If you’re frustrated with your business, I feel your pain. I’ve been there. As fulfilling as it is to be paid for what you love to do, there is often deep frustration. There are many reasons we struggle as entrepreneurs.
Research tells us the #1 reason businesses fail is a lack of planning and focus. So, take the time to adequately plan how you will run your business – and you will dramatically increase your odds of success!
The three little words?
Write. Your. Plan.
I love it when I’m impulsive in my work and it pays off. However, in my world, this is the exception rather than the rule.
I’m not sure why the words “business” + “planning” freak out so many people. Is it the image of a 50 page document gathering dust on a shelf? Because that is so NOT what I’m talking about. I’m talking about getting crystal clear on where you want to go, and how you want to get there.
It isn’t hard – and many of the business owners I work with know they have to do this – yet I get a lot of rolling eyes when I bring it up.
Now, I love to plan. Really, it lights me up! Creating strategies to move businesses forward – bring it ON! Every business is different – and I love the challenge of helping my clients discover how to create and implement a successful plan that fits their unique vision and personality. What lights THEM up is seeing how putting time and energy into planning turns their business around.
If you are struggling in business, create a plan for success. If you already have a plan and you are still struggling? It’s time to revise the plan.
Don’t try to knock it out in a day or two. That isn’t the way it works. Instead, start at the beginning and (re)visit the basics. Spend some precious time reflecting on:
Your VISION: What you want to accomplish over the next year or two. Why is this important to you? Describe where you want to be in 5 years. How do you want your business to evolve?
Your TARGET: Who needs what you have? More importantly – why do they need it? What pain are they experiencing?
Your PRODUCT/SERVICE: How does your product or service solve the problem? How do you do it differently from the competition?
Discovering meaningful answers to these seemingly simple questions is critical. To get to the heart of why people should spend their hard-earned money with you instead of someone else, you have to go deep. You have to really understand these three things: what motivates you, how to connect with your customers, and how you can solve their problems.
Once you have this foundation, you can begin creating the financial, marketing and sales components of your plan. THIS is where I see things fall apart for many entrepreneurs. They don’t have a plan in place to drive their business forward. They don’t know HOW to leap out of the starting gate and create a vibrant, thriving business that will sustain them emotionally and financially.
To have a legit business – and not just a hobby – you must have a plan.
Your plan will describe:
- Exactly what niche your product or service is filling and how to position it as an authentic solution.
- How to find and engage your best customers
- What to charge for your products and services so you can grow your business.
- How many leads you need and how to convert qualified leads into a paying customers.
- What systems you need to put in place so your business doesn’t overwhelm your life.
Until you have a plan to accomplish these things – it is nearly impossible to create a profitable business that you love. You can create a business without a plan, but chances are it is stressful, overwhelming, and sucking you dry emotionally and financially.
There is plenty of information on the internet on growing a business; the challenge is recognizing the right strategy for YOU, staying focused on your goals, and following through with the most effective action to conserve your finances, and your time and energy.
This is why you need a plan.
When you take the time to Write. Your. Plan., you have a tremendous advantage – a sounding board to help you make the best decisions for YOU. A compass to keep you focused on your path. A strategy to reach your end game. You get the picture.
Your plan will always be a work in progress. If you don’t have one yet, start by identifying your Vision, Target, and Products and Services. Write them down. Make them real. When you are solid on these, slowly add in the other pieces. Don’t stop until you have finished. It might take months to flesh out your plan. That’s fine! The return on your investment is huge! And the risk of not creating a plan? Failing in business. Please, don’t let that happen. The world needs you. We need your gifts and talents.
So, create your plan. Use a napkin if you like (!) just write it down. It doesn’t count if it only exists in your mind. Sorry. To be real, and to be effective, a business plan needs to get out of your head and on paper. If you have it on a computer – print it out. Hold it, feel it. Read it. Does your plan make sense? Ask people around you.
Heck, send me your plan and I’ll give you my feedback. Helping others create insightful and innovative strategies to succeed in business is what I love!
Do you have a plan? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments below.