For the month of August, we have focused on developing your business. I believe that you, as an entrepreneur, have amazing ideas that will make a huge impact in the world. Thinking about your visions and plans gets me excited! I hope it gets you excited too.
We talked about creating a vision statement, the method for excellent delegation, how successful entrepreneurs became successful, and more. I hope this month has refreshed your business idea and given you some serious encouragement to keep moving forward.
Now, as we transition to a new month with new content, I want to leave you with the key to your business success. Planning, whether it be in your personal life or your business, is the key ingredient for your growth and the excellence of your business. I’m not talking about sitting down to plan out your week, although that is important. I am also not talking about planning out a product launch or a social media schedule, although you should be thinking about those aspects of your business.
I’m talking about creating a long-term business plan that will fuel your passion and give you a reason to wake up and go to the office each day. This is basic stuff, but it is some of the most important basic stuff! In order to run a thriving, make-a-difference-in-the-world business, you must have a completed business plan that you can share with your family, employees, and customers. Let’s create one together right now.
The Four Steps to Develop a Long-Term Business Plan
Step 1: Name your goal.
The first step is to decide your final goal. This is your long-term vision; this is what makes it easy to get out of bed and go into work. This goal is your final destination. When you reach this place, you’ll know that your time and energy has been worth it.
Maybe your goal is to allow your spouse to quit his or her day job and be a stay-at-home parent. Or maybe you long to be able to give away 80% of your income. Your goal could be to hire a certain number of employees or to generate a community of a certain number of people.
All in all, it doesn’t matter what your goal is, but it does matter that you speak your desired outcome out loud. Don’t be afraid of big goals and dreams! Spend time right now dreaming about your business and the vision you see for the future. What is one scary dream that you can name and work towards? Write it down.
Step 2: Label the steps you will need to take.
Now that you’ve allowed yourself to dream big and set a goal for your business, it’s time to consider the steps you will need to take to make your dream a reality. It sounds simple. It may even sound discouraging. You mean I’m just supposed to write down my goal and then label the steps I’ll take to get there, you might say. YES. Sometimes the simplest formulas open doors for the biggest opportunities.
The trick is to get detailed. I’m not talking about writing down five little steps. I’m talking about thinking through the smallest details. If your goal is to sell 100,000 books, then you will need to write X-amount of words each day. You’ll need an editor and an agent. You’ll need a platform and a social media presence. You may need a launch team. Chances are that you’ll need someone to create some graphics for advertisement. And you’ll need to promote your book at live events and conferences. This is just the beginning!
Do you see how detailed this process can be? This will take some time, and that is a great thing. Don’t rush this part of the process. Really give yourself time to label all of the steps you will need to take to make your long-term business plan a reality.
Step 3: Do a personal inventory.
A personal inventory is evaluating where you stand right now. It helps to determine if you’re truly ready for the business changes and opportunities that are about to come your way. Are you ready to take the steps mentioned above? For example, if your goal is to sell 100,000 books like we mentioned above, then you need to write a certain amount of words each day in order to have a book to sell. But if you’re not a gifted writer – or if you have trouble typing – you will need to take a class or hire some help.
What is the most important part of a personal inventory? Being honest with yourself. You know if you are gifted in a certain area or have a specific skill. You know about your limitations and your shortcomings. Don’t lie to yourself! That will only cause frustration as you and your business grow.
I’ve created a free handout that will help you complete a personal inventory. Sign up at the end of this post to grab it. Then, print it off, grab a cup of coffee, and take some time to work through it. This is powerful stuff!
Step 4: Own your journey.
Here is the most crucial step: it’s time to own your journey. If you’ve taken the time to set a big goal, think through the detailed steps to make it a reality, and analyzed your own abilities and shortcomings, you are ready to own the journey and make it happen. There comes a time when the planning needs to end and the doing needs to begin. If you’ve walked through the steps above and landed here, at step four, then you’re ready for the doing.
Take responsibility for your success. Don’t allow time to pass without revisiting your goal. Continually inventory yourself. Whatever you do, don’t give up. I believe that you will do amazing things as an entrepreneur!
This is not intended to be a read-it-and-forget-it type of post. This is intended to be life-changing. If you work through the above mentioned steps seriously, you will see growth. So, what long-term business plan are you going to make today? It is the long-term planning that gives us true success!