One Project at a Time
Business planning is made up of three parts: 1. the outcomes you want to accomplish by the end of the year. 2. the disciplines that you will do daily, weekly and monthly to accomplish the outcomes and lastly, the projects/systems/operations that if completed would great impact and improve the chances for success in 2010. There is one important and enlightening lesson that I learned last year that I’d like to share with you. By focusing on all my attention, energy, time and resources on one big project at a time, I increased my income and more importantly, the feeling of accomplishment carries through to getting the next project completed. Doing more than one project at the same time doesn’t get more done and doesn’t make you more efficient. The more you switch between projects, the longer it takes to re-focus attention and resources. Projects take planning and with the right start, you can ensure that the plan you create at the beginning of your project is an effective management tool throughout the project.
Step 1: Be specific what you want the project to do and look like when you are finished. For example: In 2010, I want to increase my past client referrals an additional 20% from 2009 numbers. My project will include the following: verifying that the current contact information of my past clients is accurate, classifying my past clients as A,B or C referral sources and create and set up marketing touches along with email/phone calls and face-to-face meetings based on the classification for the full calendar year.
Knowing the specifics about your plan helps you envision it more clearly, and anything you hold clearly in your mind you move towards that much faster. Plus, having specific goals have the added benefit of being measurable.
Step 2: Measurable. The project will have phases, tasks and milestone. It is the core of the project schedule. Start by listing the major pieces of your project and then map out the minor pieces (tasks) within each major piece. Continue to break down each piece until you have sufficient level of detail to support your areas to measure. Measuring will keep you motivated. If you weren’t able to track your progress, you’d lose interest.
Step 3: Time-bound. Projects must have a starting point and a completion date. Without specific deadlines, many projects get overtaken by the day to day activities and the demands of life. When planning your project, you need to create a timeline along with blocking the hours needed to complete the project. This time needs to be uninterrupted. Turn off your cell and Outlook so that you can concentrate on the tasks.
Step 4: Celebrate!! When you complete a project, take time to celebrate. Most of our competition only works in the business not on the business. By completing a project that will significantly make a difference in your 2010 outcome, you’ve accomplished more than 95% of your competition.
My challenge for you this year is to complete these two projects: One that will significantly improve your customer’s experience from first contact to closing the transaction and two: increase your percentage of referrals from your past clients. If you can create a flawless execution in these two areas of your business, you will have one incredible year.
To Your Success!!
Tom Ninness is Vice President/Regional Production Manager for Cherry Creek Mortgage in Denver, CO. He is also the President of Summit Champions, Inc. and creator of the “The 90 Day Journey to Your Sales Success”, a powerful 90 day action plan for the sales professional. To learn more about The Journey and Summit Champions, go to www.90dayjourney.com, www.summitchampions.com or contact Tom at [email protected]