The One Thing Your Business Plan Must Have
In a word: clarity.
Whether you're a new or veteran business owner, businesses of every type, including coaches, need a business plan. To achieve success in anything, you need to be clear about some basic things before commitment and focus can come into play. Developing your business plan will help tremendously with gaining that clarity.
As we get ready to dive in, apologies to all those 50 page, 12-step business plans out there. This isn't one of them. Let's keep it simple and get it done so you can smash it in your business in 2021.
Clarity In Your Personal Why
Why are you in business in the first place? Don’t skip this step, even if you’ve been in business for a while. Review your underlying motivation and keep it handy – you’ll need to remember it for the tough days, the boring days, the days when you ask yourself why in the world you ever wanted to start your own business in the first place. You know what I’m talking about.
Put “I want to help people” aside for a moment (waaay too vague, anyway). In this step, you’re looking at what your business will do for you. Remember, it's a business plan.
List all the things your business will ultimately give you. Certainly, include personal satisfaction or living out your life’s purpose, but go to more tangible and measurable goals like achieve financial freedom, take your dream vacation, have more money to donate to your favorite cause, be free to travel and live where you want, have more time to spend with your loved ones, etc. And, of course, be very specific and clear with exactly what each of these things will look like.
Clarity in Your Business Goals
Decide what goals you want to achieve in your business this year, in 5 years, in 10 years. Those numbers aren’t magic; you can do a 2 year goal if that makes it easier. The point is to know your ultimate goals and work backwards from there, much like you would with time blocking.
How much money do you want to make in 2021? In 5, 10, 15 years? Do you want to sell multiple products, have multiple locations or multiple online courses, do 1-on1 or group coaching? What parts of your business will you outsource? How much time off do you want? What are your boundaries between personal and business - you already know these can be pretty sketchy, especially in the early years.
Clarity in Your Ideal Client
I mean be crystal clear about who needs your service or product, why they need it, and how your product or service will make their lives better. Also, consider who you love working with.
And unless you’re selling special size shoes, you don’t know need to know them down to their shoe size. But you do need to know what sets you apart from hundreds of others doing what you’re doing. (Hint: for service providers most of it is not just the results they’ll get from working with you, but you – your unique take on the problem and the solution.)
Whether you offer a product or service, in-person or online, find your niche within that field. Clarity about your Ideal Client, which may have changed over time (like discovering who is NOT your ideal client, thank you very much), will help you be clear in your marketing strategy. You can’t help people if they don’t know you exist, so do them a favor and let them know – clearly.
Clarity in Your Overall Plan
One way to think of a business plan is to picture it as a mountain. Your mission statement (you do have one, right?) is at the base of the mountain, and your Big Dream is at the top. Everything in between is the path in your plan to get there.
What products or services do you want to create? What about a down sell? How can you implement some passive income or affiliate income into your business? What networking groups would it make sense for you to join? Are there any speaking engagements or online summit opportunities that will expand your reach? Do you have a downloadable lead magnet PDF? Is there a way for you to add value to your product or service? What skill do you need to learn? What’s your overall marketing plan?
Clarity in Your Action Steps
This is where your planning steps are broken down into smaller, actionable steps. Instead of just saying “I want to write a book,” break down the process into smaller, actionable, do-able steps you can track. How much time can you dedicate each day to writing, and when is the best time of day for you? Would it be helpful to join a writer’s group where you’ll be accountable to each other and get constructive criticism?
Do you want to self-publish, or find a publisher? You’ll need to hire an editor and someone to design the cover. Will you do your own copywriting and web page design or hire it out? How often will you post, and where? And more, but these are all actionable steps that can be planned, listed out, and checked off your to-do list once completed.
Whatever you do, don’t feel overwhelmed! There’s no reason to. You don’t need to plan 5 years worth of action steps at one time. Start at the end and work backwards, breaking it down to one year, then each month, every week, each day. As I mentioned earlier, this is a lot like time blocking. It makes even the biggest tasks manageable.
Having clarity makes it easy to focus, so that your action steps become an exciting pathway to your Big Dream.
Clarity About Yourself
Your head and your heart can be filled with all kinds of knowledge and wonderful passions but if you don’t believe in yourself, you’ll never get where you want to go. If you’re not full convinced of your own unique genius yet, it’s okay to hold onto someone else’s belief in you for now.
Soon enough, you’ll begin to see yourself - and your talent - as others see you and your success will multiply. Good luck!
Questions? Thoughts? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org