Business plans are so valuable as solopreneurs and serve as one way to support us in staying focused and creating results quickly (rather than trying to do #allthethings and seeing what sticks).
However, planning (and following through with our plans) isn’t always easy…
Personally, there are times when I’ve been really averse to planning in my businesses because it made me feel tied down, or lacking in freedom, and really, wasn’t that why I left my 9-5?
There have also been times where I’ve planned everything out so carefully that I barely had room to breathe.
I now take a much more middle of the road approach to planning in my business. I typically plan 6 months at a time (sometimes 3) while leaving a LOT of flexibility and openness to change/grow. One of the benefits of being a small business is that we have more flexibility, so creating a plan and remaining flexible has been crucial.
Here are 3 steps to making planning more enjoyable AND effective so that we follow through with our intentions:
STEP ONE: Change Your Mindset Around Planning
Usually when mindset blocks come up around planning it’s because we’re worried about losing our freedom. We think things like:
- If I wanted this much structure I could get a 9-5.
- I can’t figure all this out. I barely know what will happen next week.
- I’m not a “business person” so I don’t understand all of this.
- I don’t know how to plan “effectively” so I’d rather not do it.
- I can only work off inspiration and this stifles me.
There is no one right way to do any of this. However, there is a certain mindset you want to cultivate where business planning and strategy become your friend, your companion, your inspiration, etc. NOT your enemy.
Personally, I’ve found that planning and creating structure actually provides me with significantly MORE freedom and room for inspiration because I am grounded, and not running around like a chicken with my head cut off (I know you feel me there!).
The opposite side to this is feeling like you have to be SO rigid, which often comes from a lack of self-trust. We think things like:
- Without a plan I won’t know what to do.
- I can’t trust myself to make the right decisions quickly.
- If I didn’t have a plan I’d let myself sit on the couch all day.
- I am not creative so I don’t need to leave room for inspiration.
What’s the story you’ve been carrying around about planning in your business that you need to re-write? What’s your current mindset around planning in your business?
STEP TWO: Focus On Intentions, Not Goals
One of the most transformational YET strategic ways I’ve found to make planning fun (yet leave room for the universe to bring us even more than we asked for) is to start with the end game in mind, and set intentions RATHER than arbitrary goals to get you there!
Meaning, let’s start with what you want to start living into NOW to get the results you ultimately want! I see intentions as being about the PRESENT and goals being about the FUTURE. And while it’s good to know what we want, the only way to get there is to start being present for what we want NOW.
So what do you want your business to look like 6 months from now? What do you see yourself creating? What kind of day do you see yourself living? And how can you start intentionally showing up for that NOW?
Let’s use the example of wanting to grow my list and community over the next 6 months!
The traditional goal setting would look like: “Grow my list to XXX” and set an arbitrary number you want to hit and feel pressure until you hit it.
Intention setting would look like: “Show up daily, nurture my community, and give new people the opportunity to connect with me” where you would start living into that each DAY and not putting pressure on yourself to hit a random number.
Not only will this likely grow your list even more, but you’ll have more fun and feel more successful along the way!
**I want to add a caveat that there ARE times where assigning concrete numbers make sense to hit certain income goals, but I am NOT a fan of random numbers just for the sake of them!**
STEP THREE: Work Backwards
Once you set your 6 month intentions, it’s time to start working backward from them!
- If you have an intention of 10K months so you can leave your job, how many clients does that mean per month? What is your intention to get there? Perhaps daily income generating activities that feel exciting?
- If you have an intention of a full practice and a waiting list how many clients is that? Do you want to bring them all on at once or gradually? What is your intention to get there? Perhaps daily relationship building that lights you up?
- If you want to have a podcast launched in the next 6 months when would you have to have it prepared by? How long would you want to market it before you launched? What is your intention to get there? Perhaps weekly dedicated hours to honing your skills and connecting with potential guests?
- If you want to write a book (*holds up mirror to self*) you have to actually WRITE. So what’s the intention there? How can you set the intention to show up daily and actually WRITE instead of feeling unnecessary pressure from a goal you’re not living into NOW?
The bottom line is this… all of our desires can happen IF we’re willing to work backward, create intentions, and put in the work of achieving them. However, if I just keep saying “I want to finish my book” and never make an intention to show up and write DAILY… in 6 months I can expect that it won’t be done!
The other side of this is recognizing when you have to scale back on your goals because of other priorities…
For example, say I decide I want to make 100K per month. That would mean I would need to create new products, take on 10+ clients EACH MONTH (and keep that load while working with them for 6 mo.), set intentions to do 10+ sales activities per day, etc. I know that I can’t (and don’t WANT) to keep up with that workload over the next 6 months and I know that I want my business to get to that number with strategic evolution not burnout!
So… when you’re claiming your desires and setting your intentions, work back from them to make sure the effort required is in alignment with the life you want to live, time you want to dedicate, etc.
Now I’d love to hear from you! What do you see happening in your business in 6 months?! When you work backward from your desires…what are some of the top intentions you need to live into daily/weekly to get there? Share in the comments below!
Want help with your business planning? Download my FREE Business Plan Template below!
This resource is part of the A Lit Up Partnership process, but I’ve made it available to my entire community inside The Lit Up & Loaded Entrepreneur! You’ll find it in the Files section of the group (no opt-in required!).