The power of planning | TravelResearchOnline

The power of planning

There is power in planning when considering your business goals for 2012.

Planning is simply the steps we take toward achieving our goals. Planning is your guide and accountability process.

The important part about a business plan is that it be written by you, the owner of your business. For the home based agent — being the owner of your desk, your computer, your current/past travel customers and your business contacts, constitutes being the business proprietor.  Take ownership!

There is something profound about putting pen to paper, or in computer terms, key-stoking your plan into a computer.  Once you write something it begins to take on a life. You now have something to look at that is concrete.   Although it is concrete on paper, as you progress, you are encouraged to make path corrections. Life will continue to happen around you. Circumstances of life might temporarily hinder you, but there will also be times when you are catapulted forward because of a great opportunity.  This is when you need to allow for path corrections. Tweaking your plan so that you always have correct directions to your ultimate business goal.

Start out with a basic statement. Call it your business purpose statement. State your dream or goal in clear, specific words.  Being able to state your dream or goal in clear words helps you make a plan more complete.

When writing your plan, try not to use vague statements like “make more sales” because they are not specific enough. Instead use words like “close two cruise sales a week”. Depending on your market, this might mean one 7-day and one 3-day cruise or two 7-day cruises. Being as specific as possible will help you plan how you are going to accomplish your business growth goal.

Do a timeline of when you want it done. Take out your calendar and set your timelines. I like to build my timeline by working backwards from my end goal. This gives me a timeline of each step that needs to be done to get to the harvest of my plan. A timeline is important and just like a calendar gives you an overview as to whether or not you are on target.

How much do you want to earn this year in your travel business? This number needs to be broken down to how many closed sales per month, per week, etc. If you are doing groups, how many groups? And what is the number of passengers needed in each group to meet the goal?

It is amazing what can be accomplished when you consistently dedicate time to your plan of action. Even 15, 30 or 45 minutes a day can have a tremendously powerful impact on your business.

Budgeting of your resources includes both time and money.  We often think of resources only as dollars, but time is our most precious asset. You need to outline your plan of action to account for these resources. This is where many people fail. They underestimate how much time and money it will take to achieve your business goals. People will often say to me “I just don’t have the time” and my reply is “well you are not getting anymore – time that is”. What is the alternative? You either make time or you look back and have regrets.  As for money resources, this also requires a concentrated effort of planning and action.

By planning, you can eliminate some tasks you are now doing to make time for more important tasks. By better using your time each day, you can achieve more. Remember being busy does not equate to being successful. It is what you achieve that makes you successful.

Power Tips to Planning

  • Have a written plan and make yourself accountable
  • Have timelines and make them measurable
  • Build in a budget of both money and time
  • Review your plan often and allow for corrections

Travel is a huge reward that customers purchase for themselves.  Practice what you preach, and don’t forget to include some personal rewards for milestones accomplished. As you review your plan along the way and see that you have kept on target or maybe you landed a nice group–­plan a reward. That might mean buying a gift for yourself, going out for a special lunch, or taking a half day off.  Whatever the celebration or reward, be sure to acknowledge the reason. You are moving forward because of the power of planning!

Keith Powell is a renowned travel industry speaker and author with 35 years of experience in the business. He’s crisscrossed the globe from Bangkok to Cannes, from Rio de Janeiro to Vancouver presenting programs both domestically and internationally. Known as “The Business Revivalist,” Keith has presented to client groups ranging from associations and airlines to cruise lines and Fortune 500 companies. His book “The Transforming Power of Achievement” is available at www.keithpowellspeaker.com.  Be sure to visit his facebook page for business caffeine: Coffee With Keith

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