So the rum and egg nog hangovers are starting to pass. You’re probably heading back to work now, and you’ve decided that THIS is the year you’re finally going to start your own business. THIS is the year to say goodbye to the cubicle. THIS is the year you’ll lose that last 20 pounds.
It’s fine to have resolutions and all, but the actual hard part is making a plan to accomplish those things.
Because once you have a plan, you’re kind of accountable to implementing it. You actually have to try. You can’t just talk about it any more…you have to take action.
Suck it up, Buttercup
I’ve written previously about well-meaning folks who have called me up to help them with their plan because they claim to be SO READY to take action that they’re practically force-feeding me their Visa card. But my process doesn’t take all the work off their plates…it creates work for them. Planning is a collaborative process. It forces you to make decisions. These people don’t want to make decisions. They just want to shove money down my throat (which I’m okay with…but hold the salt).
Don’t let this be you this year. Please?
How I Plan
Some people want to plan out their year in business they don’t know where to start (that’s excuse #1). Here’s the process I use. Keep in mind, this does not work if your business plan has to help you get a loan. This is my annual business planning process that’s just for me to use.
There are eight sections:
- Mindset. What state of mind do I need to be in to accomplish all my massive goals this year? I write that down – a mantra, an affirmation, a promise to myself.
- Idea or Problem. If I can only solve one big problem for my best clients this year, what is it?
- Ideal Customer. Is my ideal customer the same person he was last year? What have I learned about him? Do I need to revise this description?
- Goals. I set a big long list of huge goals and then I pare them down to 3-5 that I think are achievable. I categorize them. I set the bar absurdly high and then I decide what’s actually realistic. (then I set a goal somewhere in between those two).
- Budget. What were my fixed expenses last year, and do I think they’ll be the same this year? What are the direct costs related to achieving my goals? If I don’t have enough money to fund them, where am I going to get it?
- Metrics. What are the four most important things I need to measure and evaluate related to my goals?
- Resources. What are the tools and resources I need to achieve my goals? Do I need to hire people? Buy an online product? Contract someone out for a project?
- Timelines. December 31 is the worst deadline you can set – you’ll procrastinate all year. At what point in 2015 do I want to achieve each of my goals?
There you go – that’s it. I just use a simple Word document but you can use a fancy planner or a spreadsheet or make a collage if that’s your thing.
When you dream about being an entrepreneur, you don’t usually become one. Sit down. Plan it out. And go kick some business ass this year.
How can I help?