So you have your idea or you already have a business. What now? You need a strategy. A strategy is really creating your road map, plan, and budget to get to your destination. It is your foundation.
Step 1: Why are you in business?
What problem are you solving? Where do you want to be in 5 years? What are your aspirations? This is your “big why”. This is what will keep you motivated to do the things you don’t really want to do. It will help you push beyond your perceived limitations.
Step 2: Who is your target market?
You are not in business to appeal to everyone. If you are trying to appeal to everyone, you are chasing too many bunnies and you won’t catch any. You need to define your target market.
There are three targets:
1) The one who will pay you
2) The one who influences the one who will pay you
3) A supporter
You are going to start with a focus on the one who will pay you. Figure out who this person is. Create an avatar of this person which includes:
1) demographics: age, gender, income, education level, family status, language(s)
2) psychographics: values, attitudes, preferences, lifestyle
3) geographics: where do they live?
4) behaviours: hobbies, cell phone use, shopping habits, what they do on weekends, favourite restaurants, publications read, websites visited, motivations…
Draw a picture of what this person looks like. Give him or her a name. All your marketing will be addressed to this person.
Step 3: What are your financial goals?
You want to make a profit. How much? I mean, after you cover your fixed and variable expenses (office space, car expense, payroll, marketing, product costs, taxes, etc.), how much do you want to make?
Step 4: How much do you want to work? What is your capacity?
Tim Ferris has a 4-hour work week. What do you want? I wanted flexibility to be available for my children and chose to work between 9am – 3pm, plus one evening a week. While that has changed over time, the core idea of having flexibility is still there.
Step 5: Create your SMART Goals
Goal setting is important. You take your big goal, whatever it is, and break it down into SMART goals:
You want to break your goals down info manageable chunks.
Step 6: Create a plan
Define the actions required to achieve each of your SMART goals, including the timelines and any resources (money, people, equipment…) needed.
Step 7: Implement the plan
That means you need to start doing the work or have someone else do the work. Create the marketing plan and get the marketing materials out there. Hire a copywriter if you aren’t very good at copywriting. Have an intake system for new clients. Service your clients. The stuff.
Step 8: Monitor for success along the way
I recommend checking where you are daily, if achieving your goals is important to you. Weekly is good, too. Most importantly, acknowledge when you have had success. Create a celebration ritual. Build in rewards. And if you are finding success isn’t coming as quickly as you planned, revisit where things are and are not working and make adjustments.
(PS: I don’t really think Tim Ferris worked only 4 hours a week. I think he had to work pretty darn hard to get things set up so that he had a great deal of time freedom. But now he can enjoy the time freedom and maybe only works 4 hours a week.)