Every time I drive by Freedom Bank, I see an example of the value of clarity. By clarity, I don’t mean the windows are really clean, though they probably are.
I mean I see the results from the clarity of purpose that Freedom has.
Back when Freedom was in a trailer, it was already a substantial bank. Some folks might have driven by and observed a junky old trailer. I drove by and saw a guy on a mission. He didn’t care if he had to open a bank in a trailer while the real bank got built. He just opened it, rather than waiting for the perfect time (which just never seems to appear).
My understanding is that Freedom made seven figures in loans on their opening day in 2005. Not bad for a trailer.
Surely someone at the Federal Reserve, or the Montana Association of Bankers or some group like that was looking at this and thinking “A trailer? Can we allow that?”
Didn’t stop Freedom.
About 18 months ago, when the trailer bank was still in the Nite Owl parking lot, tourists would drive by and stop and get a picture of themselves in front of the trailer bank. If you didn’t know any better, you might have thought it was a stunt by the Duckboy people. As I hear it, some even stopped in to open a token account there, presumably so they could go home and tell their friends about those goofy Unabomber types from Montana who open banks in old trailers.
Wonder what they thought when they came back this past summer and found Freedom’s building to be the nicest business location in town? Inside that building you’ll find a bank whose asset base has exploded since opening in April 2005. By this time last year, they had reached over $40 million in assets. Word on the street is that they may have doubled that by now. Clarity of purpose.
So what does this clarity of purpose have to do with 2008? Simple. This is THE time of the year that provides us with crystal clear evidence of our needs for improvement, no matter how successful this year has been.
Over the next couple of weeks, take a few hours to yourself – away from the office, away from the family. Think back about what worked in 2007 and what didn’t. Put some hard thought into what you want to make happen in 2008, but don’t stop there.
Break those 2008 goals down into bite-sized chunks that you can measure. For example, my big audacious goal for 2008 is to double my company’s revenue, but that’s very difficult to do if I stop elaborating there.
Instead, I have to lay out a plan for where that revenue is going to come from, who is going to do the work, where the raw materials (so to speak) and other resources will come from and most importantly, what I will change or add to my marketing so that the flow of clients will support that goal *without* making my head explode. That last part is rather important.
I suspect that your business has similar goals. Break them down into workable pieces and then break those down into steps so you can chip away at them till they’re done. Don’t stop working on this process until you have dates and time frames.
Because brainstorming and planning thoughts are rarely linear, tools like MindJet and Freemind are great for organizing your thoughts.
Google Adwords pioneer Perry Marshall made a comment about this last April when I visited with him. He said, “Lean into the fear.” Like the first moments of your first bike ride, the hardest thing about completing a new project is taking the first step.
A well thought out plan will give you the confidence to “lean in” and take that first step, following your plan will provide the clarity of purpose needed to nail that goal.
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