The old adage, plan your work and work your plan, is a cornerstone of the foundation for success. It has never been more true than right now. The challenge for most small business owners and entrepreneurs is they don’t know how to effectively plan for growing their business. If they do plan, they typically struggle with implementing the plan.

The one thing we can plan on is the plan not going according to plan. To that point, it’s important to have a process to anticipate and adapt to the ongoing calibration of the plan so that in the end, the intended objectives are achieved and there is cause for celebration.

Here is a proven process for creating a success plan that works and executing your plan for success effectively.

We refer to this as the 5×5 Traction method. Five elements for planning for success and five elements for staying on track by celebrating and calibrating.

The important elements of a compelling success plan answer these five key questions:

  1. Where are you headed over the next 3-5 years and what do you want your business look like when you get there? Include desired revenue, quantity & quality of ideal clients, characteristics & qualities of employees, contributions you will make, solutions you are known for, and the unique qualifications that make you your ideal clients’ first choice.
  2. Why does your company, product, and/or service exist?
  3. What milestones do you need to measure and achieve over the next 12 months?
  4. How specifically will you accomplish those milestones?
  5. Who is going to do what by when to complete the projects and segments for each of your milestones?

Once you have taken the time to bring forth and capture your best strategic thinking into a plan that answers the questions above, you have to get into gear and move forward. After all, you can’t navigate a parked car.

The most important thing to do each and every day, when planning for success, is to review your plan as if it is already achieved. As you review your plan, follow these five processes for achievement at the start and end of each day. You can remember these five steps by the word IMAGE.

I – Intention. Set your intention not just for the day, but for each segment of your day. You may need to show up differently in different meetings. One meeting may need you to be really creative while another may require you to be more compassionate.

M – Magic. Look for and notice the magic, luck, or even miracles that show up throughout the day. These are the things you can’t plan, yet they show up to help you along your way. The more you look, the more you’ll see. They are all around you. It could be a chance meeting with the perfect partner for a joint venture or a prospect you thought you lost six months ago calling in with a big order because the company they went with failed them.

A – Affirmations. What uniquely qualifies you to succeed? Have that at the ready in your mind for when the going gets tough or the wind is knocked out of your sails. A few favorites of the clients I coach are: I am resilient. I am resourceful. I am deserving of great success. I get big things done.

To boost the effectiveness of your affirmations, flip them into a question and let your mind remind you why that affirmation is true. Why am I so resilient? How am I always so resourceful? What makes me so deserving of great success? How am I so effective at getting big things done?

Listen for the evidence. It’s there. If the B.S. meter goes off, listen for what you may need to learn, do, or become in order to ultimately answer in the affirmative.

G – Gratitude. Look for the progress. Any progress. What we focus on expands. When we look for and notice progress, we feel better than if all we see are things going wrong. Progress is happiness. When we feel good we do good.

E – Expansion. The premise to this is that things happen for our betterment and not to our detriment. What we may judge as a set back may be a set up for success or a breakthrough we don’t recognize. Take the time to review what went well and what needs to improve.

Ask yourself: What did I learn? How did I grow or improve? What did I accomplish? How did I contribute or make things better? If the day could have gone better, ask: What did I learn about myself? How can I avoid this from happening again? What will I do going forward?

Use the IMAGE prompts above to journal the daily success of implementing your plan. Each week, look back over each day and calibrate your plan. Each month, look back over the weeks to calibrate your plan. You will be amazed at your progress. Remember, progress equals happiness when planning for success.

Make it up, make it fun, and get it done!