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Jeff: As a business owner, how far ahead should I be planning out, should I have a 1-year plan, a 5-year plan, a 30-year? Dave: You should have all of those. I usually look at things quarterly when I work with my clients. Every quarter I sit down with them. We review what we accomplished in the last quarter, and then we say, what are we going to accomplish in the next quarter? In fact, one of things that I do to help businesses make progress is I talk about the difference between a vision and a target. Vision is a clear description of where you want your business to be, and I usually aim for five years from now.
It's kind of hard to project your business beyond five years, so we have a clear written document about one page. This says this is what the business is going to be five years from now. Then we break that down backwards. We work backwards from that and create small, byte-sized targets that were going to hit quarter by quarter to get ourselves there. It's really easy to get discouraged as a business owner if you don't feel like you are making progress. So if you set small, manageable targets, things that you know you can hit but you are going to stretch just a little bit, and then you hit them; that's actually very motivational and keeps you moving.
So the answer is yes you want to have all of those plans, but the big chunks that I would look at are five years, one year, and quarterly.
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