90-Day Plan: Benefits, Planning, and Potential Pitfalls
Have you reached a milestone in your business where you’re unsure where to turn next? Maybe you have an idea of where you want to stretch but aren’t sure how to get there. Now is the time to get out a fresh notebook (or open a blank digital document) and your calendar. It’s time to brainstorm and plan.
Today, we’re talking 90-day plans. A 90-day plan is a short-term goal strategy focusing on achieving something substantial in your business.
90-Day Plan Benefits
One of the top benefits of a 90-day plan is that it allows you to take your overarching goals for the year (or five years for your major Boss Babes) and break them down into palatable chunks. Longer goals are subject to change. Being forced to pivot one’s year-long plans can frustrate any businesswoman. Keep your annual goals broad and focus on bringing your laser focus in quarterly.
In a 90-day setting, you get honest with yourself and your goals. Like seasons and school semesters, businesses run on 3-month stints or quarters. When applying a 90-day format to specific business goals, you fast-track ideas, beta test products or partnerships, and explore new processes to see what will accelerate your company to the next milestone. These sprints allow you to strategize and keep what works while learning from what fails.
Creating strategies that focus on the next 90 days allows you to develop projects and skills with a sense of urgency that are measurable with the proper planning. This method will enable you to be creative in seeking the end goal. With the pressure of a 90-day deadline, you will find yourself thinking outside the box more and inviting more minds to help brainstorm solutions.
Planning (Be S.M.A.R.T.E.R.)
The S.M.A.R.T. acronym is everywhere, but I love the S.M.A.R.T.E.R. version. Here are some S.M.A.R.T.E.R. questions to ask to get you brainstorming:
- Look back over your 1–5-year plans.
- Is there anything specifically from those plans you’ve wanted to accomplish but haven’t?
- What skills can you develop to serve your audience better?
- What does success look like for your company quantifiably?
- How will you track your progress?
- How will you know when you’ve reached a milestone?
- What goal is achievable in 90 days?
- What resources can you rely on to support this goal in the short term?
- How does this goal relate to the overall mission and vision of your company and brand?
- How well does the 90-day goal align with what your client market needs right now?
- How well does it align with what your business needs right now to serve them?
- Always put time parameters around your goals. Once you are clear on what you want, declare a by when so you have something to look forward to and a pausing place to reflect on progress.
- Once you complete the 90 days, assess your progress and pivot accordingly.
- What will you do to improve your results?
- What lessons are you taking from the last 90 days into the next?
- What worked?
- How can you do more of that?
- What didn’t?
- How can you pivot?
The adage goes, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Goal setting has many strategies for success. It also has many pitfalls. Planning is essential to a successful goal, but how do you know which pitfalls to avoid?
- Not knowing when to say “enough.” You know your boundaries and limitations. Don’t give yourself more than you can handle. If this is your first attempt at a 90-day goal, start with just one goal. Overwhelming yourself does nothing to keep you focused on what needs to get done. Use this first stint to tackle a significant purpose in your business or professional development. (i.e., a professional course you’ve been meaning to take.)
- You haven’t considered your personal goals and activities. Your personal growth, self-care, and downtime should factor into how you plan your next three months. If you know your week-long family vacation is pending, plan to have a few Instagram reels in the backlog for that week. Is your 2 pm meditation hour untouchable? Please put it on the calendar. Block time that is important to you so that your goals do not begin to frustrate you or distract you from other meaningful areas of your life. Remember your business should support your life not the other way around.
- Doing it all yourself. A major pitfall to being a solopreneur is wearing all the hats. Look for opportunities to offload tasks outside your Zone of Genius. Seek opportunities to barter with another person in your network. If you have the capital to do so, hire a Virtual Assistant to be the taskmaster on a short-term contract.
- Not holding yourself accountable. Get an accountability partner or schedule digital reminders to keep you on task. A partner is your best bet. Meet with them weekly or bi-weekly to check in or co-work together towards your 90-day goals. Having someone to flesh ideas and frustrations out with will aid in getting through this season triumphantly.
Tools for Success
- Objectivity – You’re doing what is best for your business and the audience you serve. How will the goals and strategies you use to accomplish them improve your skills and the company to suit the client/customer best?
- Tracking – Utilize a calendar (paper or digital) to keep track of dates and deadlines. Keep track of your goals with a project management system like Asana or ClickUp.
- Rewards – Incentivize yourself with rewards big enough to keep you going but not so small that it’s not worth the effort (just out of reach, if possible).
The purpose of 90-day goal setting is to take advantage of the 3-month sweet spot. It’s long enough to achieve something substantial, close enough to feel a sense of urgency to stay focused with a clear end in sight and leaves no time for procrastination to foil your plans.
If you need help getting started with your first 90-day plan, High Tides offers several solutions through our Vision Roadmap and 90 Day Side Hustle Intensive programs. If 90 days feels daunting, get a jump start with one of our full day VIP sessions. Working with a High Tides coach, you can plan your 90-day goals and complete a major milestone in just one day.