time, the more magnetic my company became. When I respected myself enough to create a schedule that included time for me to just “be”, I was able to “be” whatever my team, clients, or family needed later on. Slowing down also allows us to create in a conscious way so that we avoid mistakes in our lives and in our businesses.

Nine – Decide What You Will Leverage

In business, we have time, money, and expertise to leverage. That’s it. You can create more leverage by creating something once to sell over and over again. Could be a membership, an infoproduct, a software, a manufactured product, and so on. If you must provide a service, then go directly to managing others to provide that service and you skip a huge hurdle right away and introduce scalability (leverage) to your business. There are many more examples… your job today is to start leveraging something as soon as possible.

Ten – Write It All Down

Busy CEOs such as ourselves have a huge amount of information in our heads. Create processes in your life to to get it all out of your head and on paper or in virtual systems. I keep track of various parts of the business on a 4 x 6 write on wipe off board on my office wall as well as using Google Calendar, Google Email, and Basecamp to manage all the different parts of my life and business. This allows me to move from project to project faster as well as manage a team and a family because everything is written down somewhere. Be patient with yourself while you work on creating ways to track information you consistently need access to.

Sheri McConnell is the CEO of the Smart Women’s Institute of Entrepreneurial Learning (formerly the National Assn of Women Writers-2001). You can visit Sheri, access her free article archive, and grab lots of free stuff at http://www.smartwomeninstitute.com. Sheri lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband, their four children, a weenie dog, and three hermit crabs.