“A vision without a plan is just a dream.  A plan without a vision is just drudgery… but a vision with a plan can change the world.”

– Proverb

Most of us spend time toiling over our “vision” or “mission” statement.  Then we set our goals.  Then we get depressed about not reaching them.  Repeat.  Year after year.

There are two popular goal-setting techniques:

  1. SMART Goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Based
  2. DUMB Goals: Dream-Driven, Uplifting, Motivating, Bold

Whether you subscribe to S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting or D.U.M.B. goal-setting, none of it really matters without a plan to execute.  All the goals in the world won’t get to success if you don’t plan and then execute the plan.

So, what are you going to do differently this year?

For Your Business

We all have big goals for our business.  I don’t think any of us are in this to be broke.  However, the goals we set can sometimes hinder us.  Really. What do you do when you don’t reach a goal? Do you get sad? Depressed? Anxious? Resigned? Excited?  Each time we have a goal, what most of us forget is to make a plan to reach the goal.  We look at the goal from where we are standing, instead of looking at where we are standing from the goal.

I’m not crazy (well maybe a little).

Set your goal.  Then write down, type, or draw every step back to where you are today.  Yep, you read that right: backward.  See, when you set a goal and it’s off into the future, you can’t really imagine what it’s going to take.

I like to do this with Post-It Notes on a wall, whiteboard or poster board.  I should own stock in Post-Its!  I use them because I can move them.  As I start working through what it will take to reach my goal and develop my plan, I find it easier to make changes if I can move the steps.  I can also regroup if I fall short.  I do this old school without technology because that works for me.  I then take this information and work with my assistant to apply dates and dependencies.

OOH, new work… dependencies!  See, sometimes when we look from where we are standing, we miss the dependencies.  If I’m building a brand, I can’t order new cards, until I have a logo.  I can’t get a logo until I find a designer or do it myself.  I can’t build my website until I buy a domain and hosting.  Are you getting it?

Each week, my team reviews our goals, and we make adjustments to our execution plan as needed.  We don’t fail, we learn.  We don’t stop, we recalculate.  Every step we complete, we CELEBRATE.

For and With Your Clients

A lot of our clients depend on us to help them reach their goals.  A lot of them also forget to share those goals with us — so it’s up to us to make sure we are on the same page.

When I onboard new clients, I always do an intake meeting that allows me to gather information.  Where are they in their business? What have they accomplished? What’s next?  We always establish 3 goals for the first 30 days – that we can agree on.  If they tell me they want to make $10k in 30 days, I ask what’s already in place? What did they make last month? Last quarter? Last year?  Anything is possible, but let’s figure out what’s probable.

Becoming an active participant in the goal-setting strategy with your clients can mean the difference in meeting and exceeding expectations.  It’s also easier to stay motivated when you understand the end goal.

Once those goals have been established, you can apply deliverable dates and set up those dependencies.  That way, when something is late, you can clearly articulate that to your client, and that keeps your relationship solid.  You can also use this to set milestones that will help you determine if and when it’s time to renegotiate your contract.

No matter how you set your goals, how you work your plan is what matters. Set big goals, reach for the stars, and you will always be among them!


Dionne Thomas


Dionne Thomas is IVAA’s Membership Director and Founder of The Zeva Group. 

Learn more about Dionne at zevagroup.com.