If you’re like most creative business owners, you’ve been too busy getting the work done to be worrying about planning for next year. Creative minds thrive on improvising their way to success. If you made it through 2017 without a plan, consider one for 2018?
Most successful creatives eventually learn that it’s the structure and routine of a plan that allows you to be truly successful.
Take the weekly groceries, for example. Whenever I drop into the store to pick up a couple of things, I end up spending $60 on things I definitely didn’t need.
However, when I plan the meal and make a list, I spend less money and use everything I bought.
It’s never too late to start planning. You might even enjoy coming up with new processes or strategies to try, new product ideas to test out, or new ways to get clients.
The hardest part is getting started, right?
One of my favorite lessons from ‘The E-Myth Revisited’, by Michael Gerber, was that planning is the difference between working in your business and working ON your business.
One of them is going to lead to 70 hour weeks and a permanent migraine from the stress. The other leads to greater freedom and more money. Which would you choose?
Planning simply means looking forward a year (or two) and trying to assess where your market is headed, decide where you would like to go, and whether you have the right resources in place.
Planning is your big creative ‘what if’, that helps you figure out what you’re going to be doing the rest of the year. It’s your blueprint for creating a successful and stable business over the next year or more. When you break down your goals into daily tasks, processes or routines, your plan is your ‘how’. But a great plan is so much more than that too.
A great plan is your shining light at the end of the tunnel. It’s your reason to keep plugging at something when all seems lost. When you wake up in the morning and ask yourself what could possibly be the need to go to that meeting at 8:45…your plan will be there to remind you of the ‘why’.
‘Hows’ are very easy to come by, but ‘whys’ are much harder to find. Once you have your ‘why’ though, suddenly every decision you made has been made for you. When you have to decide whether to take on a project, or tricky client, or any decision at all, just think back to those yearly goals, your ‘why’ and ask, “Will this help me reach that goal?” You’ll soon know what to do if it doesn’t. How to say NO to a client.
Your Why should be beyond making money. For example, my Why is to build community and inspire creative entrepreneurship.
Once you decide to start the process, it can be surprisingly fun. It’s a time to do two things you rarely do as a business owner. To really let yourself imagine or dig deeper into your vision for what you really want the business to be. The second, and this is the art and the challenge for most people is to figure out how much of that vision you can realistically expect to achieve and by when.
One of the most useful aspects of a great planning session is that it’s often the first time a creative entrepreneur sits down and actually looks at all the aspects of their business as a whole.
So, great planning starts with a good understanding of your current state of your business.
This process is mostly creative.
It can definitely be tricky to stay grounded in the day-to-day of your business and simultaneously critique and envision a better future, but a plan doesn’t have to be set in stone. The more often you come back to reassess your plan, tweak it slightly, change this aspect, reassess this area, the better you’ll become at it.
And if you’re really stuck, you can always book a call with me 🙂