We have all had the situation where we set out to do something, got going right away, and didn’t think it through – then realize we have to scrap what we were working on and start over or settle for something not nearly as good as intended. Such a waste of time! It can happen in our personal lives and our businesses.  

When your business is growing and you are very busy, starting over can be very frustrating, and settling for less could affect your bottom line. However, if you spend a little time thinking the situation through, you are much more likely to have a successful outcome. 

Here are 3 questions to help you be successful. Ask yourself:

  1. What is the outcome I am looking for?

Get clear about what you are trying to achieve or make happen. What does success look like? When you focus on this clear outcome, you avoid going off on tangents and wasting time. And you are more likely to get what you wanted.

Let’s take an example of hiring someone to help with marketing so you have more time for a new project just getting started. Being clear about what the new person needs to be successful with doing your marketing before the new project starts will help you determine exactly what type of person you need. 

  1. What are the roadblocks or stumbling blocks that could get in the way and what can I do to avoid them?

Think about what might stop you from successfully achieving your desired outcome.  

Continuing with the same example above, the stumbling block could be that you will have to spend a lot of time initially training an inexperienced new employee. Because your time is tight before the new project starts, you might consider hiring a more experienced person – or put a plan in place for someone else to train that employee.

  1. What is most important to get it right?

This question focuses your efforts on getting a result that will work best for your situation. Again, not tangents and no settling.

Using the same example above, you realize that you will still be working with this new hire even after the project is completed. So getting it right would mean choosing an employee that you enjoy working with, who has the right attitude, and is willing to learn and grow. 

These 3 questions are universal whether you have a big project, or a small project, whether it is business or personal. You can use these questions to help you with a big project (such as an annual strategic plan or hiring an employee as above), or even for a small plan to clean up spilled spaghetti on your rug.  

  1. Outcome: all clean, looking like nothing happened.  
  2. Stumbling Blocks: Spaghetti could get ground into the rug, the stain could be left, a smell could be left behind.  
  3. Important to Get Right: Food is not scrubbed deeper into the carpet

Now, with these questions answered, you can create a clear and focused plan to achieve your successful outcome. Bigger projects might take longer to develop your plan, but a smaller project (like the spaghetti on the rug example) might only take 20 seconds to plan (scrape up as much of the spill as possible with a knife before using a rag to clean). In the long run, your plan can save you time and money.

For help developing a plan for the future of a project or your annual business plan, schedule a free call with me here.