I was recently asked to be a guest speaker by Kirsty James of the Colony Networking Group at her January networking event. Kirsty said….
‘It’s January everybody is talking about goals and plans, can you do something around this subject but make it more interesting and interactive? Everybody has heard the same old stuff and to be honest its boring.’
And yes, I agree, everybody is going on and on about goals and plans at the beginning of the year. Now, I’m a great believer in goals and plans, but quite frankly, it even started to bore me!
As a business mentor I regularly talk with my clients about the value of having goals and more importantly a plan to put the goals into action. Small businesses need to keep moving, we need to keep changing and we need to keep growing. If we don’t, things happen around us and to us and we know where that can lead!
We all know of small businesses who go out of business every week. I don’t want that to happen to your small business, so please have a goal for what you want your business to achieve.
So Kirsty and me got our heads together and asked ourselves the question. ‘How do we make goals and plans more interesting and interactive? What do the Colony networking attendees really need in order to take their business to the next level?’
And we decided that the most important part of drawing up goals and plans was actually putting them into action. That's the hard part!
We all know people who have written a beautiful business plan but in reality most of them are lying in a drawer somewhere gathering dust!
How do we stop this happening? What is the best way to take action and actually do the tasks in the plan. Also how can we find them all together in one place, organised, clear to use, monitor, update them and track progress.
The answer is using a business tool that will help you turn your goals and plans into something real.
There are lots of tools out there, here are some tools that will help you get stuff done asap. I have used all 4 tools at various times and they are all good for different things.
The idea is to find a tool which you like and which suits what you are doing. Because if you don’t like it, I’ll tell you now that the plan is not going to happen.
You need to love the tool you choose and therefore you will love your plan. That way you are more likely to open the tool, look at your plan, update it and more importantly do the tasks in it.
The first 3 tools are all online and are FREE - yes my favourite price!! You just need to Google the name, create an account and off you go…
The 4th tool is nice for those of us who still like pen and paper!
Trello has been around since 2011, I would recommend it for ‘to-do’ lists and simple plans. It's based around boards, each project is a board and on the boards you create cards and add tasks to the cards.
The great thing about Trello is it is visual and everyone can see at a glance how things are going. It is also great if you have to move tasks to different stages.
The tasks open to add lots of information such as description, comments, due dates, emends, colour codes, assign to other people, add attachments to documents.
You can share tasks and even share the whole board (project).
You can move the cards around and drag and drop the tasks onto different cards.
Trello will send you emails to remind you to do a task and also if somebody else updates your board.
Asana in a word is brilliant! I love it because its a proper project management tool.
It was created in 2008 by by facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz to improve productivity at Facebook and stop emails!
Its great for more complicated projects and plans and I also use it as my CRM (customer relationship management).
I find it easier to see the bigger picture (the whole project) than Trello as it has reporting functionality.
You set up different projects in the column on the left, then in the middle are the tasks relating to the project.
You can group tasks by adding heading, allocate people to tasks, add document attachments, due dates, colour codes and subtasks.
ASANA used as a CRM...
Milanote is the new kid on the block, it only came out in 2017 and is yet to have an app.
Like Trello it is also based around a bulletin board and is very visual. I would recommend it for anything with lots of images such as website design, graphic designs or interior design. It would also be good for creating a vision board. I’m using it to plan a holiday later this year.
You can have 1000 notes, images or links for free.
You can have boards within boards and share boards with other people.
You can drag and drop from anywhere including outside of Milanote.
You can add colour codes, lines to join up notes or images and check lists.
4. BULLET JOURNAL
I find that lots of people, including myself still like writing lists with pen and paper and ticking things off. I love that sense of achievement! Bullet journal is a sophisticated to-do list.
Basically its a to-do list with different bullets:
. is a task
o is an event
- is a note
* is an important bullet
x completed task
> means carry task forward
It’s easy to pick up, try it and see how you get on.
A good way to use these tools it to pick Trello, Asana or Milanote whichever one you like best. Put your plan in the tool, then use Bullet Journal on a weekly basis for those smaller tasks you want to tick off using pen & paper.
Remember doing lots of small tasks, do all add up and you will reap the benefits and get nearer towards the big goal.
Do you need help putting your plan into a business tool?
If you want to know more about how to use these tools or how to use them for your business plan, I offer 1-1 sessions or group workshops. The sessions are very practical and you will go home with your goals and plans set up in the selected tool, ready for you to take action. All you have to do is make it happen! For an initial chat, get in touch.