Step by Step: How to Write This Year’s Business Plan
Create Your 2018 Small Business Plan
2017 was a PRETTY phenomenal year for Uncork Your Dork…and MOST of that was due to an amazing year of plans and STICKING to them. Whether it was goal setting, project planning or daily to-do lists…EVERY morning, I knew what my mission in business was.
SO…instead of popping into your inbox today with one of a hundred “Happy New Years!!!” messages (BTW…HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!!), I wanted to kick start your 2018 with some seriously actionable advice. I want you to wake up tomorrow, just like I will be, and know WHERE you need to start your day.
So…let’s get started, shall we? (You’ll need to bust out your calendar!! I recommend using Google Calendar or a paper calendar to plan everything out…).
Step 1: Break it into chunks.
Like most pre-plans in business, you’ll start by creating a broad view of your year…and funneling your way down into smaller/more manageable chunks. The easiest method I’ve found is to break a business year up into quarters. (Thank you Washington State quarterly taxes. Head/desk.)
Each quarter will be broken up into three months.
Jan - March
April - June
July - Sept.
Oct. - Dec.
Starting with quarter one, you’ll want to make sure you have EVERY important date logged. Are there any dates you’ll be offering sales? Any launches you ALREADY know are happening? (It’s ok if a launch spans two quarters…we’ll go into that in a bit!). The dates your taxes (and other big biz dates) are due. Etc.
Step 2: Set projects.
Next on your epic 2018 year master plan for world domination? Your projects!! For each quarter, I recommend you have TWO projects in the work at all time.
First, let me clarify. In business, there are two kinds of projects. The live event and the personal project. As you are growing your audience, the live event will be your key to the wider world. These “projects” bring in consistent TRAFFIC.The live event will be a project like:
launching a summit
speaking at summits
launching a podcast
a joint webinar
joint product launches
These events will connect you with the audience of other blogger’s in your industry. FYI…these will take a HUGE amount of planning on your end, BUT, they are super important for keeping you in front of new audiences!!
The personal project is a more “behind the scenes” project. For example:
writing an ebook
create a primary course
designing a membership site
These projects are something with a “publish” date, but something that will bring in consistent FINANCES. I recommend having two of these in the works during all four production phases, simply because each will move your forward and keep you excited about your work throughout the year.
The key to each of these is to remember that THEY GO TOGETHER. Any traffic you work towards building with the live events…is traffic that should be interested in your personal project.
As I stated earlier, it’s perfectly OK if these projects overlap in quarters! The quarters simply help you see everything in chunks instead of a broad “forest for the trees” picture. As we dive deeper into this planning funnel, sprints and daily tasks will be more prominent in your execution plan.
Step 3: Set goals.
This is, personally, one of my favorite planning tasks!!! In this tutorial, you’ll be focusing on two primary analytics (there are way more in analytics in business…but we are keeping it simple!).
After you’ve determined your yearly projects, you’ll want to set your goals for that project. For both traffic and finances, you’ll want to create a simple goal as well as a stretch goal. Todd Herman, in his 90 Day Year program, describes a “good, better, best” method. He recommends creating a perfectly doable goal, a slightly more difficult goal, and finally…a goal that will, most likely, not be reached. (Your goals should be as detailed and final as possible! Include dates and statistics when you can!)
For example, if my live project is “launch a summit” …my goals may look something like:
Project: Launch a Summit
Good Goal - By the time the summit launches on May 6th, I’ll have 800 sign ups and $1,500 in summit sales.
Better Goal - By the time the summit launches on May 6th, I’ll have 1,200 sign ups and $2,000 in summit sales.
Best Goal - By the time the summit launches on May 6th, I’ll have 2,000 sign ups and $5,000 in summit sales.
I would create similar styles goals for every project (both live and personal) that I have planned for 2018.
Note on “Best Goals” - These should feel like climbing Mount Fuji. If this goal doesn’t feel a little impossible…you aren’t setting it right. In general, of your “best goals”, you’ll probably every only succeed in accomplishing 5-10% of them!! They are something to strive for…and something to celebrate when you accomplish!
Note on Todd Herman’s 90 Day Year Program - I joined Todd’s program at the end of 2017 and it was a COMPLETE game changer. Although his systems are simple and almost like “duh” moments…he combines an astoundingly strong execution plan with YOUR business to create a powerhouse plan of action. This email has a few of those “execution steps” outlined (in combination with my own methods), but I REALLY recommend signing up to be notified of when his program opens up again in 2018!!
Step 4: Design your sprints.
Alright…so you have your 3-month “quarters” laid out…NOW it’s time to break those down even farther into 2-week sprints. These two weeks chunks will include a single “focus” or goal. Using the project example above, my first two-week sprint my look something like “Design an easy to use back-end website for the summit speakers.” From there, most (not all) of what I add to my daily calendar will involve adding the action steps of this “focus” for 14 days.
We will cover the daily list in Step 7!!
Step 5: Create daily themes.
These last three steps are MUCH easier, as we move through the funnel. Although Step 5 isn’t necessary, it’s definitely recommended!! Creating daily themes (or batching) is something I’ve been doing for YEARS…and it’s easily one of the quickest ways to get organized with the “maintenance” side of your biz. Creating a daily theme is as simple as looking at the various “pillars” of function inside of your business, and dedicating certain days of the week to them.
For example, my daily themes look like:
Monday - Outreach for opportunities
Tuesday - Membership Growth and Marketing
Wednesday - Product Creation
Thursday - Media Creation (Vids, Emails and Blog)
Friday - Finances
Saturday - Touch Base with Team
Sunday - Rest / Reflection / Plan Week
Yours might look VERY different! If you don’t have a membership, perhaps you might have a day dedicated to “writing the book” or “course creation”. In addition, I want to mention that your WHOLE day doesn’t (and shouldn’t) be dedicated to these themes! You’ve probably got a LOT more moving parts than just 6-7 days of categories. Besides, who the HELL wants to focus an entire day on Finances!!!???
BUT, these themed days are when tasks RELATED to these categories should be scheduled. For example, if you have a meeting with an accountant, schedule that for Friday. If you know you need to touch base with a few Podcasters to schedule interviews…schedule that task for Monday. This method REALLY helps to organize and spread out your business to-do list.
I recommend scheduling out your daily themes through your first 2 week sprint…testing them out to see if they work! The great thing about this batch method of scheduling is that you can move adjust your way of organizing throughout the year.
Step 6: Create a daily routine.
Routine, [FIRST NAME GOES HERE], is natures way of keep us sane. Human beings LOOOOOOVE routine! Whether it’s a morning routine, writing routine, dinner routine, flipping the light switches on and off 50 times routine…routines help us to feel in control and comfortable with an unpredictable outcome.
If I walk out my door and have THE most unproductive day known to man…my morning routine ensures that I will AT LEAST have exercised, showered, dressed myself and brushed my teeth. Predictability in an unpredictable environment.
My morning routine ACTUALLY looks like this:
7am: Wake Up
7:15am: Take the dogs out
7:30am: Feed the dogs
7:45am: Get ready for the gym.
8am: Hit the gym.
9:15am: Get ready for the day.
10am: Watch Cartoons (most important part of my day).
11am: Emails/ Start work routine.
From there, I start my work routine, which involves checking and responding to emails…tackling my pre-written to-do list, and closing out the end of the day at 5pm by organizing my next day’s task list.
I recommend ONLY scheduling in 2-3 tasks from your to-do list everyday…and I HIGHLY recommend doing this at the end of the previous day.
So let’s dive into your daily to-do list!!
Step 7: Create a daily to-do list
This is another method I’ve been using since high school (and telling you guys about for the last three years). I recommend picking up a small pocket notebook to keep a handwritten list of your business to-do’s when you can. The REASON I recommend hand writing your to-do list, is because writing something down long hand is a GREAT way to help you focus and figure out what needs to be done tomorrow…or even what’s been on your to-do list for a little too long.
The key to this working, is to re-write and expand (when necessary) on your to-do list at the end of every single work day. Date the top of the next clean page…and move anything not accomplished over!
You’ll use this list to fill in your week’s daily themes and more. Keeping this running list ensures you NEVER wake up with a loss of what you need to be doing.
And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is how I’ve planned out my profitability and productivity in 2018. Once you get everything all set up and planned out…your only agenda tasks will take around 10 minutes of planning out your next day, assessing your productivity for the day you’ve just finished, and updating your to-do list.
I hope you’re ready to dive into 2018 with all of your amazing business ideas and enthusiasm!! From the bottom of my lil’ dorky heart…I can’t WAIT to see how you all change your corner of the world!!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR AND SEE YOU IN 2018!!!!!!
What’s new in the membership:
Whoosh 2017 Replay: How to Create a Mastercourse for Consistent Evergreen Sign Ups! - This was one of the most popular trainings during the 2017 Whoosh Workshop…and it’s now available for you inside of the membership!! If you’re looking to increase your sign ups with something a little more helpful than a PDF checklist…this training will do it for you! In this 45 minute training, I walk you through planning, recording and marketing your new FREE course to the masses!
Create Custom Sidebars for Blog Posts and Pages - Your blog could be SOOOOO much more effective for sign ups and sales than it currently is! I bet you a million your sidebar is cluttered with wasted information like “popular blog posts”, “buy this now”, “about me”, and more. Sure…these are great for certain pages and posts…but not ALL pages and posts! In this training, I’ll show you how to create CUSTOM sidebars for individual categories, tags and posts themselves! Instead of your downloads blending in with your miles of blog text, you can easily create a custom sidebar with your unique sign up right on the side!
The 4 Planners and Organizational Methods I Use On the Biz Daily - Want to dive even farther into organizing your small business? In this training, I walk you through the three different planners I use to keep my days organized (including Google Calendar, my to-do list pocket book, and a written planner!).