Do you need a business plan?

What's the best way to plan activities in your business?

For too long, we've been told that we NEED to have a business plan. And I agree. But the problem with every business plan template on the internet is that you probably don't have the answers to every question that plan will bring up for you, because businesses aren't generic, your business is unique, and if you don't have a track record yet in business, answering high detail questions about your business just isn't going to help you understand whether your business will work.

I'm a big believer in quarterly goal setting.

Traditional business leads us to believe we should go through an annual planning and budgeting cycle but as small businesses, we can be much more agile. That helps us respond to opportunities and take actions that larger, slower paced businesses simply can't take.

So what does this process look like?

I believe there are three steps you should follow each quarter.

1. Start with your personal goals

What do you want to achieve in your personal life? It might be about money, it might be about flexibility or a particular life style. Consider what it will look like when you've achieved that goal in life.

2. Understand the gap

Compare that future position to where you are right now in life. What's the gap? And what's the next step you need to take to achieve that goal? It might take longer than three months to achieve, but where could you be in three months time to know you're on the right course?

3. Translate into business goals

Knowing what you want to achieve in the next three months in your personal life, what does your goal need to be in business for the next three months? If your goal is about earning more money, what does the business need to be earning in three months to allow you to achieve that personal goal? If the goals about flexibility, where does the business need to be in three months time for that to be possible?

4. Action plan

Goals are great, but nothing happens without action. The final step is to translate your business goals into actions. Which actions can you take over the next three months to achieve your goals? You will likely have a lot of ideas, but which three to five of those ideas are the priority actions for you to take? Make a list and schedule time in your diary to make them happen.

This week on my YouTube channel, I discussed this process for goal setting, you can watch the full video here.

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