One of the biggest lessons I learned early on in my business is the importance of being flexible.
Being open to changing course if things aren’t working. Having a growth mindset instead of a fixed one. Understanding that business and life is a constant evolution.
These days, life is pretty unpredictable. But that doesn’t make business plans and goals any less valuable.
You see, making time to dream, plan, and set your intentions sets in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. It clarifies your destination, so you can map out a path to get there, instead of running around in circles. It helps you stay focused and increases your chance of success.
Here are 5 tips – or steps – to creating a successful business plan.
1. Reflect on the past year
So often we get caught up in the day-to-day and to-do lists. In the online entrepreneurship world, we’re told to hustle and “just do it!” But there is sooooo much growth, insight, and clarity that comes from taking the time to pause and reflect.
* Reflect on your favorite (and least favorite) client experiences to gain more clarity on your ideal client.
* Identify where your clients came from to understand which sources and strategies worked best.
* Audit your social media to understand which posts had the most engagement.
* Crunch the numbers to understand which services sold best.
* Which aspects of your business felt heavy vs. light and joyful?
* Which actions had the most impact and moved your business forward?
* Where you fell short, what stopped you from making the progress you wanted?
* What did your mistakes and failures teach you?
2. Visualize what you want to do, feel and achieve this year
Open up your mind and imagination to what might be possible for you this year. There are lots of ways to tap into your dreams and desires. For example:
* A guided meditation
* A vision board
* Thinking about a theme or “word of the year”
* Going on a “visualization walk” where you just walk, think and visualize
* How do I want to feel this year?
* What do I feel called to do (even if it feels scary or impossible)?
Then get a little more specific.
* What services/offers do I want to stop, start or continue?
* What are my goals in terms of revenue, profit, and number of clients?
3. Validate your goals, offers, and ideas
Now that you have clarity around your big goals and vision, let’s check if your offers and ideas are aligned with both you and your target market.
You’re more likely to succeed if your goals are aligned with your values, passions, and strengths. You’ll feel more inspired and motivated doing the kind of work you love and are good at. You’ll feel better working in a way that reflects your core values and beliefs.
What about your lifestyle goals? Do your business goals align with them?
And how do you personally define success? It’s so easy to get caught up in the hype of “six figures” and scaling for the sake of it! But what feels right for YOU?
Finally, make sure you get feedback on your business offers and ideas. Do they align with what people want and need? Validate interest through market research surveys, polls, and conversations.
4. Break it down into steps
OK, time to get into the details, break it down and write out what you’ll need to do to make those dreams and goals a reality.
I like to start by looking at the calendar to get a big picture overview, and plan around personal and public holidays. (Here is a Google Doc calendar template for 2022.)
Then I decide on dates and deadlines for key projects and programs, special events and launches. Mark those dates on the calendar!
Next, create a marketing strategy that supports your goals, and a detailed plan for the next 90 days.
* What are the key events and activities?
* What does a typical week look like, in terms of social media posts and content?
* What work needs to be done behind the scenes to support the plan?
Write it all down so it becomes more clear, real, organized, and actionable.
5. Identify the skills and support you need
At this point you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. (Can I actually DO this?)
YES! But remember, no one builds a business alone.
Think about people in your network. Who can help you? Who can you collaborate with? What kind of support and specialists should you invest in?
On a personal level, what specific skills do you need to develop or improve to execute the plan and serve your clients at a higher level?
Spend some time on these 5 steps, and you’ll feel more clear, energized and set up for success in 2022.
By Beth Farris, Business Clarity Mentor