Learn from an Entrepreneur: How to Stay Accountable to Your Plan

Innovation, commitment, and leadership are just a few qualities that have helped countless founders, producers, managers, designers and more realize their dreams of starting their own business. And staying accountable to their business plan is a big part of finding success. Here’s how to stay committed, no matter what field you’re in.

Step 1: Know what your plan is. This step is so obvious it may sound like a joke, but I’m dead serious. Far too many people never clearly define what their plan is, which makes it nearly impossible to achieve. Ask yourself, what do you want to do? What are your goals? How do you want to reach them, and when? Be specific. Be ambitious. Write it down and stick to it.

Step 2: Find an accountability buddy. It may seem like entrepreneurs are all independent workers who don’t rely on anyone else for their success. And while that may be the case for some, many have mentors, partners, or even just good friends who they can lean on when they need support. And we all need support sometimes. Find someone with similar goals, and meet with them regularly to talk about your progress. Are they progressing faster than you are? Celebrate their success and let it motivate you. Are they falling behind? Use your own success to help them get back on their feet. Karma pays, and having someone you can trust in your corner is a great way to stay on track.

Step 3: Schedule regular check-ins. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or you work in a traditional office setting, it’s easy to get distracted by day-to-day tasks that you forget to check in with your goals. But this is a crucial part of moving forward. Decide how often you want to revisit your plans and put it on your calendar. You may want to give yourself an annual review, or you may want to do it more frequently. Allot a few hours, a day, or maybe even a weekend to reflect on the goals you’ve set for yourself and how close—or far—you are from achieving you. What are you doing wrong? What are you doing right? Determine where you need to make changes, set some new goals, and keep moving forward.

Step 4: Allow your plan to evolve. Recognize that as you grow in your career, your goals and plans should as well. Don’t get so married to one idea of success that it throws you off course when life takes you in another direction. Let your plans grow with you, and you’ll be more likely to reach them—and keep moving forward.

Get your plan in motion. Check out a copy of my book, The Reward of Knowing.