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When I first started my business I worked hard, really hard. Just like you I’m sure. I was always looking for time to get more done, and once I finished a task it seemed there was another one there for me to do. My to-do list always seemed to get longer, and never shorter. I just assumed it was part owning my own business.

Then I met one of my mentors, Michael Port. Michael introduced me to the concept of a 90 day plan, and it changed my outlook on how I run my business.

Now my 90 day plan is one of the most important things I do. I’m certain that I would have failed or given up on my business long ago if it weren’t for my plans.

Why? Because as entrepreneurs we must take action on a regular basis to move our ideas and business forward. A 90 day plan helps you to do that. It helps to make sure the actions you take are in alignment with the goals you have for your business and life. With my 90 pay plan in place I can work smarter, not harder, so I can get more done, in less time, and with less stress.

Do you have a 90 day plan? If not, you need one.

There are many formats for creating a quarterly business plan, but whichever you choose there are some key elements you should always consider:

1. Work Life Integration

One of the biggest mistakes I see entrepreneurs make is to work tirelessly on their business goals, but then leave nothing in the tank for their family, health, and other life goals. They’ve got it backwards. You should first consider the kind of life you want to live, and then build a business to support that. Before you begin any business plan, make sure you’re clear on the big picture first.

2. The Perfect Length Of Time

90 days is the perfect length of time for business planning. It is long enough to achieve some significant results, yet short enough that you are rewarded for your progress on a frequent basis. 90 days also coincides with the seasons and standard business quarters, making it easier to fit your plan into the natural cycles throughout the year. Of course you should still take time to consider your long term goals at least a couple of times a year as they will ultimately influence your 90 Day Plan.

3. Start With An End In Mind

Before you can create a plan, you need to decide what you want to achieve. Ask yourself how much money you want to earn, how many sales you want to make, what projects you may want to undertake, and which processes or systems you should create to help your business run more smoothly. Knowing what you want to achieve in the next 90 days is necessary to creating a solid plan.

4. Connect The Dots

Now that you’ve figured out where you want get to, you can create a roadmap. This is the core of your 90 Day Plan. It’s essentially a breakdown of all the steps you need to take to move you from where you are now, to where you want to end up. Figure out every step along the way. By connecting the dots between each step you’ll get a clear picture of what will be required to achieve your goals. The more detailed you are, the easier it will be to execute your plan and the greater your chance of success. I have found that mind mapping is the best way to break down my goals and understand everything that will be necessary to achieve them.

5. Schedule Your Plan

You can have the most detailed and brilliant 90 Day Plan, but if you don’t execute it, it’s a waste of time. Now that you’ve connected the dots and know everything you must do to achieve your goals, it’s time to schedule those tasks. Block time in your calendar to do everything in your plan. Remember that quote from Benjamin Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” He was a smart dude. Listen to him.

6. Don’t Overestimate

I’ve found that when I sit down to do my 90 Day Plan I get excited. I start thinking about all of the possibilities in my business and the next thing I know my 90 Day Plan includes more work than the entire team at Apple could handle. It’s important to remain realistic about the goals you set. Prioritize your goals and focus on those things that will get you the most results. Practice 80/20 as I suggested in this post . You’re better off achieving a small number of goals, than failing to achieve a lot of goals. As Bill Gates said,’’Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.’’ The same applies to what you can achieve in one quarter, one month, one day, and one hour. Focus.

7. Embrace The Worker Bee Mentality

My friend and wicked-smart entrepreneur, Chase Reeves who is co-founder of Fizzle, gave me this nugget. Approach your work from two distinct mindsets – CEO mode and Worker Bee mode. When you’re doing big picture thinking, like creating your 90 Day Plan, you should be in CEO mode. Think big and strategically. However, once you’ve done your planning and strategizing, it’s time to get down to work. That’s when you switch to Worker Bee mode. It’s time to execute and get the work done. It’s not the time to revisit your plan and question your strategies. Just do the work you’ve already laid out in your plan. Schedule some time every week to be in CEO mode, but you’ll get more done if you execute in Worker Bee mode.

8. Prepare For Change

Chances are that your plan will change. It’ll take you longer to complete a part of your plan than expected, you’ll have forgotten important steps to achieving your goals, or you’ll change your goals all together. That’s fine. A plan can always be adjusted. Be prepared to revisit your 90 Day Plan on a regular basis and adjust as needed. Changing your plan should be expected.

When I work with my clients one-on-one we create personalized 90 Day Plans that work best for their needs and strengths, but regardless of the format and customization, we always consider the key points I’ve listed above. If you do the same you’ll have the foundations for a solid plan to help you succeed in business.

I also work with my Mastermind members on their 90 Day Plan every quarter. If you’d like to learn more about my Mastermind and be notified when I open the doors to more members, be sure to subscribe to my mailing list.

Do you use 90 Day Plans? I’d love to hear about the benefits you’ve experienced as a result. And if you don’t, why not? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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