Planning for Success
Confessions of a non-planner
I am a sucker for traditions (that is not to say I am traditional) far from it. But having lived, worked and traveled in around 30 countries or so I have picked up a few of their fun and cool cultural traditions.
My favorites have to be those around the holiday seasons. Starting with eating 12 grapes on New Year’s (Venezuela), passing through Thanksgiving (USA), to leaving my shoe out with a carrot for Americo, Sinterklaas’ trusted four-legged friend in exchange for some yummy sweets. On December 5th The Netherlands celebrates Sinterklaas day, which is equivalent to 25th for the US or 24th for Latin America.
The whole country is ready with lights and holiday decorations in the streets and shops, and the spirits are high and the dark cold nights give way to that winter wonderland feeling you get around the holiday season. That day you get to play games, exchange gifts and spend it with friends and family. So technically I get to celebrate ‘Chritsmas’ twice a year! Win-win!
Because I love traditions in my life I decided I also needed to create traditions for my business as well. Among the many lessons I learned this year, the most crucial one has to be that I needed to plan how my business is going to run and grow next year to avoid IT running me!
So without further ado. Let’s get to planning.
It should be no mystery that every plan should start with knowing your destination. No use planning for a beach vacation when you end up going to a skiing resort, right?
When I started 2016 I didn’t have a word for the year. I think I do have one for next year, but that’s for another day. But if I had to look back on this year and say what was the word of the year it has to be rewinding. I know it’s a funny one but bare with me. If there’s something that finally clicked with me this year is this: reverse engineering your business is the way to go.
What I mean by that, in case it doesn’t make sense right away is that you should start with the BIG HUGE CRAZY GOAL (Oprah size as the gals from Think Creative Collective call them) and work your way down from there.
Let me illustrate. Let’s say a business goal of yours is to grow your email list by 5000 people by this time next year. Now, I don’t know about you but to me, that’s a crazy BIG HUGE CRAZY goal (ok, maybe not that huge but you know what I mean). It seems unattainable, overwhelming. Normally , in the past I would have said: “Ok, so I need 5000 people.” I would have planned a few webinars and hope for the best. Don’t judge, we all have done it am sure.😜
Instead, the approach I have learned from a few of my mentors is to reverse engineer my goals and break them down into smaller chunks to:
- Not feel so overwhelm by them.
- Makes them easier to measure.
Going back to our example. Let say then we want to grow our list by 5000 emails in one year. Divide that by 12 and you get 416. Now, I don’t know about you but that to me sounds more manageable than 5K!
Confession time: I AM NOT A PLANNER. The idea of carrying a little book in my purse that dictates my every move and moment in my life simply scares me. In fact, it’s the one thing Dutch and I don’t agree with See, in Venezuela or Latin America in general (for the most part) you run into a friend on the street or call them on a whim and say: “Hey, let’s have coffee” 80% of the time they will say yeah sure! With Dutch? Yes, of course, they will say, at the same time they are taking their little agenda (believe me they still use it) –in spite of smartphones –and proceed to list a number of possibilities within the next 3 months to get together for a cup of coffee…a coffee that I kinda wanted today !!!! (I digressed but believe me I have a point)
So as you see planning and I well, not so much. I am a doer; if I have to do I do. I trust that by having the list of priorities in my head I will get it done for sure. But there’s a flaw in my brilliant plan. It only worked when I had no clients when I first started and was only little me and my biz.
Old me would have said, next year I want to launch my website course, grow my list by x amount of emails, make (put the finger out in the air) and come up with a $ amount. But that’s where the ‘planing’ would have stopped. But no more!
THE NEW TRADITION–
Now that I have more than one client at a time to whom I am responsible to, and a business that is growing I realized soon enough that couldn’t continue ‘doing’ aimlessly hoping that things would just fall into place.
So I put my big girl pants on and research high and low what others were doing, using, creating in order to create my own routine.
This year I am taking a staycation and spending a few solid days planning 2017. I even heard from Hailey Dale (Content Strategist extraordinaire) that she goes to a hotel for a couple of days on her biz’ anniversary! Brilliant! Maybe next year I will go that as well.
So the new me is looking at things with a strategic eye now. My 400 people a month are NOT necessarily 400 a month. As I plan my launch for my Conquer Your Website course I may say well in one launch I will probably get say, 600 people if I plan on dong the launch two a year that will be 1200, and so on and so forth. So maybe in one month I need 400 but if I get to the middle of the year and see that I have already met or surpassed my target then I adjust up or down.
The same thing can be done with your revenue, say you want to make 120K a year. That means you need to make 1,2000 a month right? OR you could see you plan and say well I am planning on taking 1 month off in the summer and one in December which mean you wouldn’t be able to take on any clients, that would mean:
- You take more that one client on a particular month,
- You packages/services/products should reflect the workload you wish/can physically take on to achieve that goal.
Looking at your plan like this is more helpful than saying I want 10 clients, and I want to make a million. It is realistic to think that each of those 10 clients will pay you 100,000 each? Heck if so congrats you don’t need me! If you don’t think it realistic (yet) then you adjust to a more realistic number of clients to achieve that goal. Make sense?
To me looking at my plan in bite-size gives me a sense of relief, I don’t feel so overwhelmed and it actually feels achievable. It also has helped me stay focused on what matters and not getting distracted with the small minutia that I was bogged down with before because I didn’t have a plan. So now I don’t just ‘come up’ with a plan. I HAVE A PLAN!
Now it’s your turn! Download the Ultimate Planning Plan tools guide to help you with all your planning needs. These are the tools and resources I have found most helpful in my business this year. If you have any that you love please share!
Get started this weekend with your planning plan.
Download the free toolkit to help you get started with a few tool you will need.
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