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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Business Planning

What's on the iPod: Steady, As She Goes by The Raconteurs

Done. One project down, two to go. The big one is finished, the next smaller big one (how's that for adjective overload?) is this morning's job, and the two smaller ones will come this afternoon. I doubt I'll finish the bigger of the projects, but I'll start it. That's the goal.

Kimberly Ben over at Avid Writer has a great post up reminding us it's time to revisit that business plan for 2013. I like that Kim has a plan that she revises often. She's already ten steps ahead of many of us in that regard.

Hers is a relatively simple one. I like that. The more complicated the plan, the less likely we are to actually use it (let alone look at it). Kim touches on a few of the things in her plan, like goals and tracking her progress against those goals. I like her approach -- it works for me, too.

What goes into a usable business plan? Here's what I include in mine:

Goals. Kim said it and I agree -- business goals are definitely part of the plan. It's where I start. How much do you want to make annually? With whom do you want to work? How do you want your business to grow?

Targets. Once I figure my annual goal, I make a monthly earnings target. You can do it any way you like -- weekly, daily, hourly, whatever. For me, it's just easier to see it monthly (and not forget to look at it). Now I know how much I need to make each month to reach the larger goal.

Clients. This one is more loosely planned for me. I have current clients with whom I will always work. Still, it's usually a good idea to build into your plan a mixture of clients you'd like to target. Magazines, corporates, authors, etc. It's up to you. I suggest you plan for at least three steady clients so that if one drops out of your orbit, you're not scrambling to make up a large chunk of your income (and they do drop out -- often without warning).

Expansion plans. I've been mulling over a potential direction for my business. That needs a little more planning only because I'm a stickler for deadlines and content quality, so I'd have to be content that my expanded business can handle the work at the same level of quality the clients require. The business plan is a great place to try the idea on. It forces you to think on it from all angles.

New markets. This could go under the clients category, but it really does deserve more than just a passing glance. Are you working in health care, for example, and think you'd like to transition some of that experience over into nursing/medical/pharmaceutical fields? Or are you writing for style publications and see the wide-open possibilities in the retail association field? Doodle it out on paper. How do you plan to get there?

Marketing. You knew this was coming, right? Business plans go nowhere without marketing. Who, how often, how you'll track it, what methods you'll use to get in touch - put it all on paper or formalize it by creating your own tracking spreadsheet. Then build marketing into your day. Fifteen minutes a day is a good start, for it gets you in the habit. If you've been doing this a while, fifteen minutes is all you need to get a solid query out to an editor.

What goes in your business plan?

4 comments:

Cathy Miller said...

Mine has ~

- Targets for Income, Expenses, Marketing, and Learning.
- It establishes monthly and quarterly targets that I maintain throughout the year and adjust as needed

Devon Ellington said...

This kind of goes with expansion -- but what areas interest me, and what new stretches I want to try.

I don't want to keep doing the same thing over and over. I want to do new things.

ChuckB said...

Good stuff

Lori said...

Love the expense targets, Cathy. Very sensible!

Same here, Devon. If I'm doing the same thing constantly, I'm going to bore quickly.

Thanks, Chuck. :)

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