A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

There’s something about creating a plan that makes people cringe. We might be brilliant at coming up with ideas or seeing what we want to do with our life, but when it comes to creating the roadmap for how to get there . . . well, let’s just say that’s where so many of us stall and waste valuable time with our business.

It’s only natural to have some resistance to creating a plan.

Sitting down to create a short or long term business plan isn’t nearly as fun as the creative process. At the same time, it might be one of the most important steps you take in growing your business. Creating a plan can solidify our vision and help us stay on track with where we want to go. It’s easy to get distracted by things that seem cool or even helpful, but if they’re not part of our long-term vision, we might be doing damage to our brand and message.

One of the main reasons most people have trouble writing out a plan is that the minute we sit down to do it, nagging self-doubts tend to creep in. As my client, Kathleen recently shared, creating a plan can be tough because she’ll hear that familiar voice that says it’s too hard or that what she’s got isn’t as good as what other people have to share. Other clients have said they get frozen because their old friend “I don’t know how” paralyzes their ability to move forward.

The key is to push through your doubts and put the steps on paper.

Even though you hate it, setting time aside every thirteen weeks to write out, check-in and revamp your plan can be helpful to keep you going. It actually can help keep those doubting voices in your head at bay and help you feel empowered and inspired. It also allows you to identify those places where you might need help so that I don’t know doesn’t become a permanent obstacle to your success.

So, how do you go about writing a plan? Here are some of my helpful tips to get you started:

Break It Down Into 13 Weeks.

Plain and simple? 13 weeks is manageable. Most people dread the business plan because they think they have to make a plan that takes them through the end of the year. And while I think it’s good to have goals for where you want to be by the end of the year, it makes sense to break it down into 13 week and maybe 6 month plans. Especially if you are starting out, you can see maybe where you were off or what areas you might need to tweak in order to meet your goals.

Start with A Vision and Specify Your Goals.

Like everything else in life, your plan has to start with your vision and goal. My personal vision is to have a thriving branding and content business that helps my client For the 13-week plan, however, I need to start listing more specific goals that will help me achieve my vision. For example, a goal might be signing up 1000 subscribers to my email list. Or perhaps I want to enlist 10 new clients or even write down some monetary goal. You can have more than one goal for the 13-week plan, but make sure you don’t have so many goals that you get overwhelmed.

Do a double check. When you look over your goal(s) for the 13 weeks, remember to ask yourself if your goal will help you move toward your vision and how? Write this out to make sure your goal is aligned with where you see your business going.

It’s Time to Identify Your Steps.

Now that you know where you’re going and why, it’s time to start outlining the boring (and not so boring) steps that are going to get you there. For each of the goals identified, I want you to identify 3 to 5 steps you need to get to your goal.

What does that look like?

Well, for example, if you are looking to gain 1000 email subscribers in 3 months, the steps you might want to list out could look something like this:

(1)   Post weekly blog on 3 social media sites with content that addresses my ideal client’s top 5 problems.

(2)   Create an opt-in targeted toward my ideal client and invite my friends and others to share on social media. Launch by January 30th.

(3)   Create an ad on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to invite people to receive my opt-in and sign up for my subscriber list.

(4)   Provide a Weekly Tips Video with useful content that shows my lighter side.

(5)   Create a post to ask for new subscribers on Facebook and Instragram once a month for three months.

The key to writing out your steps is to make sure that they are specific and realistic. You’ll also want to check in on your steps weekly to make sure you are hitting your targets.

Make Time for Research, Classes and Content Production.

One of the things most people forget to put into their 13-week plan is the key to continued growth: time to research, take classes and create important content. As an entrepreneur, you’re always so busy doing, you might forget to make time for the things that got you to where you are now. In order to stay on the cutting edge of your industry, it might require you to take more classes or maybe your ideal client is really into podcasts so spending time understanding them would be valuable. You’ll also want to spend the time to create a valuable blog.

Building these components into your 13-week plan is just as important because you always want to be offering your audience valuable material and different ways to connect with you! You’ll want to be especially mindful of this as you plan your daily activities. Taking care of your clients is always a priority, but so is taking care of your business!

Let me help you create your long term business plan!

Share with me your email and I’ll send you my 13-Week Goal Setting Worksheet for Free. You can also click here to sign up for a 30 minute free consultation to talk more about your business needs.

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