There’s a common misconception that a Business Plan has to be a gigantic document filled with all sorts of details.
We wrote a few in our early business days, but you know what we did with them? Nothing. Absolutely Nothing.
These days we have a much simpler, far more useful process …
SUMMARY VERSION – In short, all you have to do is (see full details below):
1. Answer these 4 questions:
- Where are we now? This is where you reflect on last year.
- Where do we want to be? This is where you create a future vision.
- How will we get there? This is where you make a plan to achieve your future vision.
- How will we know when we get there? This is where you commit to measurable goals.
2. Break down the goals under question 3 into 4x 90 day plans.
And there’s your year planned out! (Get your templates here).
FULL VERSION – For those of you who love the full details …
Step 1: Go and get 4 pieces of blank paper, a pen, a cuppa/glass of wine
Step 2: Answer the following 4 questions, braindump style – download your template here.
WHERE ARE WE NOW? This is where you reflect on last year.
- What’s currently running smoothly in your business? What changes would you like to see?
- What do your customers love about your business/products/services? What changes/improvements would they like to see?
- Which products/services are delivering the most revenue?
- How do your financials look? Where are the gaps?
- How is your marketing going? (reach, engagement & conversion rates)
- How would you like to develop professionally? personally?
- What was the ROI (return on investment) of any events or campaigns you ran in the last year?
WHERE DO WE WANT TO BE? This is where you create a future vision.
- How do you want your business to run?
- What do you want customers to say about your business/products/services? What do you want their experience to be? (from first point of contact to the day-to-day experience?)
- What do you want your potential customers first impression to be?
- How do you want your operations to run?
- What are your financial goals for this year?
- What do you want to achieve with your marketing?
- What do you want the ROI on your events/campaigns to be?
- What skills would you like to have?
- What does work-life balance look like to you?
HOW WILL WE GET THERE? This is where make a plan to achieve your future vision.
- What do you need to change in your business?
- How can you fill the gaps between what customers are currently saying and what you want them to say?
- As above for potential cusotmers’ first impressions?
- What do you need to do to achieve your operations goals?
- How many additional customers do you need (in each part of your business) to achieve your financial and capacity goals? Where are the gaps?
- What else can you do to achieve your financial goals?
- How can you change your marketing to achieve your reach, engagement and conversion goals?
- What courses can you do? Who can mentor you? What can you learn from members/friends/colleagues?
- What steps can you take to achieve your work-life balance goals?
- For all of the above, add timeframes for when you want to achieve them
HOW WILL WE KNOW WHEN WE GET THERE? This is where you commit to measurable goals.
- By [insert timeframe], we will have achieved: [insert checklist of tasks to do in your business]
- By [insert timeframe], our customers will say: [insert what you want them to say]
- By [insert timeframe], our potential customers first impression will be: [insert what you want it to be]
- By [insert timeframe], our operations will be: [insert operational goals]
- By [insert timeframe], we will have [insert #] new customers/products/services
- By [insert timeframe], we will retain [insert #] existing customers
- By [insert timeframe], we will make [insert $] in 2022 (or by week/month)
- By [insert timeframe], we will achieve [insert reach, engagement & conversion goals] for our marketing activities
- By [insert timeframe], I will be competent in [insert skills]
- By [insert timeframe], I will do [insert work-life balance activities] every day/week/month
Step 3: Break down the goals under question 3 into 4x 90 day plans – download your template & example here.
Step 4: Get an accountability partner if you really want to achieve your goals. It can be anyone – a colleague, a business friend, a coworker. You just need to set a regular accountability catch up. At the very least, add a reminder to your diary once a quarter to check in with how you’re tracking.