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Signs of Confusion Are Less Likely With a Plan

Summer officially ended on September 22nd. The 4th quarter of the year starts today.

My sleeping schedule transitions about now. I wake up later and I go to bed earlier. It takes a couple of weeks to adjust but then I’m back to my regular sleeping schedule.

I know these things about my personal life, but I started thinking, do I know these things about my business? What is it’s schedule? Is it a conscious, although organic, go with the flow schedule or more hope this works thing oooh squirrel, wait no, uhmm what was I doing again “schedule”?

SignsOfConfusion1

Looking at it, there is way more hope and far too much squirrel than I’d like.

So I’m starting the new venture off differently.

These were the questions that first occurred to me.

Do I know what I’m writing about or even promoting next month? It’s a new thing, so uhm no I have no real clue.

When will I write the post, shoot the video, create the report or start the marketing for it? Next week? Heck tomorrow? Or a few days before it’s go time? Well if I don’t know what I’m writing, why does the medium matter?

What topics will I cover? Where will I promote? Who am I trying to reach? Do I need to do keyword research now or is this market research?

What about after I’ve done the work, when will I examine the results to know what worked, what didn’t and what makes business sense to continue doing? Oh, wait so that means testing and tweaking. Do I know how to do that? Is that important?

And bam. Too many questions, creating new questions and more squirrels. Procrastination sets in. Enthusiasm starts to fade.

Those may be answers I need eventually, but they are not answers I need right now.

I’m trying to create a working schedule, when I don’t even have a plan to create a schedule from.

Well to be fair, I have a smidgen of a plan in my head. Is that enough?

Nope. What I need is a plan on paper, in writing, something to refer back to when I get distracted …

….

….

….

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Squirrel.

Aka BSNO (Bright Shiny New Object).

Argh. All this became really clear after I completed the Curation challenge in August and was looking at my stats.

It also became really clear once I looked back at my “quarterly” goals and analyzed the actions I took to reach those goals.

They were all over the place, not exactly supportive of each other and my results were lacking.

While I can’t go back and get the time I’ve already used, I can start now with a better plan in writing.

Create the schedule. Work the schedule. Track the results. Test, tweak and grow the business.

Of Course I did a Google Search for Business Plans and Marketing Plans.

Then tried to simplify what I found.

I determined that a Business Plan

  1. lays out what the business provides to generate revenue,
  2. estimates how much it costs to provide it,
  3. estimates the cost for building and maintaining the structure to provide it – which can include your hosting, autoresponder, merchant accounts, backups services, computer(s), people (employees, independent contractors, your salary).

Seriously, typing that I’m already groaning and scrunching up my face.

And that’s simplified from what I found online.

I determined that a Marketing Plan

  1. figures out who wants what I provide.
  2. guestimates how I make the people who want what I provide aware that I provide it.

If I start with WHO, then those people can tell me the what. If I start with WHAT, then I’m casting around trying to find the who.

Well that helped but I still got stuck asking myself which one is the best one to start with?

Clearly the plan still wasn’t simple enough.

Can I simplify it even more? Am I more likely to follow through and refer back to an extremely simple plan?

StreetMap1

That’s when I stumbled onto Laura C. George.

I already realized I didn’t need formal projections of things and synopsis of the projections and synopsis of the synopses.

Yet I do need a roadmap, so I know where I’m going, instead of going around in circles.

While the plan Laura talks about is geared towards artists, I was able to adapt it quickly for the IM market and for those who balk at even the simplified traditional business plan.

  1. What does it look like? What is my vision about what I want or think I want the business to look like?
    What do I do? How many hours do I do it?  No worries. There is no “stuck” with this vision. It can and will change as more results show up.
  2. Who’s gonna like, want and need access to what I do? This may or may not be who ends up liking it or wanting it. That’s okay. Of course my first answer was everyone needs this but that’s not being serious. All I need to do is write down what I know about who I think wants and needs this. It will change and grow just like my vision.
  3. Who’s going to pay me? In the internet marketing world, we can get paid multiple ways:

a. If you make your own products or sell services, people pay you individually.

b. If you’re an affiliate the product or service owner pays you.

c. If you do advertising and sponsorship, companies and businesses pay you.

d. It’s likely that you’ll use more than one of the ways, along with some that aren’t listed here.

4.  Where do I find the people I identified in points 2 & 3? Which do serve them directly or indirectly? What do they need and how do I build a relationship with the people I serve?

But what about the what-ifs?

Will you always get it right? Nope.

Will you always get a result? Absolutely.

Now that’s a business plan I can complete with just a bit of hard thinking and application of imagination.

Here’s (most of) the simple business plan for FoodSCRIPTion.

1. FoodSCRIPtion provides an introduction to healthy eating newbies who don’t know or who have forgotten about the benefits of eating real, whole foods.

It provides encouragement and creation of a Self Care Response Planning Initiative Toolkit (still working on that acronym) to address stress/binge eating, tight budgets, and eating styles that help manage and maybe? heal chronic disease.

I share conversations with nutritionists, dietitians, doctors, advocates, and those who are using real, whole foods to maintain their health, harmony, healing.

[Redacted] Hey, I can’t spill all the beans before I boil them. 🙂

2. Who needs or wants it?

Individuals who aren’t finding the relief they desire through pharmaceuticals alone and those who are ready to address their eating habits and food choices.

3. Deciding who’s going to pay you?

Practicitioners, coaches etc who have affiliate programs.

Individuals who attend [Redacted]

4. Take it to the people.

This time I’m getting some serious help with this phase.

Kelly McCausey’s October 2014 Stretch Yourself Challenge starts today and I’ve joined. It’s all about figuring out what you want your market to know about you and what you’d like them to do after they know it.

Oh yeah, isn’t that just the perfect tie-in to this planning series?

It’s not too late for you to join the Stretch Yourself Challenge too.

If you aren’t ready for that, get the 4 steps in this super simple but no simpler than it needs to be business plan completed.

Okay I’ve got challenge work to do.

Minna “challenge focused” Bryant

4 Responses to Signs of Confusion Are Less Likely With a Plan

  1. Hi Minna!

    I am so happy I found this post today. It represents what the majority on online marketers are experiencing. We know that we want to provide a service and we know that we want to get paid. It’s the in between part that gets us twindling our thumbs and heading off to Facebook instead of getting clear on our business.

    I like your simplified business plan – might have to take notes on that 😉

    I wish you good luck with FoodScription – maybe you could run a competition for ideas for SCRIPT? That could be fun.

    Also good luck with Kelly’s course. I would really love to hear how it goes.

  2. Thanks Victoria. Yes, all those in-between parts are where and when we’re prone to BSNO (Bright Shiny New Object). Or that could just be me. 😉

    Take what you need from that simplified plan. I’ll definitely be posting about the Stretch Yourself Challenge.

  3. Thanks for the shoutout! I love the way you adapted the principles of a super-simple business plan to your industry. That looks very on-point!

  4. Laura,

    Thank you for dropping by. I’d been stuck on planning for a couple weeks. Your post helped definitely dislodged the backup.