Yep, it’s that time of year again where we all reflect on what has happened throughout the previous year and where we want to be this time next year.
Although I’m not a big one for New Years Resolutions, I do think it is good to set goals and January is as good a time as any to set them.
It is usually a quiet time for me work-wise so it makes good sense to set a bit of time aside to look at what I need or want to do in the coming year.
I find writing down my long-term goals is effective. Actually, I find writing down my medium and short-term goals effective too, as my mind tends to get a bit scattered and I can easily lose focus. Everyone seems to have different ideas of what long and short term goals are. When I talk about long-term goals, I am talking about where I want to be in two to five years time. My medium term goals are my six to twelve month targets, and my short term goals are anywhere between 6 weeks to three months away. But always, always, they are written down.
Of course, goals are only as good as the actions you take to move towards them. Goals without actions are actually just wishes.
A couple of years ago, I undertook a business mentoring program. Although this was not cheap, it helped me to focus on what really mattered and on what I had to do. We were at a point where we had developed a reasonably sized property portfolio, but it was not meeting our needs or ultimate goals. The downturn in the economy had impacted on the value of our portfolio and although we eventually saw the benefit of decreasing interest rates, we had to dip into our savings just to pay the difference between the rental income and the interest bill. It was this experience and completing the mentoring program that I learnt that cash flow is king. In fact through all this I was reminded that owing property is only the vehicle to get you where you want to be, and only one of a number of different vehicles, for some other people shares or business development are equally as valid.
In 2012, I worked with my business mentor to develop a two pronged approach to moving forward. Firstly, I identified where the portfolio needed to be restructured and secondly, I turned my focus to developing my business to improve cash flow. Some properties were costing us to hold with little chance of them moving into the black anytime soon. Others were costing us time and energy to maintain or manage. By getting rid of properties that were under performing – even though we lost a small amount of potential profits – my stress levels decreased. The up side is that I have been able to focus more on developing a successful business to improve cash flow and developments that are more profitable.
So now those goals that I put in place two years ago, to develop the Gold Street property, are falling into place. It wasn’t necessarily easy or straightforward, however my mentor taught me a good technique; dividing my year into 90 day timeframes and breaking the end goal into smaller bite sized, weekly and daily chunks. I used this technique and applied it to the development which helped me identify the medium and short term goals and actions required. What at first looked like too big an undertaking became more manageable, month by month and week by week I just took that next step, made that phone call, sent off yet another email, asked for that next quote, and ticked off another stage.
Of course not all my goals revolve around property. One of my goals was to experience a European winter and see the Northern Lights. I’m currently experiencing that winter – yep, it’s cold! Hopefully, in a couple of weeks time I’ll get to see the Lights!
So how about you? What are your goals for the next twelve months?