Have you ever created a business plan? Did you just roll your eyes or cringe a little inside when you read the words: ‘business plan’? Well, you are no different than me. I used to hate making a business plan. I got all hung up on it being this formal document that you share with your bank and I wasn’t going for a loan or trying to get investors so I don’t need one… Does that sound familiar? Let’s talk about how you can easily get your ducks in a row.
Let’s get over the belief that it has to be this long, formal document. I prefer them to be more than a few notes jotted on the back of a napkin. A standard, letter-sized page is a nice size for your plan. (Tip: I print mine and slide it into a frame I picked up at IKEA and keep mine by my computer screen so that I see it every day.)
If it can be as short as a page, what really goes into it?
- Your WHAT: Products and Services
- Your WHO: Target Market
- Your HOW: Marketing Plan, Sales Plan
- Your METRICS: This is your financial plan, with a sales forecast, profit & loss statement, cash flow, balance sheet, human resources plan
Knowing your WHY is another story for another day.
But a financial plan is yucky. I hate numbers. Is that what you are thinking?
It isn’t that bad. If you are a solopreneur, figure out how much money you would like to make this year or whatever timeline is relevant for you. Note that above, I said that many of my clients wrote 100- and 120-day plans. Short-term plans are a great way to flex the planning muscle.
Here is a simplified way to getting to the numbers that ties into your sales and marketing plan:
Let’s say you desire to make $5000 in revenue next month.
- How many clients do you have? For example: 18
- What is each client worth to you, on average? $250
- What is your average revenue, then? 18 X $250 = $4,500
- How much more do you need to make? $5,000 – $4,500 = $500
- How many more clients do you need to make $500? $500/$250 = 2
How do you get clients? Let’s say for every 5 people you talk to, 1 becomes a client. That means you need to talk to at least 10 people.
How many people do you need to contact to have a sales conversation? Maybe 50 or 100? You know what the right number is for you. If you have to get in front of 50 to 100 people, then when and where are you going to do that? Do you have regular networking meetings that you attend? Do you have a list of people you can call? What about speaking engagements or advertising? Write it down and do it.
That is a quick and dirty version of a business plan. Try it. It will make a difference. (Want more details and a bigger plan, I have room for you!)
Also remember that if it isn’t written down, it doesn’t happen. Write it down.
Lastly, I gave an example of a $5K month. It could have just as easily been a $10K month. But that brings up what visions and beliefs you hold in your mind. Small thoughts and limited beliefs will only deliver small results. So why not dream big?