My consulting business has grown close to 400 percent over the past four years. It wasn’t an accident, and it wasn’t a fluke. It was a carefully crafted plan combined with a fierce dedication to execution. But first it required a shift in my thinking.

Here are the steps I take each year, in concert with my entire team, to plan for huge growth:

1. Start early.

Many small companies determine their growth plans for the upcoming year some time in December. Bad idea. That is far too late to accomplish anything substantial. If you want to double your revenue in one year, then the revenue machine must get cranked up to start running on Jan. 1.

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In other words, you must start new product development or new business development in quarter three of this year to start generating any sort of substantial revenue in January of next year.

2. Dream and believe.

This might be the hardest of the five steps. The idea of doubling your revenue requires such a huge paradigm stretch for most people that they never really get started. Without belief, the action steps will falter. Big revenue requires executing on big plans. Big plans require big dreams.

This is another reason to start early. You need time to train your brain into accepting the idea that you can and will double your revenue. You need to see your company as being twice as big as it is when you make the plan. Begin with the end in mind. Envision and believe. Otherwise, you will never execute.

You should also prepare to deal with the haters and the naysayers. Ignore them. Those who say something cannot be done should not interrupt those who are busy doing it.

3. Build a revenue ladder.

Unless you launch a killer new product, it is unlikely that you can double your revenue based upon a single offering. Get to work and brainstorm. Effective entrepreneurs know that the key to revenue growth is to get that revenue coming in from multiple streams. You build your revenue ladder one step at time based on the idea of growing multiple revenue sources simultaneously.

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My company’s revenue ladder lists eight different revenue sources. If any one of those revenue sources is not strong enough to support our future growth goals, we kill it.

4. Determine the stretch goals.

The best way to reach your revenue goal is by planning to exceed it. When we make our annual plan, we always do it on two levels. The first is the business plan. That is the non-negotiable, must-hit, no-excuses plan. If you want to double your revenue, make this your business plan.

Then we construct the stretch plan. This is where we determine the upside for each revenue stream. This is a critical step because we know we will likely come up short of the business plan in at least one area -- we just don’t know which one.

So we build a stretch plan to make up for that deficiency. That way if and when one income stream falters, it does not take down the entire plan.

5. Reward the people who make it happen.

Doubling your revenue is not something you can do on your own. The people around you will make that happen with you. And they need to share in the spoils of success.

We compensate our team members and business partners according to revenue targets in their specific disciplines. It’s a simple formula: You bring us revenue, we make money and we pay you more money.

As I said from the outset, there is nothing easy about this process, but it is simple. Start now and get the belief right. The rest will follow, and pretty soon, you will change the world.

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