Do the words “business plan” have your eyes glazing over and your fingers flitting across your keyboard to check your status update? You want to build a successful business and live your best, most meaningful life, but get turned off by the challenging bits (like accounting for last year’s profit and measuring numbers to support your personal and professional goals).
What if I told you that you can start working on a business plan today that will keep working as your business grows, and it won’t require days or months of work to complete. Does that sound good to you?
You are going to have to get your hands dirty, but the plan isn’t as complicated (or as frustrating) as you might think.
Put It All on One Page
The One-Page Business Plan yes that’s right, just one page – is a powerful tool that will work wonders. It’s also simple to put into action because it focuses on the most important aspects for your business, and cuts out the rest.
As entrepreneurs, we don’t want to be spending our precious time slaving over a massive document, especially one we don’t identify with, find useful and won’t ever use again. Holding yourself accountable to your goals and objectives is the key to increasing your chances of successfully achieving them.
The One-Page Business Plan (you can download my template via this link), allows you to
- identify your mission
- clearly state your top three to five goals
- identify the objectives/strategies to make those goals a reality
- list out expenses and revenue streams
- know annual profit projections
- highlight future potential revenue streams
- remind yourself why you’re capable of making this a reality
Set SMART Goals
To achieve results from this template, it starts with the first section. You must list goals that will make your mission a soon-to-be reality. Keep in mind that these goals must be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) for this to be a success.
There’s absolutely no use making a long list of grand goals that you’ll never achieve, and that overwhelm you. So keep it simple.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you’ve calculated that to live the lifestyle you want and have a successful business to support you that your main wish is to earn $108,000 a year.
Your goal then might be:
Goal 1: Grow my business by 15% on last year’s results to achieve a monthly revenue of $9,000 per month by October 1, 2015 by prioritizing the three areas that bring in the most revenue.
Then to achieve this target, you’ll need to state one or two objectives that will make the goal attainable.
Objective 1: Spend $200 per month on targeted advertising on Google and Facebook to gain 300 new email leads per month and convert 10% of those leads to my [coaching, event, program, etc.].
Objective 2: Do two podcast interviews a month on [XYZ] shows in my niche that have a listenership of more than 100,000, write two guest posts per month and get one major piece of media each month to drive 200 new leads to my list to convert 10% into paying customers.
Keep it as simple as this! The fewer goals you have the more likely you are to achieve them. When you support each goal with a couple key objectives you can then break down what you need to do into monthly, weekly and finally, daily steps.
Put Your Time Where the Money Is
You probably have a lifestyle idea of how many hours per week you want to be at work. By identifying the products and services that deliver the returns you need to make that a reality, you can clearly focus your productivity on the most lucrative profit streams.
The One-Page Business Plan helps you flesh out your most gainful products or services, and identify what you need to do annually to meet your projected revenue target.
For example, to reach X target, maybe you’ll need to:
- sell $18,000 worth of something (products or services) each quarter
- close two new coaching clients per week at $250 per hourly session
- find one new blog sponsor at $500 per month
Run these numbers on what you need to sell, and what time-sucking low-return products can be cut away. With this quick analysis, you’ll see what you need to do to be successful.
Revisit Your Business Plan Regularly
This is not a tool that you use once and shelve. To get the most out of your plan, revisit it each month, if not each week. And, keep it handy. It’s only one page, so print it off and have it by your laptop, on your wall, as a screensaver, even as a foldable piece of paper in your wallet.
Especially in the early stages of entrepreneurship, you may find you’ve set your goals too low and you need to raise the bar a little. If you don’t review your business plan regularly, you may be missing out on these opportunities. Maybe you’ll even need to stretch or change some goals based on where you are in the plan and what you’ve achieved so far.
This one-page snapshot is a living, breathing document that doesn’t rest.
Put It All Together
There are many ways to forge ahead in your business, but to do this blindly, without a written plan, is a waste of time. You’ll eventually be disappointed, and have spent way too much time working hard without the results you were hoping for.
You need a clear picture to stay true to the mission for your business. The One-Page Business Plan takes it out of your head, puts it squarely in front of your face and keeps you on the right track to achieving your goals.
So this week, put aside an hour or so to complete your business plan and ask yourself this: “Am I on track to achieve my business and lifestyle goals for 2015?”.
If you’re now hearing that voice in your head saying “I don’t have the time, this sounds like a great idea, I’ll look at it next week”, and the classic excuse, “I’ve just got to get everything else sorted first”, grab a pen and paper now and write. Just start.
Instead of spending the next half an hour back-pedaling your way out of getting real, you could already have the outline of your business plan in front of you.