Over the last four months, did you actually attempt to write your business plan? If so, CONGRATULATIONS.
What did you discover?
How much did you NOT know about your own practice or business?
Until I did what I preached, I carried around ideas in my head for my business that seemed feasible and even easy. That all changed when I wrote my business plan!
I became aware of gaping holes in my numbers and projections, as well as poorly-conceived strategies that needed a great deal of tightening up. It was both humbling and exhilarating. For the first time, I felt like I had a real grown-up business, instead of a hobby or game that was keeping me occupied. I wish I’d known about this when I was in practice!
I was thrilled last week when a client consulted the business plan we’d worked on together. She recognized she needed to make some course adjustments, as she had lost focus, so we spent time planning next steps. Her business plan was doing just what it was intended to do!
Let’s quickly review what I’ve been trying to help you create over the last four months:
A One Page Business Plan simplifies and clarifies an otherwise complex thought process by helping you focus on the “must-do’s”. It spells out the logic of your next actions.
How familiar is this scenario? You sit down at your desk at the start of “working-on-the-business” time you’ve set aside on your calendar, and you don’t have a clue what to do next. Your mind is a blank. So you answer emails, surf the web, make a few calls – and then get mad with yourself for not being productive.
Well, your business plan will spell out your next steps. It is your road map, or GPS navigator!
Starting at the bottom of the plan with your Action Plans by quarter, you can break the bigger action plans into the small and even minute detailed steps that need to be completed to keep your business moving forward.
For example, I’m giving a course on marketing (every business’s bane!) in the first quarter of this year. My Action Plans section includes “Roll out 4-week Marketing Teleseminar by March 2008”.
Some of the much smaller steps I need to complete are:
1. Write course content, including free “sample” teleclass in February (busy doing that now)
2. Write course sales letter
3. Figure out price
4. Create handbook
5. Set up web page and shopping cart
6. Arrange class recording, etc.
So any spare time I have between coaching clients, and on my business development day (usually Fridays), I know exactly how I will spend my time!
At the very start of 2008, you get to choose — what kind of a professional or business year do you want to have?
Will 2008 happen by accident or default, or will it be intentional, steered by the steady hand of a well-thought-out disciplined but flexible Business Plan?
Let’s forget about New Year’s resolutions and goals for our businesses or practices. Instead, let’s go for a Plan!