If your first taste of a business plan was someone asking you to fill out a book full of information, then I totally understand why you hate planning for your business. Although I never had a bank ask me to do this horrendous job, it was part of a program I enrolled in about entrepreneurship eons ago. I trudged on and filled it out but like most business owners, I never once looked at it again and it had very little to do with the reality of my everyday life in the said business.
Now, I teach other small business owners how to get more clients through figuring out their marketing. Do I think people need a plan to succeed? Absolutely! Do I think it needs to be a book filled with useless information? No way.
So my creative blond head came up with something fun.
This all started when I learned from a sales consultant client that people actually learned better when they saw pictures versus data like numbers or words. He talked about his success in teaching a group of Caribbean time share sales reps how to present their offer by drawing pictures instead of their existing presentation. Amazingly, their close rate doubled!
I then started thinking about how I could use pictures to do planning that’s effective and efficient and fun.
After all, the goal of planning is simply to tell you what to do by when to get to your goals.
So here’s how the Picture Planning works:
- First, you figure out what you want at the end of the year: is that double the number of clients or double your income or a new office space or 10 more staff? Whatever it is, you put this down onto paper in pictures and with specific numbers. Remember, the universe needs you to be specific.
- Use 1 Picture Plan per goal.
- Then you figure out who your ideal target client is. If you are unsure about who that is, get some help to figure it out because it’s the most critical part of growing your business. Put a pictorial representation of this person. Notice I said one person since I firmly believe that you should be focused on and be speaking to one specific profile of a person as your ideal and NOT multiple targets. For example, my ideal client is a 6 figure consultant whose business has stopped growing and who wants to change her marketing to grow faster.
- Pick 3 or 4 places where you’ll be intercepting your ideal target client. For me, these are Networking, Public Speaking, Trade Shows and Online Marketing
- Take your previous year’s agenda and look back at the dates of the big events that you attended where your ideal target was at. Simply write in those events and dates into your new plan. If you weren’t at any events or did not do any marketing activities to intercept them, speak to your target clients to figure out where they’re hanging out and plan to add these events to your Plan. This is only the beginning of your Plan as you’ll be filling in more events throughout the year when new opportunities become available. At least you’ll know when the key events will be taking place and planning for them in advance.
- If your target is to get something other than new clients, then add what activity you think you need to do to (as a picture) to the Plan. See my second slide as an example. See where I’ve placed activities to source and interview a new staff that I’m planning to get and the test events she’ll be filling for me. Included in my Picture Plan is when she’ll be selling my self study take home program.
Voila, it’s that simple.
Hope you have a fun time planning your year and it seems more pleasure than work to finally put some thought into what you’ll have to do to get your business to the next level in the coming year!