What? No plan? No problem. Just consider how last year went and that’s what will probably happen this year. Only a little worse. Or maybe a little better.
This year is moving fast. Your life is flying by! If you want a quantum leap, or at least a major change of momentum… putting a plan together may help you think in dramatically different ways. Those thoughts of what you would rather have, what you really, really want, are what’s required to revolutionize your life. (Without a plan, you might be at the effect of someone else’s plan. And there may not be a starring role for you.)
Writing down what you want, from your business and your life, is a business plan. Easy enough? It doesn’t have to be a chore. Business planning can be fun and creative and brilliant! It can be liberating and flexible and a powerful way to manifest your dreams!
At least the way I do it, it is.
Did you put a plan together once upon a time, and then stuff it in a file somewhere? Maybe the plan was required to get a bank loan, or your partner’s blessing, to start your business. Before you started your business, the plan was perfect, a home run. Once the first shot was fired in biz battle, that plan might have gone into the file cabinet without another thought.
That’s one of the tricky things about a plan. You have to launch your intentions in the uncharted waters of the future. Still, it is worth doing a plan, and updating that plan, because it is a powerfully positive tool for making what you want happen.
Also, does everyone have the same plan at your company? Written, unwritten…people play games. There is a purpose, a point, to their behaviors. Are you playing the same game? It gets especially kooky when it is a family business.
So grab your plan and a pencil (or your iPad, or laptop)…and start writing (or pruning!)
Start with your mission. Put your hand over the words. Do you have it memorized? I thought not. Count the words. Are there more than a dozen? Start editing. Answer this question, “Why are you in business?” in under 12 words. Work it over a few times until you really care about your Mission. Get inspired!
Now, who really cares about what you do? Who would be willing to pay you for it? Nail down your target market. Imagine your favorite customer. What does she drive? Where does she shop? What does she want from you? You might ask and find out. Put together a succinct paragraph describing your target market.
Next, review your goals. Do you really want what you have listed? Do you believe in your goals? Cut the list down to the five most important goals. Include a Financial Goal and be specific in dollar and due date. Re-craft your goals using words that reflect your intention. Be specific. “More money” is not a goal. “Sales at $100K per month for quarter 4, 2012” is a goal. Create goals that double as affirmations. Get rid of every goal that someone else wanted you to put on this list, if it doesn’t mean much to you. Add a biggie, one that really gets your blood pumping. Why not?
On to the organization chart. Take your pencil and cross through the name of the person who needs to go…now. Shake off the denial and allow that person to go be a winner elsewhere. Next, look for someone who is not quite ready for a promotion but shows willingness and has “fizz.” Promote him now, and see if he can fill in the gap between what he has and what he needs to do the job. Take a risk.
Confront the money, Honey. A budget helps you set financial goals and create a sound selling price. Want to make it really easy? Double or triple your prices. Getting really profitable, collecting sales now…can fix your business. Money buys options. And, if you are going to charge more, you must BE more. A business plan helps you be, do and have more.
Review your Marketing Plan and Sales Processes. Upgrade the words that you use to
communicate. For instance, I have added the word “explore” to my sales presentations. “Let’s explore a few ideas for working together.” It’s friendly, non-threatening…and allows both parties to consider if working together is a good idea. Strike the word, “estimate” from your vocabulary…and all your sales and marketing systems. “Estimate” means “no one is buying today.” Call it a “presentation”
or a “visit.” Pay attention to the words you use and the effect they have on the people who hear them. This small adjustment may have a big impact on you and your team.
Look at your Top Projects List. If you have a stalled out project, why not
prune it? If you have delegated this project, ask, “What’s the hold up?” Then, listen for the obstacles. Be willing to sit in silence until your team member comes up with something. Does the project need to be cut into smaller pieces? Consider what a next step could be and set the due date. You might move the project forward, or learn what another step could be. Consider also what would happen if you just aborted mission on it? If it is great opportunity and you really want it to happen, then make it happen.
Otherwise, scratch it from the list.
Are you getting the idea that a business planning is simply…
Thinking about what you want and committing to a written course
of actions that will move you in that general direction.
It’s about using a business to create freedom.
I put together a snappy Video Series on Business Planning. It’s free! It’s my hope is that this series will help you “de-mystify” the business planning process. Check it out!
“Thoughts become things. Choose good ones.” ~ Mike Dooley