The challenge with most business planning methods is that they don’t seem to take much of you into account. Plan for Super Success! (whatever that means); Turbo Charge your Business for the New Year and so on… What about what you want? And perhaps that is what you want, but it always helps to be asked.
As a part of our very popular Focus and Flourish workshops, one of the core things we get our guests to focus on, is what success looks like to them. It’s all very well wafting around concepts of success, but success is a very personal thing, and the sooner you define a tangible (and ideally, realistic) goal, the better. Based on the feedback I’ve had about this workshop, I thought it might be very timely to share the key concepts with you so that you can use it in your own planning. So here goes:
What does success look like to you?
What’s important to you about next year? How does your business fit in with your values. Why are you running your business and how does that fit in with your life? How will you know whether next year has been a rip-roaring success?
Start with your brand
Take a stock check on your business brand. What do you want to be known for? Where is your niche in the market? What makes you different from everyone else? What do your profitable clients value about what you do? What core message do you want to communicate next year?
Brainstorm the things you could do to market your business
Don’t hold back – think of at least 30 activities that you might do to market your business. However crazy they sound, get creative. You don’t need to do them all! But you do need to open your mind. At the last workshop we had suggestions ranging from walking along the A303 with a sandwich board (not advised…) to roundabout sponsorship (again, rarely advised) to creating welcome packs for your clients. Create as large a list as possible of potential marketing activities.
Shortlist based on personal values, your budget and your brand
You can’t do everything, but you should have around 10-15 core marketing activities that you do on a monthly basis as well as more specific activities for focused seasonal campaigns. When you’re thinking about what to do, remember that every business needs to spend some money on marketing, you can’t build a business on thin air alone, but planning where to spend your budget to get maximum return on investment (ROI) is crucial. What people often overlook is tying their marketing activity back to their personal values and their brand: essential for ROI and consistency.
Make a plan: And stick to it!
Obvious but true. Too many of us hurtle from one month to the next, only implementing marketing activity as a panicked response to a quiet month. Plan a consistent level of marketing plus seasonal campaigns to drive your business forward for 2012.
I hope that gives you a bit of inspiration and a template for moving forwards. We do still have a couple of places left on January’s Focus and Flourish workshop, so do join us if you can, it promises to be an incredibly inspiring day. Full details on our website.