The Easiest Way to Actually Stay Focused and Stick to Your Plan

written by Racheal Cook MBA

At this point in the Unsexy Secrets to Sustainable Success series, it’s pretty clear that the creating – and sticking to – a strategic plan is the key differentiator between women entrepreneurs who thrive and those who are stuck in survival mode in their business.

But… there’s another challenge many entrepreneurs struggle with.

Us entrepreneurs tend to be AMAZING at coming up with the big dreams and ideas…

… and not so great following through.

That’s why simply planning isn’t enough.

We need to integrate systems into our businesses that help us to stay focused in implementation mode while also helping us to be agile and resilient to whatever the world throws at us.

That’s why these two practices – a weekly CEO Date and a quarterly CEO Retreat – are so crucially important.

Weekly CEO Date

A weekly CEO Date is a simple practice that I’ve had for over a decade. It is simply an appointment with the CEO of your business – that’s you! – to check in with the progress of your 90 day plan, adapt and adjust as needed, and prioritize your upcoming week.

It’s one hour that holds you accountable and helps you stick to your plan!

When I first started talking about this, a lot of people at first were like, “Sounds nice Rach… but I don’t have an extra hour or two every single week to plan!

But research shows that for every hour that you spend PLANNING your work, you SAVE 10 HOURS IN IMPLEMENTATION!

Think about how much time is wasted each and every day when you sit down to your computer only to take 30 minutes to get organized and figure out what really needs to be done that day.

Or how much effort is wasted when you get interrupted with another client email or phone call… then can’t get back into the deep work that will really help move your business forward.

That’s why The CEO Date is so important – it saves you HOURS each week trying to get yourself organized and on task. It also forces you to check in regularly to see if you are on or off track with implementing your 90 Day Plan, so you catch challenges earlier and adapt faster.

Once I started sharing The CEO Date with my clients, they started sharing with me incredible results simply because they were able to be more focused and flexible in their planning – and actually stick to it!

A CEO Retreat Breaks Your Goals into Implementable Action Steps

Then we took it all a step further with The CEO Retreat.

There is no secret formula to the CEO Retreat.

We’re letting go of the day-to-day distractions by dedicating time to come together and map out exactly how we want to achieve our goals.

By the end of The CEO Retreat, each CEO has a list of action items to achieve each goal and has even planned out the timelines for each action step. When they leave, they stick to their plans with the help of The CEO Date and their CEO Planners.

Watching the women at The CEO Retreat has completely transformed my work. I was seeing women step up, and after hearing the feedback from others, after hearing the encouragement from others, they felt more confident in their plan.

And when you feel more confident in your plan, you make that executive decision and just do the darn thing.

No more procrastinating. No more waffling around our decisions or saying, “I’m going to research this even more,” or, “I need to look into how this happens,” or, “I need to look at how someone else did it.

That was no longer happening for these people attending the CEO Retreat. They were quickly making moves in their business and stepping in to a self-leadership role that I haven’t seen in other programs that I have delivered.

Not very sexy, right? Blocking out time to actually plan out your next 90 days?

It sounds so basic – but this planning process has transformed the businesses of the women who are implementing it consistently. It’s not only transform their businesses, they’re not only seeing amazing business results, but they’re also transforming their lives, which I never thought I would say because it does sound so cliche.

I’m literally getting text messages from people saying…

“I was able to take the weekend off and I haven’t done that in so long. This system is working for me!

 

I never thought I would be able to take a week away from my business and it would continue running without me and my team could keep things going together.

 

I never thought that I could do these things!”

…but they’re doing them because they not only have the plan, but they know how to work the plan, how to make sure that they are running their business instead of their business running them.

What was most interesting to me though about the CEO Retreats was watching how people implemented after The CEO Retreat.

There were many people who attended the CEO Retreat, then joined our online programs.

The CEO Retreat helped them to get laser focused first instead of jumping into our trainings and feeling like, “I have to do the entire program before I take action. I have to get through all of the training before I can start implementing everything. I have to do all of this before I start working towards my plan,” they were treating it differently.

They were treating the information as a JUST IN TIME resource – a resource that they were diving into when they knew that they needed information to help them implement the strategy they had created at the CEO Retreat.

That difference was so fascinating to watch!

I know my community is filled with lifelong learners – but no matter how much I did to try to help, many times I would see people get stuck as they went through the course trying to learn EVERYTHING before they would take action. They would go through not just my program, but other people’s programs and feel like they were never ready because there’s always more information out there.

The Focus on Implementation Made All The Difference

I had people like Margaret Cogswell, a website designer who attended the very first CEO Retreat, who figured out the most important strategies to implement in her first 90 days.

She learned how to raise her prices through conversations with other entrepreneurs at the table. She quickly implemented a new pricing strategy.

She realized where her clients were coming from and she let go of all of the busy work of social media and content marketing when she realized her referral sources were generating way more business for her.

When she just got laser focused on those things, she didn’t need a ton of other training. She just needed clarity on what was most important right now.

You can listen to an interview with Margaret right here about how she went on to DOUBLE her business to $10K months within a year of implementing the CEO Retreat & CEO Dates in her business.

I watched people like Missy Kai, a mobility specialist and yoga therapist who attended The CEO Retreat twice now.

She got laser focused on what would move the needle fastest for her business and she only did those things and she doubled her revenue within 90 days, taking her business from $2-3K months to $5K-$6K months.

You can listen to an interview with Missy right here about how she has continued to grow her business and hitting her first $10K month – all by implementing consistent quarterly CEO Retreats and weekly CEO Dates!

When you understand what strategies will make the biggest impact with the least amount of effort, you don’t need to have a PhD in marketing or business. You can truly get the maximum return on energy, time, and investment.

That’s what we all need to be doing in our business. As CEOs, we need to be looking at what are the actions that take the least amount of effort but get the maximum results. That is what ROI is all about.

Within the first year of hosting The CEO Retreat, I started questioning how I was supporting entrepreneurs. What was truly the best way to help them get results?

Don’t get me wrong – I love creating trainings and content. That will never change! I’ve spent a decade creating a vault of useful trainings, systems, and frameworks for entrepreneurs.

But when I overlay that content with the planning processes of The CEO Retreat, CEO Date, and CEO Planner, true magic is happening for people’s businesses.

They don’t need to first press pause and invest hours and hours and hours trying to learn all the things before they go out and implement. They can clarity on what they actually need with a support system there to fill in the gaps – and then cherry pick the information they need. My team and I are there to help by directing them to exactly what they need instead of wading through tons of trainings and content.

I was seeing something that I hadn’t seen before… and it was clear as day that the key to success wasn’t just about access to information. We had TONS of information inside all of our online trainings!

The key to sustainable success was truly about IMPLEMENTATION. When we added The CEO Retreat on top of all of our content – and provided a quarterly and weekly approach to implementation – it changed everything.

Suddenly, our clients were sticking to their plan. 

They were embracing the radical self-accountability and self-leadership that would help them promote themselves from chief everything office to CEO of their business. 

They were rising to the next level of sustainable success in their businesses without working harder, working longer hours, or sacrificing time away from their families.

When I saw that magical combination of strategic planning + just-in-time consulting and training, I knew that it was in everyone’s best interest to bring it all together.

Are You Ready for Sustainable Success?

» If you’re ready to get out of that top secret entrepreneur lab where you feel like you are never ready because there is so much information and so many different ways to approach your business…

» If you’re ready to let go of perfection, let go of the need for everything to be shiny and polished before you release it to the world…

» If you’re ready to get out of the creative cul-de-sac where the only people who see your work are YOU and you know it’s time to get your amazing ideas out into the world…

» If you’re ready to stop the information overload and start getting into implementation mode…

» If you’re ready to create a plan that gives you the focus and the flexibility to grow your business to consistent $5,000, $10,000, and $15,000 months no matter what curveballs are thrown your way…

…then I would love to invite you to The CEO Collective.

What Is The CEO Collective?

When you join us for The CEO Collective, you’re joining us for a full year of strategy, systems, and support.

We start by helping you craft your 90-day plan.

If you haven’t joined me for a CEO Retreat, we’ve created a training to ensure that you’re kicking off each quarter with a rock solid 90-day plan – which is going to be more important than ever right now.

Once you’ve created your 90 Day Plan, you’ll share it with me, your mentor in The CEO Collective, and your mastermind group for feedback and accountability.

Your Mentor Will Check In Weekly for Accountability

As a member of The CEO Collective, you’ll have a dedicated mentor to check in with you each and every week via our online coaching platform to ensure that you have the accountability and support to keep moving forward.

Your Mastermind Group Provides Additional Peer Feedback

We want you to have peer-to-peer support with other entrepreneurs who are playing at the same level who are just as serious about their business as you are. That’s why we are carefully matching all of our masterminds based on what stage of business they are in.

Trust me, we will not put you in a situation where you are the smartest person in the room and no one else has a clue. You are going to be in the room with brilliant ambitious women who can provide incredible insight to you and help you stay accountable to your plan.

You will also have ongoing support with me and the mentors inside of The CEO Collective.

Every single week, I host live Q&A calls with lightening round strategy and support.

There will also be additional mentor calls from other experts who are filling in the gaps on topics that I am not an expert in.

I’m bringing in some of my dear friends and colleagues to talk to you about things like the legal side of running a business, the financial side of running a business, more advanced visibility strategies, more advanced copywriting, and advanced strategies that will help you accelerator your business growth.

I designed The CEO Collective so that not only do you have implementation support around your plan and the ongoing support each and every month as you’re implementing that plan, but you also have the ongoing support of a team who’s really checking in on you and helping you get the results you’re looking for in your business.

We have been testing this out over the last year and the results were just incredible.

The entrepreneurs who have been working with us over the last year have created more sustainability, stability, and security in their business.

They started generating a more consistent, predictable profits.

They learned how to look ahead, plan their sales cycles, and manage cashflow.

They started building systems and structure that would allow them to work ahead and create more breathing room (no more hustling).

They had the ability to get on the spot feedback and support so they could get right back into implementation mode without getting overwhelmed or sidetracked by everything from shiny objects to major world events.

Who is The CEO Collective for?

This is for entrepreneurs who are ready for that next level of success.

You are through or nearly through the startup stage in your business, you’ve started taking on new clients, and you know that more information isn’t what you need right now.

You are ready to get into the implementation zone. 

You are ready for consistency. 

You’re ready to be able to know how much revenue is coming in your business. 

You’re ready to have that predictable paycheck for yourself every single month and you’re ready to get out of that feeling like your business is running week to week, paycheck to paycheck, launch the launch.

You’re ready to feel like you have more control in your business.

This is for people who are self-starters, who are ready to do the work and who are committed to staying accountable to their plan.

This is for people who are ready to take on 100% responsibility for their results and to be radically accountable for where they’re putting their time and effort – and who are ready to be in a room with people who are going to hold them accountable and call them out when we see them chasing a shiny object or deviating from the plan that they said they were going to follow.

Now, I want to be really clear, this is not for everyone.

This is not for people who truly need need to be told week-to-week what they need to do. That’s not what The CEO Collective is about.

In fact, I really want to caution against this. If you can’t learn to be self-accountable and you’re not ready to implement systems to learn how to be self-accountable, then maybe business isn’t for you. Just to be honest. Just To be clear. There’s a lot of codependency happening in the coaching world right now where if people aren’t being told exactly what to do, they don’t know how to run their own business. I think that’s a tragedy.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you need to understand how to show up and how to do the work every single week. You need to know what work you’re doing is going to actually move the needle.

These are things we can help you with at The CEO Collective. These are the things that The CEO Retreat and The CEO Planner are designed to help you do – so you can stop wasting time with all the small stuff and understand what you need to stay focused on.

You have to be committed and take 100% responsibility for following through to see you the results you’re looking for.

If this is piquing your interest and you know that you are ready for something different, you’ve been coursed out, you feel like you’re swimming in a lot of information and you just need that support system to keep you focused into help you stay in implementation mode, we would love, love, love to support you in this.

As we close out the Unsexy Secrets to Sustainable Success, I want to just highlight a few things.

We talked about the difference between the information overload and implementation mode. We talked about why people are getting stuck in this top secret entrepreneur lab because they’re constantly feeling like they’re not ready yet. They don’t have enough certifications. They don’t have enough training. They don’t have enough information. Their programs or marketing or website isn’t perfect yet. There’s so much more they need to do before they can really start putting things out into the world.

Staying in that top secret entrepreneur lab really is a great procrastination strategy.

We need to shift from JUST-IN-CASE INFORMATION where we’re constantly in learning mode to JUST-IN-TIME INFORMATION where we’re cherry picking the information that we need based on our implementation plan.

We need to stay focused on that implementation plan, so that we can create more predictable profits in our business.

Then, we talked about the importance of having a 12-month profit plan.

It takes time to sit down and play plan out what you’re going to be working on in your business for the next 12 months – to create your marketing strategy and your promotional calendar. 

That takes time, but you have to slow down in order to speed up. If you are finding yourself making up all your marketing and sales strategies as you go – friend you are flying by the seat of your pants – and it is incredibly hard to get out of that feast or famine mode.

Finally, we talked today about why plans need to be both focused and flexible – and how The CEO Retreat and CEO Date are tools that we use inside The CEO Collective to help us adapt and adjust to any curveballs that might come our way.

We are facing uncertain times with Coronavirus. It’s not only causing challenges on an external, global level as cities are going back into lockdown and businesses are forced to close or reduce their capacity, but it’s causing internal challenges as we are all navigating social distancing, kids being home, all while keeping our businesses running.

When we are hit with a challenge like this – we need strategy and support.

Being the CEO right now is freaking hard – it means being the boss and making the tough decisions. No one is going to care about your business as much as you do. No one is going to step in and run your business for you.

The CEO Collective is here to help you build those CEO muscles. We have the strategy, the systems, and the support to help you not only survive, but thrive during these challenging times.

TLDR

1:: Planning is essential – but you also need to have a strategy to adapt the plan for whatever challenges come your way.

2:: How you show up TODAY impacts the business you have in 3-6 months – that’s why we MUST continue showing up consistently.

3:: The two simple practices designed to help you stay accountable to your plan? A weekly CEO Date and quarterly CEO Retreat.