The start of a new year is traditionally a time for new beginnings and making big plans for the next 12 months.

This New Year is the first for Plan B Marketing and, as such, is a welcome opportunity to look at what I have achieved in the first three months of my new business and plan for the success I want to achieve in 2019.

I intend to write more about my plans in another blog, but in this post I wanted to share with you a book I found very useful in my planning process.

I first came across The 12 Week Year (Brian P Moran, Michael Lennington) in January 2018, when I was at a critical stage in planning for the future of my previous business endeavour, Rant Marketing.

At that time, I was a director of The Spalding and South Holland Voice and trying to get its new marketing agency off the ground while still keeping all the other balls in the air that comes with running any kind of business.

Planning for a business for a whole year can be a very daunting, time consuming process, which can actually end up being a complete waste of time. You often find that in the space of 12 months, circumstances can change beyond all recognition, making any plans made in January null and void.

So I was interested in the concept put forward by The 12 Week Year, which, as the name suggests, breaks down your planning cycle to just three months at a time.

All systems go as the deadline approaches

We’ve all been there – you have had months to work on a project but the motivation is not there to get moving on it until the deadline looms. Then it’s all hands on deck and all systems go to finish the project on time.

The thinking in The 12 Week Year is that that kind of mentality is the downfall of many annual plans.

It’s easy to let things slide until Christmas is just around the corner and then suddenly you realise the end of the year is nigh and panic provides the motivation you need to get your head down and get on with the business of achieving your goals.

Instead, if you plan for just 12 weeks, the deadline is only ever just a few weeks away, motivating you to achieve the goals you set.

Also, the shorter time span means you are less likely to experience massive shifts in your overall circumstances, such as big changes in location or staffing, which could affect your plan.

Set weekly actions and tactics to reach goals

The book outlines how to set long term goals and then break them down into shorter term goals which you then set out to achieve in three months.

It promotes a system of setting weekly actions and tactics to achieve those goals.

As you are only doing this for 12 weeks at a time, the task is not as onerous as it would be if you were setting them for a whole year.

I had a go at doing this during that limbo land time between Christmas and New Year and found it a satisfying and rewarding process, which gave me a sharp focus on what I can do between now and the end of March to move Plan B Marketing forward and towards the longer term goals I have.

Of course, The 12 Week Year doesn’t just work for business planning. It’s also a useful tool if you want to work towards any life goal, such as saving for a big life event, losing weight or getting fit.

Measure your success

The system also looks at ways of measuring your success and scoring your tactics and activities to assess what works and what doesn’t, as well as how you can hold yourself accountable and stay motivated.

My Plan B Marketing plan is now neatly laid out in my bullet journal (that’s another recommendation for getting organised I’ll perhaps share with you another day), with the series of tactics and actions I intend to use over the next 12 weeks.

I can’t wait to see how I do. Watch this space.

In the meantime, why don’t you have a read yourself and give The 12 Week Year a go?

Let me know how you get on, or drop me a line with recommendations for business books you have read or your tips and tricks for setting and achieiving your goals. Email connect@traceysweetland.co.uk

Happy planning!

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