• Lynn Swords

Plans Schmanz: Three things about planning and the recipe for maturity



This post is approximately a 4-5 minute time investment.


2016 was supposed to be the year for me to dream big. So I did.

Since I like to take care of people, I began to envision a little company that would take care of businesses with an extreme emphasis on personal service. I thought it would be amazing to be able to work with clients and help them create company or product names and taglines through a "mini-crowdsourcing" experience especially designed for those who want a variety of name ideas, but who don't want to have to sort through 1000's of them to find the right one. We could provide professional graphic design services for logos and a web designer could create responsive websites and provide SEO and e-commerce services. Our writing team could create customized content like web copy, blog posts and white papers to help the business implement their content marketing plan. It could be a one-stop-shop for start-ups and small businesses! Ta-dah!

As it all started to come together, of course I did the responsible thing next.

I diligently sat down and created a detailed business plan.

Not.

I had to confess that to you first, since this post is supposed to be about planning. It's not that I didn't plan. I love to plan.*

I love to make long lists, cross things out on the list, and when it gets too messy, carefully rewrite the list and start all over again. Surely I'm not the only one who does this.


Anyone?

I do have apps and electronic lists and things, but for some reason, I always end up going back to pen and paper.

I really did plan, though, just not officially. I brainstormed like crazy until I came up with a name that I LOVED, and lo and behold when I discovered that the domain was available I immediately bought it. That was a huge step for me, and all of a sudden it felt really real. Was I really doing this? Then I started to design my website. For 6 months, I built, read, researched, chatted with the business guy at my local bank, talked with an accountant, read more, built more, recruited some brilliant people and began to realize I needed a plan.


Take a few steps back. A plan.


Sometimes planning something at the very beginning when an idea is just a teeny seed in the ground seems impossible, since really , you don't know exactly what that seed will end up becoming.

What started out as just me doing some writing for a few clients has become a one-stop shop for businesses with a talented team of really cool people.

I don't believe in reinventing the wheel, so just in case you haven't heard of SCORE, well, you have now. SCORE, a nonprofit association that helps entrepreneurs and small business owners, has an excellent business plan template right here. Once you check that out, I recommend you hang out on the SCORE website a bit longer and type "business plan" in the search box. You'll find an incredible amount of valuable resources to take advantage of as you seek to create a business plan.

Meanwhile, here are three things

I've learned so far about planning .


1. Jump in.

If you wait until you have a detailed, organized, signed-sealed-delivered business plan to actually do anything, you may be waiting longer than necessary.

If you are motivated to go ahead and purchase your domain name, do it.

If you're excited about having a prototype of your idea created, do it.

Sometimes the hardest part of doing anything new

is

taking

the first step.

Just because you do something right now doesn't mean you're committed to it for life. You can always go back and change everything if you want to.

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings


2. Look ahead.

Okay, so you jumped in. Good for you.

Now, think about where you want to be in one month. How are you going to get there?

Try writing down 3 action steps. We humans like things in threes for some reason, but if you need more than that, go for it.

Where do you want to be in 6 months? How are you going to get there?What about 2 years from now?

Make a list of practical, actionable steps here. Nothing ethereal allowed.

"I want to learn about content marketing." - No.

"I will take a free course on Udemy called "Content Marketing for B2B Enterprises. " - Yes.

"I want to have 1,000 followers on Twitter." - No.

"I will discover through research the top 5 hashtags most relevant to my target audience, and I will use those hashtags in my daily posts."

- Yes.


3. Edit, Rinse, Repeat.

Now, as time goes on, your understanding of everything you're doing will grow.

As your understanding grows, you'll more than likely realize that what you thought you knew, you don't actually know at all.

The more you learn, the more you'll realize how much more you have to learn.

Don't be discouraged. This is actually good.

Realizing how much there is to learn about anything you're doing, mixed with humility,

is a recipe for maturity.

What you'll find yourself doing is changing some of the things you did in step 1. This is good.

All good writers must learn to edit themselves ruthlessly. This is also true of anyone who is in the process of creating something bigger than themselves.

As you learn, your understanding will evolve, and your ideas and plans behind that big dream will also evolve. And so, being the mature and humble business owner that you are, you will take a few steps back and edit your plans.

Some things that you thought were true - it will turn out that they aren't actually true at all. You will edit many of your action steps from step 2 as well.

You will learn about new tools (MAQTOOB can help you out with that tremendously) that will simplify the process of getting where you want to go.

Your action steps will change, and your plan will change. Your goals will change. Probably the first thing you wrote down about where you want to be in 6 months will totally change.

This is good.

You are doing great. Good job. I'm proud of you.

Did that feel kinda good to read that just now? Be honest. If that was the most encouragement you’ve received in a month, though, you may need support.Soon we'll have a chat about how important it is for business owners to have a support system.

Perseverance pays off, by the way.

Many of you are only reading this post in hopes that you would find out the status of our 24-year-old dryer. My apologies in case the suspense has been agonizing for you. We ended up ordering another part from

eBay for a whopping $25, and actually received the part this time. Thanks to the refreshing simplicity of our old-school dryer, we were able to replace the part and it is now drying all of our laundry again. No more crunchy air-dried towels for us, thank you. Check this post and this post if you have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about.

*(Free advice alert: *Expect - and plan for - the unexpected. Many times we learn the most from the unexpected and unplanned. Highlight to tweet or share @inkandkey

What advice would you give to an entrepreneur about planning? A lot of eager readers are anxiously awaiting your response below.

#planning #startups #goals #humility

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