Writing a business plan doesn’t have to be difficult. Sometimes, simple is better. Here’s a simple 7-step formula you can use to write a business plan fast!
Did you take some time this past week to think about your resolutions for 2008? (I bet you have!)
Resolutions create energy and promise. However, if we just have a list of goals and “things” we would like to accomplish with no “action plan”, those under- achieved resolutions can end up making us downright depressed!
This year, are you willing to try something different when setting your business goals for 2008? You can create what I call Your Simple Business Plan by following through the 7 easy steps I will outline for you.
Your Simple Business Plan will include just 4 goals that you want to achieve in your business within the next year. 4 goals may not seem like a lot, but, believe me; it’s probably more than enough with everything else you have going on in your life! (Your Simple Business Plan is a 1-year plan that is actually part of a much larger strategic plan you have for your business.)
Oh, one more thought, resolutions aren’t only about your business and career; I’m sure you’ll be thinking about goals for your personal life, as well. Before you develop Your Simple Business Plan, take a few minutes to think about how well your overall life is balanced, and set personal goals, as well as business goals.
Following are the 7 steps you can take to measure your life balance, and create Your Simple Business Plan:
1. Measure Your Life Balance
Before you develop a vision for your business over the next year, consider this:
Your business should support and help you achieve your life vision, and goals. If you set only business- related goals, you decrease your odds of having a well-balanced, happy life, and achieving those business goals!
Before you move on to Step 2, I first encourage you to measure your life balance. The life areas to measure are your; financial situation and career; social and cultural situations; spirituality and ethics; family and home; mental and educational levels; and physical well-being and health.
Use The Wheel of Life to measure your degree of satisfaction in the different areas of your life. On a scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 is low and 10 is high), ask yourself how satisfied you are with the different life areas on the wheel. You may find some other goals you want to work on besides your business goals, to help you create the life vision you desire.
You see, this is why having 4 business goals is more than enough to work on achieving, because it’s not ALL you are going to do in 2008 to have a happy, well- balanced life!
2. Create Your 1-Year Business Vision.
Great job completing The Wheel of Life! You’re now ready to create your 1-Year Business Vision.
One of my favorite exercises is creating an exciting and vivid vision of what I want my business to look like over the next year. Let your imagination run wild and type away, making sure you record EVERY thought, dream, and direction you want your business to take. Dare yourself to dream and “think big”.
3. Review Last Year’s Business Goals.
Before establishing your 2008 goals, review your 2007 business goals. Did you achieve what you set out to do? If so, congratulations! If not, are those goals still relevant? Acknowledge the progress you’ve made, but, don’t lament over the goals you didn’t reach. Move forward with your new or revised goals for the future.
4. Choose a Theme.
Usually from the 1-year vision exercise, a theme (or themes) will emerge about what seems right to focus on over the next year. It may be relationship building, product development, or implementing a new marketing plan to grow your business.
Choose a theme (or themes) that you will focus your goals on achieving. (Choose no more than two themes!)
5. Choose 4 Goals to Focus on Within Your Theme (s).
Choose one goal that follows the overarching theme (s) to work on each quarter. For example, if your theme is ‘increase market awareness’, your first quarter goal may be to ‘add 25 new business referral contacts to your business referral list’. Your second quarter goal may be to ‘publish 12 articles online’ or do a Podcast. Develop additional goals for quarters three and four.
6. Break Down each Quarterly Goal into Monthly, Weekly, and Daily Tasks
Now that you know what you want to focus on each quarter, figure out what you need to do each month, week, and day of that quarter to reach your goal. This is your action plan!
A good idea is to treat each goal as a project. Make a list of all the tasks you must accomplish to reach your goal. Buy a notebook with inside pockets or a clear front cover. Put your task list inside the front cover pocket. Keep all your working papers, articles, and resources you need to accomplish your goal in this ONE notebook. As you complete tasks, check them off your list so you can see and gauge your progress.
WARNING: Most people skip this step after they develop their goals. If you break your elephant goal into baby steps, I can guarantee reaching your goals will be easier!
7. Get support
Buddy up with a colleague or hire a coach to keep you on track and moving forward. Check in at least once a week with each other to ensure forward progress, and celebrate your victories!
If you follow the 7 steps, I have outlined for you, by this time next year, you will be astounded, and elated at the goals you’ve accomplished with Your Simple Business Plan!
Copyright 2007 Bonita L. Richter and Profit Strategies.
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