Measure The Distance of Great Planning and Strategies
If your business success is a result of great planning and strategies, you’re on the right path. But other small-business owners may be struggling to find their way. Are you one of them?
Let’s consider these starter questions:
✓ Does your current plan help you envision where you’re going?
✓ How long do you think it will take to get there?
✓ How do you plan to get there? And
✓ Are your business’ Vision and Mission Statements clear – to guide/support your plan?
And if you don’t have any kind of plan in place, this will help…
What Do I Know?
Maybe you’re wondering…what does a copywriter know about strategic planning anyway?
I appreciate your question.
I worked in an administrative capacity for nearly 30 years before turning to copywriting as a new career choice. And during the course of those 30 years working for public, private and non-profit organizations, I did a lot of writing and saw a vast number of strategic plans.
Today, as a copywriter, not only do I write for clients, I use my professional writing skills to produce information products in the form of how-to guides, info-graphics and other material – covering topics like direct mail, copywriting tips, and of course strategic planning – so business owners (like you) can empower your results. And when I find information I believe is useful to small business owners, I’ll create something robust so you can benefit from the content.
WHAT IS A STRATEGIC PLAN
For this article, I’m filling in some gaps about the importance of great planning and strategies, and how they act more like your GPS business results.
Contrary to belief, strategic planning is not only for big corporations. In fact it’s every bit as essential for small business owners and solo entrepreneurs (and consultants), to help you stay on top of your progress and results.
In a larger organization, the strategic planning exercise would be a company-wide activity (i.e. a review and analysis), and lead from the top down. For small-business or solo entrepreneurs, it’s just you, and your small team (if it applies). The activity focuses around setting realistic (tangible) goals for one-, three-, or perhaps five-years out, and creating the detailed plan around those goals, for how you propose to achieve those them through the (daily, weekly, monthly, and annual) activities and projects you carry out.
On the surface, your strategy helps you nail down what your company is – where it fits into the world of business – and what it’s purpose is. It defines what you do (i.e. what products or services you offer), and why you do it. In fact, that’s how your Vision and Mission Statements come into the picture. These two pieces help guide your purpose and activities so you follow your intended map, to reach those stated goals.
STOP CHASING SQUIRRELS
Because here’s the deal with small-business owners or solo entrepreneurs: We anticipate every day to be magical –– bringing expectations of new opportunities, and possibilities for business growth.
Perhaps one way to approach your day is to think about whether or not the activity you’re going to carry out is going to contribute to making you money in the end, or if it fits into the grander scheme of things. In other words… it’s not a good use of your time and energy to chase squirrels willy-nilly, or work without a concrete plan to help reach your long-term goals.
I’m proof that flying by the seat of your pants doesn’t work. I did that for a few years, and the result are not pretty.
And in the process, I managed to accumulate some serious debt, because with no real direction I was all over the place in my business. Subscribing to this thing. Buying that program. Wasting time following this and that professional…It was a huge drain on my resources and confidence. The thought of giving up on my business was serious for some time.
And had I created my strategic planning guide (shameless plug) a few years earlier, had planning and strategies in place, and gone through the exercise sooner, I’d be much further ahead, and would have built a significant steady revenue stream to show for my struggles.
Don’t suffer like I did…There is a simple and obvious solution: Carry out great planning and strategies for yourself.
I know. Strategic Planning is not sexy. But you know what is sexy? A well-managed business, where you know where you fit in; and you understand how your everyday actions and activities impact on your overall success. The icing on the cake is celebrating success, and important milestone achievements along the way because your definitive plan lead you there. Now That’s Sexy!
YOUR GPS TO SUCCESS
If the importance is still not clear…
Consider your Strategic Plan like your GPS to success and longevity. And think about your business’ journey toward success like a trip. We can liken it to your business destination (i.e. ultimate achievement) as being that final address you punch into your GPS.
There. Now that you’ve undertaken a Strategic Planning exercise, your entire journey is mapped out in front of you.
✓ You have an estimate of how long it will take to get there;
✓ What path you’re going to follow; and
✓ Where your next turn is, as you make your way through your journey.
Your mission is clear. Heck, you can even see updates as to how much longer until you reach your next milestone (i.e. turn-off); and sometimes, warnings may appear to point out possible detours, (i.e. when revisions are recommended) to your route.
And with great planning and strategies in place, you can determine when to start, which path you’ll take, and even what kind of tracking mechanisms to have in place to make it to your final destination (i.e. achievement) on time, and with great fanfare!
ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNERS ARE KEY
Here’s one more aspect to this which is important. As small-business owners or solo entrepreneurs, we usually don’t have a boss coming to us asking, “Is that done yet”? Or, “Is that a good use of your time”? In essence, no one is breathing down our necks making sure we’re doing what we say we’re going to do.
And while having an accountability partner is not a part to the exercise per se, having a partner is an important component of your overall business success and plays a vital role in better strategic planning.
Because connecting with another business owner who you like and trust; whose opinion and ideas you hold in high regard; and who is not your direct competitor, is a most valuable asset. Working together to bounce ideas off of each other, and checking in from time to time about project progress, milestone achievements, challenges and more, helps keep you moving forward through your planned activities.
In the end, a strategic planning exercise is a multi-task exercise, involving all the players in your business (if you have staff). It’s well worth the effort – and results. Ultimately, putting great planning and strategies in place helps you accomplish your small-business goals in the time frame you set out for yourself. So if you’re all about achieving greater results, this is the plan for you.
And don’t wait! Be sure to create your strategy now – for a better head start on 2018.
If you find value in this article, I speak to it in much more detail in this mini-guide. Check out the details for, “Your Strategy to Succeed – The What, The Why, The How Of Strategic Planning”, and see if it makes sense for you to undertake your own exercise.
If you have questions or comments about this article or about planning and strateges for your small- or solo entrepreneur business, be sure to share them below. Thank you for your interest. I appreciate your time.