By John Monroe

I woke up this morning and said to myself, “John, why have you failed at your plan and wasted half of 2018?” (Can you believe we are halfway through 2018?!) Why am I fretting over this? Because I set a personal objective, a New Year’s resolution, at Violand’s Business Planning Retreats last fall in front of hundreds of people.

At the Retreats, my part of the presentation was to help attendees understand how to write a sales and marketing plan. I decided that a good way to do this was to share my personal objective for 2018: To complete an Olympic-distance triathlon in or under two hours, 37 minutes, and 35 seconds by October. That’s my objective, and it meets the SMART criteria — it’s specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

I also shared three specific strategies during that presentation that I planned to implement as part of my training plan to help reach the objective. The first was a triathlon/cross-training schedule with specific tactics for each day of the week’s training regimen. The second strategy was a nutritional plan with specific tactics for weight loss and muscle development. The third strategy was a weight lifting regimen to help develop my core muscles. Again, I was detailed in my tactics for a daily regimen. I have completed many triathlons and even an Olympic distance triathlon, but this year’s objective was to meet a specific time goal.

To date, I have failed to carry out the strategies and tactics that I committed to start in January … and here we are already halfway through the year. I’m disappointed in myself for not pushing through the obstacles that I let get in the way of reaching my objective. Sure, selling our home of 23 years, moving to a new state, and renting for eight months while searching for our new home was a major life change. Add to this that, because I moved 700 miles away, I lost my training partners and support team. Visiting our children and grandchildren also is a time commitment since they are scattered across the country. Business travel and my job, of course, take time. You get the picture: Life happens!

Today, I am going to get “back on the bike” and start implementing those strategies and tactics. If I put my whole heart and mind into it, I believe I can come close to meeting my objective. I’m not saying I can condense 10 months of training into 4 1/2 months, but I am going to work a lot harder these next 4 1/2 months than I would have if I had stayed on the original plan.

Your plan

How many of you laid out a business plan for 2018, either in your head or on paper, and are now, just like me with my personal objective, thinking to yourself, “The year is half over, and I haven’t accomplished anything I set out to do in my business”? I bet you’re also justifying to yourself that “it’s okay because we had a bad winter, and we had the worst spring flooding in 16 years, and don’t forget the four whole-house fires we signed. The icing on the cake is, we lost half our operations department and had to find new employees to replace them.” You’re probably thinking, “I was too busy to carry out the plan!”

But ask yourself this: Do you really want to use these excuses for not getting your business plan implemented?


It’s not too late to start putting your plan in motion. The first thing you should do is pull the plan off your computer and print it. If the plan never actually made its way from your head onto paper, then do it now. Your business plan needs to be visible to everyone in the company so they can help hold you accountable. I put my personal objective in a PowerPoint presentation that was put on a 20-by-20-inch screen in front of hundreds of strangers, friends, clients, and business partners.

The next step is to assign new deadlines by when you, or someone in your company, will accomplish each strategy and tactic. Building a business requires you to ask for help and to delegate responsibilities. Be sure that you do. In my case, I know that I will accomplish more by working with others on the best nutritional plan to implement losing my desired 15 pounds. I can’t go it alone. I recognize my limitations and realize that I need guidance from people smarter than I am.

If you need to tweak the plan a little because it doesn’t meet the SMART criteria for 2018, meaning there is not enough time to accomplish the objective by year’s end, then write the objective to begin this year and finish in 2019. If it’s important to the business, don’t scrap it thinking you’ll just wait until next year.

Now it’s time to restart the plan. Hold a company meeting and exhibit “extreme ownership.” Admit to everyone that you failed to hold yourself accountable to the plan but that you are relaunching it starting today. Let everyone know you want their help to hold you accountable to the plan, just as you are going to hold them accountable to executing the strategies and tactics of the plan. Schedule weekly and monthly meetings with key staff members involved in carrying out the plan. If anyone wants to know the status of the plan, assure them that you have an open-door policy and all they need to do is ask. Immediately schedule another company-wide meeting for three months down the road to evaluate what has been accomplished and what still needs to be worked on. Remind your team that the company believes in accountability, and it starts at the top.

I’ve committed to everyone reading this article that I am going to hold myself accountable for reaching my personal objective. If you would like to monitor my progress, go to to follow and push me. If you want me to hold you accountable to your business plan, send me an email, and I will push you.

Vince Lombardi, famed coach of the Green Bay Packers football team, said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.” It’s estimated that 41 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, yet only 8 percent achieve their resolutions. This year is only half over. We still have half of 2018 left! It’s not too late to start your plan.

John Monroe is a Business Development Advisor for Violand Management Associates (VMA), a highly-respected consulting company in the restoration and cleaning industries. Monroe is a leading expert in marketing, sales and sales management for the restoration and cleaning industries with over 30 years of experience in those fields. Through Violand, Monroe works with companies to develop their people and their profits. To reach him, visit or call 800-360-3513.