There comes a point in every solopreneur’s business where she needs to sit down and plan … and I mean, really plan! Not just write down a few ideas on the back of an envelope and hope for the best. But, really map out a strategic plan for their business. Question is: are you ready to make real plans?
Creating this kind of plan is important. It immediately eliminates a lot of overwhelm and frustration. And, it allows you to:
- Know where you’re going;
- See how you’re going to get there; and
- Lays out a route on what you need to do along to get from here to there.
How Do You Know When It’s Time?
Well, there are a few indicators:
You have LOTS of ideas swimming around in your head but don’t know how to pull them all together. If this is you, you’re suffering from a lack of a Vision. You’re not seeing the big picture.
You are offering several different programs/products. They’re at different price points. Unfortunately, you get very few or no sign-ups. This is an indication that you lack a strategic MAP (a Marketing Action Plan).
You’re getting feedback from your clients letting you know they’re confused. They’re not sure which program is right for them. This is an indication you lack a clear Product & Marketing Funnel.
Today I’d like to share with you three basic steps to business planning success so that you can start the year off on the right foot!
Create Your Big Picture
This is the fun part. It’s where you let your imagination run wild.
You need to go somewhere quiet with a pad and pen/pencil. Start to write. I say write because the kinesthetic experience reinforces what you come up with.
Write about what you want your business to look like, the type of clients you want to serve, the sort of products and programs you want to offer – in fact, write down anything and everything that pops into your head about what you want your business and life to look like.
It’s important that the final vision be written in the present tense. Use terms such as, “I have, I own, I run”.
You’re telling your subconscious that you already have that business and lifestyle. This causes cognitive tension and your subconscious will try it’s damnest to make new vision true.
Remember that every part of your being should say “YES” when you read your Big Picture out loud! If any part doesn’t, do not settle. Keep going until you find the right one.
The thing to do now is to look at where you are and where you want to go.
What you’re about to do is validate what your results were. Does the thing that you’re delivering to the market really provide the value you think it does? Is it really satisfying the needs that are out there? Does it produce the income that you really need right now?
Make sure you look at your results in the last few months to make sure you are aware of what is working for you and what is not. Particularly what is not working.
Once you know the above, you need to ponder what it is you need to concentrate on to make the business successful. What needs to change to take you from where you are now to where you want to be?
Getting more/less clients
Having more/less billable hours
Offering more programs/products
Please, don’t skip this step! If you do, you are shortchanging yourself. Big Time.
It’s lunacy to continue working strategies that don’t work. As Albert Einstein said:
Create Your Plan
Now you know your big picture and have assessed where you are. It’s time to map out your strategy to get you where you want to be.
Think about your products and services. And, think about your marketing. Also, about all the other stuff that needs to get done. What’s priority for you right now?
I know how easily you can become overwhelmed, lose your confidence or have anxiety build up in you. Be patient with yourself as you follow this process. It isn’t really rocket science, you know. It is a very common sense approach to working on your business.
There a few of simple steps to follow to create a plan.
1 – Start with Centering Yourself
It is very healthy to have a spiritual practice.
Centering yourself using your favorite technique will help you to find the essence of what you want to happen for you as part of the next cycle.
You will be approaching the planning from a core of inner peace and quiet, rather than from a whirlwind of anxiety and distress.
2 – Select a Short Time Cycle
Making long-range plans for action will only cause you anxiety and frustration. Selecting a shorter time frame to implement and then review the results will prove to be much more useful.
My suggestion is you select a cycle time of approximately 90 days.
Using a short time to plan, execute and evaluate, causes you to focus intently on the tasks that need to be completed. It provides you with the means to verify your results much more quickly as well.
3 – Create Outcome Goals
Per the dictionary, the word “outcome” means the following:
“result, resultant, final result, outcome, termination”
That is exactly what you determining when you set outcome goals. You are creating a statement of a desired result for you and your business. You want to name the state of being produced as a result of your plan.
There is no rule of thumb as to how many you need to have. However, since we are using a shortened time frame to get it all done, having too many of these will cause you to derail instead of completing them all.
Give them teeth. Attach a date for the occurrence of your outcome. The date gives your subconscious some meat to gnaw on and spur you to do something to get it done.
Now you’re ready to make real plans for the business.
A Short Quiz
So, which of the following are outcomes and which are not?
- I am promoted to Sr. Account Manager by June 30
- Every day, I’ll brush my teeth after lunch
- Whenever I eat out with friends, I will not eat the bread that comes to the table and I will only order water to drink
- By May 31, I will fit into a size 10 pair of Levis
- At my weekly book club meeting, when Joan starts getting obnoxious, I will count to 10 before responding.
Answers: 1) outcome, 2) not, 3) not, 4) outcome, 5) not
Now, look at what you’ve written down for your outcomes (you do have them written down, right???). Put a little O or N next to each one after you see if each is an outcome-based goal or not. Eliminate those that are not outcomes from the list.
4 – Set Up Your Performance Goals
What are these?
Well, performance goals are core strategies you’ll use to hit your outcome. They’re the key things you’re going to choose to help you move you forward. They are the strategies, milestones, goals to achieve what you desire.
Create at least 3 performance strategies/goals for each desired outcome you have.
You want to create performance goals to have more control over the ability to achieve the outcome you desire. These puppies are about control over what you do and how you do it.
5 – Generate Tasks
Finally, for each performance goal, create some tasks. These are specific actions that help you achieve the performance goal/milestone you’ve set up.
Each task defines:
Who’s doing it?
What are they doing?
When are they doing it?
Where is it happening?
I recommend that you create at least 3 tasks for each performance goal. You can create more. Just remember, more isn’t necessarily better. Having too many tasks to complete will create anxiety and overwhelm.
Are you ready to make real plans for yourself?
If you are, download this goal chart. It will help you to work on your next planning cycle. If you still need help in getting your planning done for next year, set up a strategy session here to discuss how I can help you with the process.
Let me know how it works for you.
Warmest hugs to you!