Let me tell you a secret…
I’ve never had a business plan.
I’ve never taken the time to work out my goals – instead I’ve lurched from one idea to the next based more on instinct than intellect.
So I decided that this year was going to be different.
In December 2013 I met with Robert Gerrish (he of Flying Solo fame) and over a rather tasty sandwich we talked about my business, my goals and my challenges.
After I’d rambled about the number of things I wanted to do in 2014 (write an ebook, launch an ecourse, branch out into copywriting mentoring etc.) Robert stopped me and and told me this tale (I’m paraphrasing but hopefully you’ll get the gist).
You have a lot of ideas about the business, you’re enthusiastic and full of ideas, which is great but focus in important.
One client I coached listed about 20 new initiatives he had planned for the coming months and I asked him;
“When you’re driving in your car do you take a bucket and sponge?”
“No.” He replied, confused.
“Oh but if you did, when you stop at the lights, you could jump out and clean car windows.”
“Erm why would I want to do that?” Now he was really confused.
“Well, why miss that business opportunity?” I replied.
I loved Robert’s little anecdote. To me the message was clear – just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.
And it’s not just about taking any opportunities but finding the ones that fit with your business, your goals and your personality
There are so many things I could do this year, but I have to think about:
- What is going to make me money (there’s no point being in business unless it’s profitable, right?)
- What do I enjoy doing?
- What are my overall business goals?
- Does the particular task fit in with my personal and family life?
This year for me is all about focus (and finances). I’m going to concentrate my efforts on four core areas of my business:
The rest can wait.
I’m also going to be a little kinder to myself and realise a few truths:
- Trying to compete with my full time competitors is impossible with only three working days a week.
- Staying at the top of the rankings for single word terms like ‘copywriter’ is too time consuming and rather pointless (more about ego than good business sense).
- Balancing home life and my attempts to continue with my creative writing is draining me dry.
- There’s no point doing so much marketing when I have to turn down 50% of the leads I generate.
Writing a business plan (sort of)
Okay so I never did actually write a business plan.
I’m afraid that whole – increase my email list by blah and reduce my bounce rate by X percent – stuff just bores me to tears.
Instead I opted to create a visual representation of my business intentions (sounds precious, but bear with me).
Above my desk right now is a notice board, covered with bills, tax information, to do lists etc. I’d hoped it would be useful, but instead it’s just depressing.
I wanted to create something inspiring and motivating to replace it.
Again this was a suggestion of Robert’s – he had completed one about 10 years ago and when he showed it to me it was a perfect representation of his life now. By visualising what he wanted he had made it so. Magic!
I went the old school, scissors paper glue approach rather than doing something digital and I must say I found it hugely satisfying. You can see the results above.
As you can see I’m taking a holistic approach to business and planning. This year I look after my biggest business asset. ME!
So while I intend to write, sort my finances out, focus etc. I also plan to eat well, exercise, expand my mind, take some courses, take time out and spend time with my son and husband.
Now I have my mood (or vision) board and my four point focus I feel ready to face the New Year with gumption and gusto.
Hopefully they’ll help me stay focused and not get carried away by whims and crazy schemes! (Too much).
Here’s hoping we all have an awesome 2014!
Over to you
Do you have a business plan? Or a business mood board? Let us know below!
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