Start with the end in mind


What does it mean to ‘start with the end in mind’? It means instead of starting from where you are and moving forward, you start with your goal and work backwards. 

We usually start with where we are right now, and that’s okay, but it’s not always clear what to do next. You’re shooting into the dark and make it more likely to get distracted or waste time figuring out what to do.

When you start with the end, the last step before reaching the goal is the first step in your plan.

Sounds crazy, but try it with your next project or goal. 

Let’s say your goal is to sign up 10 new estate planning clients in the next 60 days, who pay you an average of $10,000, and you want to accomplish this via referrals from your current and former clients. 

That’s the goal. What do you do?

You ask yourself if you could accomplish that goal tomorrow and when you say you can’t, you ask, “What would I need to do (or what would have to happen) first?”

You might say that you would need appointments with 20 prospective clients (assuming you typically close one out of two). “Could I see 20 prospective clients tomorrow?” No. “What would I have to do first?”

You might answer that question several ways, but let’s say you decide you would need to have 75 clients contact 3 people they know and tell them about you and what you can do for them. 

They would explain to their friend why they hired you and why their friend should do that, too. Your clients would send them information you provide about estate planning, your services, and a special offer or incentive. 

Could you send all that to your clients tomorrow? 

No. First, you would have to write the email you want your clients to send to 3 people they know, your report or other information, and the terms of your special offer. 

You’d also have to compose the email you will send to your clients asking them to email this information, or the outline of a short script you can use if you call them instead. 

Could you write and send all that tomorrow? Let’s say you can’t. You first have to outline what to write and make a list of clients to send it to. 

Could you do that tomorrow? If you could, that’s your plan for tomorrow. That’s your first step. 

There might be more steps, different variables, or a completely different plan, but this is the process for laying out everything you need to do, in the order in which to do it.  

When you have a goal or a project and you’re not sure how to get started, start with the end in mind and work backwards.