Today is the 54th day of 2011. There are 311 more days to go before 2012.  I know this because every morning, I look at the calendar on my wall, and in tiny numbers, it tells me that information.

That’s just one benefit of a calendar like this.  The bigger benefit is that my calendar shows me how I’m going to grow my business in 2011.

What did your calendar tell you today?

Funny question, right?  But look on your wall, or on your computer, and do you have a physical calendar that details the step-by-step plan you’ve created to grow your business in 2011?

You probably don’t have one.  Most of my clients don’t have one when they begin working with me.  But I’m going to suggest you get one.  Get a big 2 foot by 3 foot horizontal 2011 Yearly Planner calendars that has all 12 months visible, that you can write on with a dry erase marker.  Put it on the wall where you see it every day.

When you first put it up, it will be uncluttered and blank.  Your future will never look so uncomplicated as when you put up your new calendar.  But after day 1, this calendar holds the promise of a brighter future.

Why is this calendar discussion important?  You can use your 2011 calendar like I do, as the physical representation of the twelve month revenue strategy you will be implementing.

I can see on the calendar my plan and my progress of achieving superior results in 2011 over 2010.  Best of all, on December 31, 2011, after a full year, if I am not satisfied with my company’s 2011 end-of-the-year revenue numbers, I don’t have to look any further than that calendar to see what I did, the order and frequency I did it, and decide what to change for the future.

You might be thinking:  “Wait a second, Jon.  What about the economy?  That’s going to impact my numbers in 2011!”

The reality is that you cannot blame the economy if you start now with a plan.  If you write a year-end sales decrease in 2011, or you write a lesser increase than you hoped for, your plan will be the reason.

For most owners, though, they have no proactive plan.  Where most owners dwell is in the day-to-day, adding-it-up-as-you-go, let’s-see-if-we’re-ahead-or-behind, reactive record-keeping mode.  That’s not an entrepreneurial plan; that’s a bean counter function that your accountant can do!

Your job as the owner is to create the vision and the plan that drives the totals you want!

Think back on last year:  If in 2010, you went day by day, waiting and hoping that the economy would turn around, shame on you!  Hoping the economy will get better is not a plan!  Hope itself feels good, but as one wise man once said:  “Hope is not a strategy.”

Onto 2011:  My empty calendar, already 54 days into the year, is ready for more of my future plan.  Your calendar is ready, too!  You can deviate from what didn’t work in the past, and set out a course for the year with new tactics that you didn’t try before.  Your goal should be that at the 365th day of 2011, you don’t look back on your past 365 days with regret, but with satisfaction that you learned from 2010 and didn’t repeat those mistakes in 2011.

Let me say it again:  If you are not happy with your year-end sales numbers this year, don’t blame the economy.  Blame the plan you created while in this economy.

Today, go buy that calendar.  Then check back on this blog tomorrow, as I give you Step 2 to grow your sales in 2011.